Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Several of the Joseph cast members had the incredible opportunity to take a flying trapeze class with SANCA, the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts, located in Georgetown, September 19th.
This lucky chance was provided by Kristina Wicke, Company Manager for The 5th Avenue Theatre. The role of company manager keeps Wicke busy and bustling about the theatre, tending to the needs of the local and out-of-town cast members. (We are especially happy to see her on Thursdays, when she hands out paychecks.)
Wicke, the circus girl at heart, has been President of the Board at SANCA for 4 years. The non-profit organization is “dedicated to improving the mental and physical health of children of all ages by engaging them in the joyous creativity of acrobatics and circus arts.” What does her involvement with SANCA bring to Wicke?
“Sheer joy!” she said.
We would soon come to agree with her completely that day.
After checking in and signing the appropriate “If You Die Here It’s Not Our Fault” waivers, we headed over to the big tent for a warm up and overview of what our first flight 23 feet in the air would look like.
We were fitted with safety harnesses and taught the basic mechanics of take-off. The most important thing we gathered from this was to listen to our instructors and do what they say! A running order was then assigned and we were good to go.
Most of us were anxiously waiting our turn - me included. Trying to distract myself from what I was about to do by taking pictures, I snapped this one of Dane Stokinger, right after someone offered him a stick of gum and he quipped, "Will the gum make me less nervous?"
Castmate Shanna Palmer was up first for the two-handed take-off straight swing—grabbing the bar with both hands and then hanging straight with toes pointed. (Palmer had visited SANCA once before and later in the day we enjoyed watching her do an impressive upside-down split, as well as a few exciting attempts at a mid-air catch with one of the professional instructors.)
Watching the first few cast members have a go at it, I was getting excited for my turn. Aside from the part about being 23 feet in the air, I had a feeling I would love this. My nervousness wasn’t a factor until I saw Dan C. Levine, who was right before me on the roster.
Yeah…okay, NOW I was nervous.
(Levine made it through that first swing, just so you know. One more video of Levine I’ll share below. We were all so proud of him and what he accomplished that day!)
Finally, I was up. I hooked the carabiner to my safety harness and began the climb up the ladder, which for me turned out to be the scariest part. At the top, the instructors re-hooked me to more safety ropes, chalk was applied to my hands and the bar was brought up to grab hold. One thing is for sure, I did NOT expect for the bar to be SO heavy—a great deal of strength is necessary in your hands and fingers.
“Ready!” calls out the instructor.
(Bend your knees, bend your knees, bend your knees)
My first flight was such a rush! I yelped out loud and I’ll never forget it. Falling into that net is just as fun as it looks, too. There’s really no way to explain just how exhilarating flying on a trapeze is, but luckily Wicke captured this moment on video right after my first flight, which pretty much sums it up.
Everyone did a fantastic job that first round. Some flew with truly the greatest of ease. Others overcame some huge fears. Mo Brady made a good point that the challenges we faced were not what we expected. Like holding on! People who are already performers and dancers are fun to watch on trapeze. Marc de la Cruz and choreographer Jayme McDaniel, for example, had perfectly pointed toes and looked like naturals!
Observers are not allowed to cheer until the flyer is in the net, so as not to distract them from listening to those important commands being shouted out.
However quiet it was during one’s flight, there was such a wonderful sense of support in that tent. With every drop into the net, the eruption of applause rang out.
The sense of accomplishment in just those first 30 or so minutes was astonishing. We did it! Before heading back up for a second time, we met in the warm-up area to learn our upcoming second trick.
“And now, you will be doing a one-handed take-off, knee-hang with a back flip.”
(Hm? I’m sorry, WHAT did she just say?!?!)
The look on cast members’ faces was priceless. Apparently, this is the second thing that EVERYONE learns, even the little kids. And so, following our instruction on this next ridiculous stunt, we were ready to head up again.
We have some very tall men in the Joseph cast that faced some different challenges on this one. Stokinger, a wee 6’3”, said “There was something about being okay relinquishing control to the woman holding your harness. You really had to trust her. Granted, this woman was also about the size of my thigh.”
Troy Wageman, who is 6’4”, was also amazing to watch getting those fabulous long legs up over the bar! It was nothing short of comical to watch this tiny female instructor on the other end of Wageman and Stokinger’s safety rope being lifted off the ground a bit each time they took off.
My second flight was by far the most unexpected fun I’ve ever had. As it turns out, the trick sounded much worse than actually doing it. What a blast!
As promised, here is Levine’s second stunt. He told me the other day he doesn’t remember much of it, and that watching this video brings the butterflies back to his stomach. Way to go, Daniel!
The two hours went by so quickly. What an amazing energy booster for us all. No pun intended but I was high for the rest of the evening. Thanks again to SANCA and Kristina Wicke. Now, just a thought, do you think we could convince our director to incorporate a trapeze act into the show? No??
American Idol finalist and star of our upcoming production, Anthony Fedorov, is thrilled to be in Seattle, exploring all the things this city has to offer. The 5th Avenue Theatre is combining his curiosity of the city with a fun way to get involved and win!
Here's your chance to meet Anthony and win a VIP prize package which includes two tickets to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and a night's stay at the hip and artistic Hotel Max!
On Friday, October 2nd, Anthony will be at a secret Seattle landmark to give the first person to find him this prize package!
We'll be posting clues of where he will be through Twitter, Facebook and here on our Backstage Blog for you to follow along all week.
You can still follow along with us on twitter if you don't have an account. Simply visit our page for up to date notices. Hotel Max will also be tweeting via their twitter site here.
Where will Anthony end up? You'll have to stay with us to find out!
Anthony Fedorov is on twitter, too! Follow him here.
Twitter hashtag for the scavenger hunt is #goseattle
Clue #1 Tuesday 1:55pm: This is a place of many colors
Clue #2 Tuesday 3:50pm: Many people helped to make this "work of art"
Clue # 3 Wednesday 2:12pm: Clue #3: # of Joseph's brothers - time "Joseph" will be at secret spot = urban legend # connected to secret spot!
Clue # 4 Thursday 11:50am: Anthony will be at the secret spot tomorrow at 4pm. This should help you with clue #3!
Clue #5 Thursday 1:22pm: Laughter can be heard around the corner
Clue #6 Thursday 4:40pm: Stick with us! Less than 24 hours to go!
Clue #7 Friday 10:05am A few ghosts might be attached to this place, since the Market Ghost Tour makes this part of their journey!
Clue #8 Haven't figured out where the secret spot is yet? Chew on it awhile!! :)
Monday, September 28, 2009
Blog entry author: Troy Wageman (Levi, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)
Well, here we are, right smack in the middle of rehearsals for Joseph. It has been such a great experience so far. One thing I think the audience is really going to enjoy is the energy and excitement that our cast is going to be throwing to the audience every night.
One element I always look forward to is watching the audiences' reaction to productions. In this show, we have over 50 children on stage so we get the reactions a bit earlier! Rehearsing with them has been a joy. So often, actors get completely into the groove of the job and work that we forget that we are bringing a story to life. This week, with the children in rehearsal, it was very exciting to watch their faces as we were telling the story. They are so in the moment that it is actually very refreshing to have them around us. When they all sing together? Forget about it! I looked around the room at the adult cast and many (myself included) had tears welling in their eyes. What a joy to be reminded of the very special career we have.
A father of one of the children was telling me that his son doesn't want to take dance classes cause that is "lame". Well, after watching one of our dance rehearsals for the "hoe-down," he ran back to his dad and said "Dad! These guys are dancing and it's amazing....they are serious athletes!! I wanna do that, take me to dance class tomorrow!" How cool, right? THIS is why I do what I do!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Vancouver ComedyFest 2009 is bringing the six-time Emmy Award winner Carol Burnett to McCaw Hall in Seattle.
Laughter and Reflection: A Conversation with Carol Burnett is an intimate event that let's the
audience ask the questions. They are providing 5th Avenue Theatre fans a very special offer for a limited time for 2 for 1 ticket sales!
Visit this site for details and to order tickets - code word: FUNNY
The 5th Avenue Theatre will be there with a ticket giveaway to our upcoming musical comedy, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat!
In celebration of our partnership, Savor Seattle is offering fans of The 5th Avenue (subscribers, ticket buyers, facebook and twitter fans) $5 off tomorrow's Gourmet Tour. They've opened just 7 spots for tomorrow's tour!
Find out more about the Gourmet Tour here
To book, call Savor Seattle at 1.888.98.SAVOR (72867) and mention The 5th Avenue offer!
Monday, September 21, 2009
Gather your friends and family members and take advantage of a special discounted Seattle Mariners ticket offer for Wednesday, September 30! Be sure to arrive early: American Idol finalist and star of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Anthony Fedorov will be singing the National Anthem!
DEADLINE TO PURCHASE: Monday, September 28 at 5:00 p.m.
Game Date: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - 7:10 p.m.
• $11 View Reserved (normally $20)
• $25 Field Level Seating (normally $40)