Saturday, December 15, 2018

Musical Merry Christmas...

 I finally got off my butt and went to see the annual Charleston Christmas Special.

Why did I wait so long? Duh.

This I believe, is the 23rd annual show.

A terrific 2-hours of just about every holiday season songs and some pretty funny visual gags.

Uh, don't miss the waddle of penguins number!

And the outstanding talent onstage...WOW!

I mean, Broadway productions in New York are fantastic because of the extremely high level of talent.

Let me say, this evening pleased me a lot!

The energy, the staging, the lighting, the 9-piece Special orchestra.

The charming - and witty - co-hosts Brad and Jennifer Moranz have been presenting this program at the Charleston Music Hall for more than 20 years.

Along with other mid-year specials and an array of other professional theatrical productions.

During the intermission, some of the young female dancers wandered through the audience, seeking volunteers to join them onstage for a special holiday musical familiar moment.

The lead singer came out and individually introduced the good-spirited volunteers as they came out with costumes and props and recreated each of the scenes from The "12 Days of Christmas!"

I particularly liked the image of "Four birds a-calling," and the "Goose" to his right who kept a-laying an egg the size of a basketball!

I didn't want to bother the happy, smiling people seated close to me so I held back on taking a lot of photos.

I did find the "snowman chorus line" on the official site and decided to include that in this posting.

It also is a better planned, lighted and posed shot than anything I snapped.

I was seated about halfway back from the stage, just behind the lowered control panel.

It was interesting how many (silent) phone calls came into that booth during the show!

But, not really a distraction from the brightly-lighted colorful stage in front of me.

The lighting guy was to my left in the booth and his effects were terrific.

The show hit religious themes as well as Jolly Old St. Nick.

If Santa was portrayed by Brad Moranz, I give high marks to the amazing "fat suit" he was wearing.

Takes a brave thin man to attempt that!

Later in the show, we saw Brad in short pants and suspenders and the phrase "knobby knees" was mentioned - and displayed.

He and wife Jennifer played young brother and sister, preparing for the festive evening.

A huge rocking chair added to the illusion that they were tiny tots.

They cavorted with Rudolf, the famed red-nose reindeer and an entertaining and impressive Manny Houston, dancing in traditional holiday colorful red (pants) and green (jacket).

I do not want to give away the beautiful ending.

I'll end now with this shot that did a slow fade-to-black at its conclusion.

Brad made sure to introduce all 9 band members who took their turns, coming out front during the performance.

Each solo was well-received and applauded.

The Music Hall was packed on a Thursday night
and the whole audience was invited at the end to come up to the front of the stage to meet the performers and shake their hands.

A nice friendly touch.

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

And, have a very Merry Christmas!

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Friday, December 14, 2018

The roar of greaspaint and the smell of the crowd...

 Got a pleasant surprise this morning from my biggest fan, my older daughter.

She has followed my efforts at being an Extra or Background Actor in tv shows filmed /taped in Charleston and movies down in Savannah.

I had told her about a VERY long day on the set of LIZZIE, a tv movie about the trial of Lizzie Borden.

My role was to portray the Assistant Prosecutor and I thought I might have some pretty good face time.

And, evidently, my thinking was pretty accurate!

Still had no lines - and no name in the credits (I'll have to check on that) - but maybe there would be some good still shots to add to "my reel" to show casting directors.

The two screen photos my daughter Amy attached were indeed good. And, I asked her to snap some more!

We had filmed in Springfield, GA, about 25 miles inland from downtown Savannah.

The director was using the historic Effingham County Courthouse for the trial scenes.

The real trial ran three days (all of ours was shot in one long day) and wardrobe would come in and change our ties to represent a different day.
On the third "day" I asked for a bow tie. What the hell!

I was having fun being picked as an Extra.

Online, I saw a t-shirt designed especially for zany fantasy actors like me.

In LIZZIE I was an assistant DA, in Mr. Mercedes I have played "elderly hospital visitor," "visitor to an old folks home", and, my best look yet in Season 2,  as "patient asleep in a hospital bed."

I nailed that last one and actually DID fall asleep!

Speaking of the production of Mr. Mercedes, written by Stephen King, I was pleased to be picked many times in Seasons 1 and 2.

I was included in the final episodes in both seasons.

We traveled to Manning for the final S2 scene, that required the use of a courthouse and brought in nearly 500 extras!

It was just announced there will be a Season 3 of Mr. Mercedes and it will be filmed here again.

Maybe I will get to reprise my role as the very patient patient copping some ZZZs again?

I showed the photo taken of me bedridden and it caused a flurry of contacts.

Friends asking what was wrong? When had this happened? And, when could I see visitors?

Sorry I had caused some concern with my reposed acting.

Here is the link my daughter Amy sent that got me excited about seeing Lizzie.

Now I look forward to the release of the movie EMPEROR, also filmed in Savannah.

With temps in the mid-nineties, I was 2 days on set, dressed in a 100% wool period outfit playing a Townsman (as opposed to being a plantation-dweller), in a film about the  1859 slave revolt at Harper's Ferry in Virginia.

I feel I might have good face time in that too.

(Click on the links and photos for more detail.)

Thanks for tagging along as I continue my quest to become an "overnight star" matter how many years it might take.

Oh, I did shave the beard (had it for two years) and, no doubt,  it helped me land roles in several periods films.

Most recently, I had trimmed it back for a role as a choir member and restaurant diner in the HBO pilot shot here with John Goodman and Danny McBride.

