Friday, November 19, 2010

Change of Scenery

Hey ya'll!!!
So I have moved...
Yes I know I move every week, but I mean I have moved my blog!!

I found a great site that is really easy and fun!!
I'll keep this blog to put some journal type stuff here and there, but ALL updates are going to go on tumblr from now on.

So if you want to catch up on my latest:
Click HERE

Monday, October 11, 2010

Now for the Update : )

Hello my friends!!

Happy October! Can’t believe it’s already fall! Did a big shipment of summer clothes to my parents house yesterday. Bye summer dresses and sandals…hello boots and layers!! Not that we are going to very cold places in the next couple weeks. But tis the season. ☺

So we left Charlotte and are onto Des Moines, IA. Last time I was in Des Moines was with High School Musical and I am definitely having a dejavu: same hotel, same theatre, same mall just a mile down the rode. Looking forward to catching up on new movie releases and shopping time this week for sure!

Charlotte was a very sweet town. Holly, Janet, and I rented bikes on Wednesday and rode over to some cute Shops on Central Street and a famous diner named Penguins. If you ever find yourself in Charlotte, check out Hong Kong (an adorable vintage shop), Boris and Natasha (great boutique), and Penguins (amazing dive diner). Our company stayed at the Omni Hotel (beautiful) and it was connected to some great bars and restaurants (aka the Epicenter)… so check that out too! Not to mention a KILLER opening night party at Sonoma. Some of the best food I have ever had at an opening night party… and it was actually healthy!

Besides those little ventures, most of us spent a lot of our time in understudy rehearsal. We are cranking it out… first understudy run thru is this week!! AHHHH So much info thrown at us, but every one is doing an awesome job and I am so excited to see us all FULL OUT soon!

Keeping busy but tour life is a lot easier this time around. It’s so funny not being a swing anymore. I never realized how uptight I was on the Blonde tour until doing this one. I was always learning something, or reviewing, blah blah blah… I rarely relaxed and just had fun. So having my own track has definitely chilled me out and I am able to really explore cities and play more.

That’s all for now.
Sending Big Hugs!

Not an update… just some heart spillage

I mentioned earlier that I met up with my friend, Jeff Parker, while in Atlanta. He is a sweet, talented, and brilliant man who was in grad school at UC Irvine when I was in Undergrad. Make a long story short, he is now following his teaching dreams and is a Theatre Professor in Chatanooga, TN. We had a great time catching up, telling stories, and asking questions about our lives and the biz. One topic that has played over and over in my head was when he asked me what’s a piece of advice that he should pass on to his students from me. Loaded question… should be an easy one… most people get that question all the time… I have been asked it before… and yet my answer surprised me. My answer was clichĂ© as it can get… and so many people have told me it before… but I don’t think I ever believed it. So saying it out loud and writing it out to my bloggers makes my heart happy. So thought I’d share.

My answer went something like this: Be Yourself and Trust that you have your own path and journey. It’s so easy to get caught up in who is doing what and comparing yourself to others. We all have our own purpose and own paths to follow. Some of us won’t get a professional gig until our late 30s, some will get some right off the bat and never stop working, some will get jobs right away and then realize they’d rather live in a sweet suburban town and raise a family, some will be huge stars, some will be 3rd singer track from the left, some will veer off the entertainment path completely, and some [like Jeff] will bless others and teach. I am realizing more and more that we have one life to live… so why not follow your dreams and test out your desires (within safe reason of course haha). Who do you have to prove? I am proud to come from a family of high achievers and perfectionists, but sometimes it’s important to remind yourself to not compare yourself to others and if you fail… WHO CARES!?! Something great is coming.

Some of you know that when I first moved to NY, my agents dropped me, I auditioned for 2 agencies who did not take me on as a client, I was not getting any callbacks… I was MISERABLE! Then in a span of 2 weeks, I booked High School Musical at Theatre of the Stars, booked the New York Cast of Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (Singer track), Legally Blonde, and had 3 agencies calling me about submitting. Truth is… it’s all in God’s timing. There is no use in pushing stuff. I am a firm believer that you HAVE to do the work to get where you want to be, but there is no use trying to push and pull in directions that you may not be destined to go. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunities and adventures I have been given thus far in my career… buut I still got a ways to go and I have NO idea where it’s going. A little scary… but also exciting with this business. Who knows… I could get off tour and go back to LA never wanting to perform again (doubt it… but ya never know where my path will lead me when the time comes). I know it’s easier said then done… but I do remind myself as much as possible that every thing that has happened and will happen is all a part of God’s plan. All I can do is be the best I can be, honor him through it all, and enjoy the journey. So I hope you will too. Listen to your instincts, your heart, your prayers, your desires, and enjoy the journey you are given. Embrace your likes, dislikes, dreams, people around you, and embrace who YOU are. You are loved.

And that is that… a little heart spilling on this Travel day! Thanks for letting me emotionally vomit (haha). T.M.I.?? ☺

P.S. Shout out to Isaack who drove quite a ways to Nashville to see the show. He said he was one of my blog followers. So glad people are reading this and so happy to have met him. ☺

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Working??? hmmm more like "Playing" 9 to 5!

What a surreal couple of weeks it has been!!
2 Weeks in Nashville, a week in Atlanta, and now we are in Charlotte, NC.

Nashville started out with meeting Dolly first thing Monday morning. And she was there for the next two weeks at almost every show and at every day of tech. She made us fudge, laughed and clapped in the audience, sat and ate with us, and made us laugh till it ached. She is everything you would think she is: gracious, sweet, kind, giving, funny, charming, and extremely talented. What a blessing to be able to meet her!

Mom, Me, and Vava
So that was an exciting thing to start with… then it was onto a week of tech. 10 hrs at the theatre every day that week! Before we knew it, it was opening night: red carpets, great first show, and fabulous opening night party!! Not to mention, my mom and grandma got to come for a visit so I was so blessed to have them with me. I had the hottest dates… that’s for sure!
Ryah, Micah, Me, and Jesse
A ton of behind the scenes videos from tech week and from the party are at or on TPACS youtube channel. Check them out!

Nashville city highlights:
*BROADWAY: of course! The night life in Nashville is so fun. Each bar has live music, so as you walk down Broadway, the music changes at every door. So we enjoyed that a couple nights post show.
*The Pancake Pantry and Noshville: Nashville’s 2 famous breakfast places. The Pancake Pantry is self explanatory… the best pancakes and a wide variety of kinds. So so good!! And then Noshville is a perfect All American Diner Breakfast. Yum Yum Yum!!!
*2 for 1 Cowboy Boots: I wish I could say that I bought me a pair… but I never made it over there with rehearsal schedule and family time. BUT some of my cast members definitely scored with some great boots!! Lucky them!

Atlanta was the second stop of the tour and what a great stop it was. We got in early Monday and I was able to hop on Atlanta’s easy train system (MARTA) and go visit my aunt, uncle, and cousin in Roswell, GA. I had never been to their place and hadn’t seen them in way too long! They gave me a tour of the city and we had great family time Monday (including a HOME cooked meal… unreal!). Then we got up Tuesday and they drove me around and showed me Atlanta City before I had to be at the theatre to start the week of shows. I got to see them again when they saw the show on Sunday. It was the first time they ever got to see me perform so it was exciting to have them there. My favorite thing about touring is being able to visit with people I hardly get the chance to see. What a blessing to have been able to finally get to see them. During the week, I was also able to catch up with my mom’s best friend and her precious little girl (Erin and Bella Roosen). I hadn’t seen them since Bella was a baby…and now she is 4 and so beautiful! