Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I just walked in the door to my house for the first time in three days, because I spent this weekend camped out at The 5th Avenue Theatre (not literally, thankfully.)

A week ago, when I used a can artificial frost spray of to write "MO & WES ROCK!" on our dressing room window, I wouldn't have imagined it would have beckoned such a down pouring of the real white stuff. In downtown Seattle, we've received a good half foot of snow: enough to watch police cars get stuck in front of the theatre, and to watch cross country skiers glide down Union Street on a Saturday afternoon.

That evening, some of our Brides who live in Bothell and Redmond began what has become a four-night stay at downtown hotels. By Saturday evening, most of our cast, crew, and orchestra were avoiding the icy roads by camping out downtown.

This impromptu slumber party, combined with our stage manager's birthday on Saturday, resulted in one of the most surreal experiences in my recent memory: almost thirty members of company creating a party in the wardrobe department, complete with snacks, an ipod stereo, and a dance floor. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.

Although this weekend has felt like a strange version of theatre camp, we are all ready to get out of downtown and to go back home. This morning, I'm glad to be back at my house, in my bed, with a fresh change of clothes. But this experience has really bonded our company together: sharing the wacky weather and impromptu overnights has helped this experience even more memorable.

-- -M0 Brady (Gideon)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Twins are ALL ABOUT SHOES!

Pontipee twins Daniel and Ephraim (Karl Warden and Kyle Patrick Vaughn) are back for a third installment of their backstage tours! Shot during intermission of a performance, they introduce us to the world of shoes!

Darnell Sue interviews the brothers

Darnell Sue (aka Girl About Town) interviews Luke Longacre, Karl Warden, Wes Hart, Mo Brady and Demian Boergadine. They're part of the great cast of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers now playing at the 5th Avenue Theatre. Find out what they tell Darnell Sue about what goes on behind the scenes now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting in The Groove

Our second week of performances came and went with great energy both on the stage and in the house. The buzz of opening night has died down, but positive reviews keep trickling in (including a certain Seattle Weekly blog post that my family cannot stop talking about.) It feels like we're settling into a place where the excitement of performing this story feels normal.

However, we're already half-way through the run of our show. In total, we have 31 performances (I think), and tonight's show will be number 17. I enjoy longer runs: my second show at The 5th Avenue was a show that toured into elementary schools around Washington and Oregon, and that run lasted four months. With shows at 9:00 AM. In Ashford, WA. If you even know where that is. And I liked it.

So, although we're only two weeks into our run, we're finding our groove. Now that I'm not trying to remember the changes we made during tech, or where my next costume change is, or how I can sneak a drink of water before my next entrance, I have enough energy to do what I love during a long run: explore my character's involvement with other characters onstage.

Now, when a director opens a show, he or she typically "freezes" the staging. Which means, their watchful and discerning eye has created the best show possible with the actors involved in this production. And it's our job as actors to maintain that high quality of work throughout every performance.

But it is also generally understood that the more time an actor spends in scenework with his fellow performers, the more truth he is able to derive from each onstage moment. This is a combination of 1.) feeling comfortable in my character's skin, and 2.) knowing the show enough to be truly present onstage, allow for some new moments to occur between me and my fellow actors.

As I wrote before, Luke Longacre and I used rehearsals and tech to create a lot of specific non-verbal communication through our opening scenes. For example, when I admit to Milly that "I've thought about being with a girl of my own," most of the other brothers laugh at me. But I give him a silent plea that helps motivate his next line, an admission that "we don't know how to talk to girls."

This week, Luke and I have found a few more moments that cement the relationships and motivations of our characters. When we enter the harvest social, we have a whole new section of quiet dialogue about meeting the girls, motivating my attempt to procure a pie in order to meet Alice, my future bride. And in "Where Were You," Luke silently pleads for me to stay and convince Adam not to leave. And I return with a silent shaking of my head as I exit.

All of us Pontipees have found these new moments of motivation. When Karl Warden and I stare each other down before my first solo in "We Got To Make It Through The Winter," it clearly motivates my choreography. And as we enter the harvest social, Wes Hart and I have a thorough discussion about what not to do in front of ladies: no cussin', no fightin', no nudity. (It's funny if you've seen the show...)

These interactions were all created organically, but have quickly become vital to my performance. These moments are (hopefully) so small, that they don't distract from the dialogue, but they do enhance the plot, and our investment in the story we share each night.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Make the most of your snow day by checking out the avalanche on stage in the high-kicking musical comedy, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!

Visit the box office day of show and use the code word: SNOW to receive a special $20 day of show ticket (regular price $76 - $81). Valid today, December 18th at 8pm and Friday December 19th at 8pm.
Box office opens daily at noon. Day of show, in person sales only. Not valid on previously purchased tickets or with any other offer.

Don’t miss the daredevil dancing the Seattle Times calls “exhilarating…vigorous and vivacious!”

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot brothers at Purr!

A few of the hot brothers from the 5th Avenue Theatre's production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers will be at Purr Cocktail Lounge for a meet & greet.

Come and meet a few of them, and enter to win a pair of tickets to see the holiday hit Seven Brides for Seven Brothers!

It's karaoke night at Purr with the hunks!

Purr Cocktail Lounge, Monday, December 15 at 9pm.

Share our Widget!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


People love our show! Which is great, not only because I love the show (and it's nice to have my opinions confirmed). Every day, I talk to people that are pleasantly surprised by the wonder and warmth of our production. And the reviews only confirm this sense of positivity. I apologize if there was a shortage of copies of The Seattle Times this past Monday. Because that was the day our review was published in it, and I swear my father went out and bought every copy in the Puget Sound area.

I thought one of the nicest reviews we've received was from the Tacoma Weekly because of the shout-outs it gave to so many of the brides and brothers:

"Two of the brothers were outstanding dancers, even in this exalted company. Whenever Daniel (Karl Warden) and Benjamin (Luke Longacre) were dancing, you couldn't see anything else on the stage... The characters' personalities came through, even in the group scenes. Outstanding to me were Meaghan Foy as sweet Alice, partnered with Gideon (Mo Brady), the youngest brother; Amanda Paulson as flirty Dorcas; and Brittany Jamieson as shy Ruth."

From the beginning of the rehearsal process, Allison Narver inspired us to make our characters unique personalities. And I think that this review was proof that our work to create a town full of individuals has paid off.

I can only second that review's praise for my brothers and our brides. I love standing in the wings watching Amanda and Brittany as they drop wood on the feet of their beaus. Their improvised dialogue on whether to feel "sorry" or "not sorry" for injuring Benjamin and Caleb puts a smile on face every time. Luke and Karl are not only vibrant dancers, but simple and beautiful actors. In just the first few scenes, Luke and I share a great amount of unspoken dialogue that helps me establish my character for the rest of the performance. And I can not say enough about Meaghan, who is one part-comedienne, one part-Drill Sergeant, and one-part prima ballerina.

But I want to give praise to some other members of the company that do great work to make Oregon City feel vibrant and real. For example, my cohort in dressing-room-crime, Wes Hart, has me in stitches every night, both on and off the stage. When he, as Frank, drops his jaw and glares at Milly for teaching us "sissy stuff," it's all I can do to keep a straight face. And his version of "Lonesome Polecat" is so simple and beautiful, especially when he accompanies himself on guitar.

Maya Perkins, who plays Martha, had me in stitches during our first read through, and the way that she and Kyle Patrick Vaughn partner is a sight to behold. They both have technique for days, and I think that Patti's choreography really gives them a chance to show that strength. Every time I watch Kyle's dance during "Lonesome Polecat," I think, "How is it even possible to make such amazing dance look so effortless?"

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love the way Christian Duhamel slowly curls his hand into a fist upon his introduction to Adam Pontipee (and in time to the music, no less!) Vickielee Wohlbach cracks me up during her bedside scene with Amanda. And paragraphs could be written on Shanna Palmer's spunky strut alone.

I think we're lucky to have such a dedicated group of actors in this project. Allison and Patti created an environment that encourages us to go out there and play (realistically, of course). And when you see the show, I think you'll be able to tell that we are truly, honestly having a great time.

--- Mo Brady (Gideon)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Meet The Men Behind the Beards

Pontipee twins Daniel and Ephraim (Karl Warden and Kyle Patrick Vaughn) take us on a tour of the wonderful world of wigs, make-up and facial hair. Learn how these brawny brothers get their burly beards with special guest Mary Jones from The 5th Avenue Theatre's Hair and Make-up Department.

Monday, December 8, 2008


And on the seventh day, we rested. And it was good.

Very, very good.

The show is open! And it is really a great show. And the first weekend of performances came off swimmingly. Other than a few minor wardrobe malfunctions and a couple of twisted ankles, our show has left the metaphorical train station and is cruising towards Christmas at full speed. Have you seen the YouTube video of our Challenge Dance? It's friggin fierce. I watched it backstage yesterday, before our first show and got chills.

And let me tell you, when each performance begins, it doesn't pause until its over. I am lucky in that my first entrance isn't until 20 minutes into the first act. But once I hit the stage, I don't leave it. When I'm not in a scene or a dance, I'm backstage changing costumes. And there are a lot of very fast costume changes. If you see any of us actors exiting the stage in a surprisingly hurried fashion, its probably because we're running towards one of the dressers, stripping off shirts, pants, and boots in the process.

This is a much bigger technical show than I would have anticipated. I think when you read the script, it's easy to think, "Well, it's just a bunch of scenes in a forest. That should be easy." But it's not. During tech, it took hours just to coordinate the timing of those tree sliders crossing back and forth across the stage. And the snow that falls downstage, midstage, and upstage, all in different amounts at different times seems like a feat unto itself. I've got to hand it to our stage managers, Bret, Michael, and Amy, as well as Laurel, Diana, and all the fierce and funny crew backstage. Because they are working just as hard as we are, but for more hours each day.

The schedule of the last week has been exhausting: afternoon rehearsals and evening performances, leading into five shows in three days. And I've been dealing with a sore throat to boot. So before each show, I've been sitting in front of a humidifier, or gargling concoctions of cayenne pepper and ginger root and lemon juice (yuck), or sneaking Ricolas into my cheeks every chance I get. But my lack of health hasn't seemed to affect the show yet. Phew.

I'm surprised at the number of people I know that are REALLY EXCITED to see the show. My Facebook wall is filled with notes from people excited to see the show, or excited to have seen the show, or that are just excited that I'm in the show. And I'm excited too, although that excitement has mostly manifested itself in fear. Even after we opened, I was still spending my rare offstage moments worried that I going to forget something.

It wasn't until last night's performance that my nerves left. I was finally able to feel confident that I AM going to remember all of the dance moves and the costume changes, and have incorporated all of the notes from previews. I was able to go out there and have fun. Which was AWESOME.

So I'm grateful to be a part of this big aforementioned metaphorical train we call "747." But today, what I'm REALLY grateful for is a day off.

- Mo Brady (Gideon)

Friday, December 5, 2008


I just got home from our first preview. It was simultaneously nerve-racking and thrilling. And sweaty - it was also very, very sweaty.

The past couple of days have been full of excitement. In the past 36 hours, we:
a.) Ran the show for the first time with all the technical elements.
b.) Sang with the orchestra for the first time.
c.) Had our first and only dress rehearsal with the orchestra.
Part of being a professional is being able to pick things up quickly, because you might only get one chance to try something before you put it in front of an audience. But even with the steep learning curve of the last two days, things were on track for a successful first preview tonight.

I've performed in a handful of 5th Avenue shows before, but never in a role as big as this one. There's a lot to remember, not only in terms of choreography, but also harmonies, blocking, and character arcs. And that's just the performing - there's just as much to remember about entrances, exits, costume changes, picking up props, and moving set pieces as there is character work.

Just before tonight's performance began, I sat in my dressing room looking in the mirror. I suddenly thought about the great task ahead of me in the pending performance and thought, "How in the hell am I going to do this? I'm going to forget every single line, dance, and song. This is ridiculous. I'm going home and going to bed."

Well, I didn't end up fleeing the Theatre, And luckily, I didn't forget everything. (Although I did forget one very brief, but obvious move in "Goin' Courtin'," but since I'm pretty far offstage at that point, hopefully all eyes were towards center stage.... Hopefully.) But for most of the show, my body took over.

All the work memorizing, repeating and reviewing came together for a pretty spectacular performance. The applause at the end of "The Challenge Dance" felt like an ocean - waves of sound rippling from the audience onto the stage. My real estate agent, who saw tonight's performance, sent me an e-mail stating, "I WANT TO KISS YOU, YOU WERE SO GOOD!" Considering he's a 50-year-old straight man, I'll take that as a compliment.

Mo Brady (Gideon)

Monday, December 1, 2008


As I left the Theatre Wednesday night, I thought, "Dang. A whole morning to myself tomorrow! The Broadway show performances in the Macy's Day parade end at 10:00 a.m., and family dinner isn't til 3:00 p.m. What am I going to do?" Maybe it was my desire to think about Seven Brides without a BlackBerry in hand. Or maybe it was that we had just teched the scene in which I wear only a dance belt and blanket, and felt some serious cardio was in order. But however it happened, I decided that I'd go for a hike. I figured Little Si would be a good choice: Away from town, only two hours on the trail, and you get a view at the end. Sounded perfect. So I hopped in my car and headed East.

As I got out of the car and began scaling the first switchback, my mind drifted. It wasn't until the elevation started climbing and the trees became more expansive that I thought, "Wait a second. This looks like the set for Seven Brides. I'm walking through the woods of the Pacific Northwest. Just like my character, Gideon Pontipee, would have done 160 (or so) years ago." I mean, take away the Nikes and strap on a pair of hiking boots, and the similarities were striking.

Go with me on this one, folks. Gideon's a thinker. He's always making lists and quietly assessing the situation. Whether it be with his father figure, Adam, his surrogate mother, Milly, or his new-found love, Alice, Gideon is eager to impress. He can stress himself out, trying to figure out the right thing to say, do, or feel. Which is pretty similar to how I felt this morning. As we gear up towards performances next week, I've been stressing myself out about character arcs and line readings and hitting my marks onstage.

So, while scaling Little Si, I channeled my inner Gideon, using the forest around me as inspiration. I started speaking lines out loud and going through songs, stopping when I saw another hiker coming towards me (and hoping they hadn't heard my rendition of "Love Never Goes Away" from 100 feet away.) I came out of the woods and back to my car with some new thoughts on Gideon and the show.

With this new-found empathy, I trekked back into the city for my family's Thanksgiving dinner. I have six siblings of my own, just like Gideon, so I know what its like to grow up with a big family. I mean, when Milly calls the brothers to dinner at the end of "I Married Seven Brothers," I run onstage and grab as many biscuits as I can get my hands on, because I know there's never enough for seconds in a big family. That's not acting - that's life experience, folks.

Even today's dinner had a striking Pontipee touch. I arrived to find my Aunt and Uncle's cabin-esque home filled with family. And as we squished into the dining room, with serving dishes, noisy conversation, and a lot of laughs circulating the room, I saw my family as Pontipees: brazen, loud, and full of love.

Pretty good for a day of character research, if I do say so myself.

-Mo Brady (Gideon)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Backstage with the Pontipee Twins

Meet members of the cast, get a sneak peek at costumes and check out backstage footage with Karl Warden and Kyle Patrick Vaughn, playing the Pontipee twins Daniel and Ephraim in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mo Brady (Gideon) - Rehearsal Update

I love the 5th Avenue Theatre. While I have strong feelings of affection for the company, its directors, and staff, I mean specifically the theater building. The auditorium, the lobby, the ceiling: the physical space itself. The first time I walked into the theater was in the mid-1990s, when my family got season tickets. I remember watching shows from high up in the balcony, thinking to myself, "This theater has got to be the coolest place on earth."

As a "recent rising star at the 5th Avenue" (or, at least according to David Armstrong's blog), I'm now familiar with the routine of mounting shows at this theatre. When I worked on Sweeney Todd, Company, and West Side Story, rehearsals began approximately a month before performances. For the first three weeks, we worked in studios on the 4th Floor of the Seattle Center House. Everything from our initial discussions of characters to our first run-through would take place in those studios. It wasn't until our technical rehearsals began, that we would even step foot inside the theater (except for the occasional costume fitting). It was like the theater itself was the carrot dangling at the end of our rehearsal process, motivating us to get to tech.

Rehearsals for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers have been different, in that we've used the theatre's new in-house rehearsal studios. These new studios, located in the basement of the Skinner Building, are great -- lots of room to relax, floor-length mirrors, a kitchen for heating up leftovers for lunch, and a serious lack of the dust bunnies that seem to seep from the walls of the Center House. And outside the studios, we have downtown Seattle, currently decked out in its Holiday glory. No offense to the Center House Food Court - I love me some Kehab House, but rehearsing downtown is a treat. Even so, our first three weeks were not spent in the theater itself, but one floor below. This time, the carrot was dangling even closer, but still just out of reach.

Tonight was our last rehearsal in the downstairs studios. At the end of the evening's run through, Allison Narver (our director and fearless leader), announced to the cast that our show was officially "too big" for the rehearsal room, and therefore we "must" move on to the stage for tomorrow's rehearsal. Of course, that isn't exactly how it works. The production staff carefully schedules our rehearsal schedule months the cast is even assembled. But even so, it was a nice complement and welcome reminder that we were finally moving upstairs and on stage! Tech week, here we come!

-Mo Brady

Backstage: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is now in rehearsal. Stay tuned for behind-the-scenes stories, photos and videos from cast members during their journey of creating this classic roof-raisin' musical hit!

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