Right after I shaved, I learned HBO had given a green light to the series that will be called Righteous Gemstones.

Hey, if the beard is needed, it will take 3-4 weeks for it to be camera-ready.'

Shared some fun time on set with Prentiss Findlay, a fellow retired co-worker at The Post and Courier.

As far as I know, he still has his beard.

And, we both like a blue oxford shirt.

The Effingham County Courthouse. I was lighted from outside with really bright lamps so inside,  it was always daytime.

Even long after dark.

Some of that Movie "magic."

By now, you know the next step: Click on the links and photos for more details.

Guess I'll keep going after roles until - as the Old West Hangman often  said - it ceases to be fun.

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Sunday, December 02, 2018

Whew! Hurricane "Season" is oficially over!

 So, today December 1,  marks the end of the 2018 Hurricane Season. Yay!

Had two close calls: "Florence" and "Michael" during a topsy-turvy weather half-a-year as we inched our way through sometimes harsh conditions.

Fires, floods, snow, tropical storms, hurricanes, and other assorted weather rolled across the country in 2018 and the most dangerous storm predicted locally was Florence as it seemed to be headed to blast through the Lowcountry.

Sounded ominous enough that on the internet, there appeared pop-up sites to request shelter as families were told to evacuate and head away from impending danger.

Just as pleas for help were being posted, so were compassionate offers of a place to stay and hunker down until the danger passed.

I felt fairly safe and prepared as I hauled out my 12-year old generator, made sure it cranked up and gathered a supply of gas.

As it turned out, both storms struck just a glancing blow!

That was great news as I have never had to use my generator during a storm or suffer an extended loss of power.

It always starts right up when I test it but fortunately, I never had to try it in the dark, in the rain and with winds buffeting me from every direction!

And a nervous cat upstairs, impatiently waiting for me to get the lights back on.

But, in the spirit of being a nice guy who had a comfortable spare bedroom and bath available, I posted my offer of shelter and awaited responses.

Nothing happened during Florence but I felt I had offered a good deed.

Thanks, Rolling Stones for "Gimme Shelter!"

Now, the storm Michael was never a severe threat and there was less really scary talk as it approached South Carolina.

BUT, to some, even a small danger had to be considered.

I did hear from a young couple who wanted to make a few changes to feel safe.

They were camping - in a tent - somewhere in Mount Pleasant and asked if my offer was still good.

I could not picture a KOA - or any campsite - East of the Cooper but, I asked a few questions, they packed up and headed to my home in Hanahan.

All of my "camping" had been done while I was in the Marines many, many years ago.

Back then, my tent was small, olive drab green camo, and was rolled up in my backpack.

My clothes also were that nice shade of green so we would blend in. and I had been issued a metal canteen and wore a steel helmet.

When my children were small, I tried to recreate the glamor and excitement of sleeping outside, under the stars in my Tallahassee backyard.

 But it didn't turn out to be a happy evening for them or the kittens. The mosquitoes did just fine.

Oh, I almost forgot, I also had enjoyed some "tent time" during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany a few years ago.

Nobody there was wearing olive drab.

The massive "tents" held about 5,000 revelers and another 2,000 serving staff.

And various Oomp-Pah- Pah bands.

Some were even in short pants...wearing suspenders!

And all were drinking large glasses of beer.

But, back to the young Nomadic couple who parked in my backyard and waved a greeting at me when I stepped out on my deck.

I asked about the flowers on the dash and was told the wife liked flowers but, of course,  these were plastic.

Upstairs, as we chatted and got to know each other, I learned they had been camping all around 6 or 7 states for months.

Their next destination after Charleston was a person's backyard down in Beaufort.

Of course, this camping decision depended on where the storm Michael headed.

We settled in, they brought their stuff upstairs and into their room.

I asked if they wished to use my washer and dryer?

They immediately thanked me and started running their clothes through the cycles as our conversations continued.

Married only a few years, the mid-20s couple had decided to see the country before settling down and had no particular place - or state - in mind. They were enjoying the travel but did look forward to a real bed for the evening!

He noticed my guitar and asked if I played. I admitted I HAD taken lessons for 6 months but dropped that after realizing one had to practice more than the one day of the week when the one-hour lesson was scheduled.

He not only tuned my acoustic guitar and played some Bob Dillon and Beatles songs, his wife mentioned she played the sax but they had never played together.

We quickly took care of that!

The storm sorta raged outside as we sat up and talked quite late. I woke the next morning around 10 am (a retired guy's choice!).

But they didn't join me until closer to noon. They REALLY liked having a roomy, comfortable bed for a change. We all were pleased the storm had shifted away and now had rained itself out.

The weather was clearing and they decided not to go back to Mt. Pleasant but to do some sight-seeing and then head on down to Beaufort.

He had done work as a Busker (playing for tips on a street corner) and had some serious skills as a chef.

I watched as he took elements from their small food larder and produced a meal that was outstanding.

I made notes of condiments and other things he used to see if I could add healthy variety to my simple meals, cooking for one.

All in all, it was a pleasant "exchange student" type of experience. I heard tales of being on the road and making lots out of meager supplies.

Before they left, they did go buy a 3-man tent to replace their smaller one.

We promised to stay in touch but I have not heard back from them yet.

I hope their brief stay in South Carolina was uneventful after the Michael storm was handled by seeking shelter

I also hope they take out their instruments (he also plays an electric ukulele) and they jam together!

(Click on the photos and links for more details.)

Thanks for stopping by as I add to my initial one thousand entries on my 12-year old blog. The second thousand is launched and on its way.

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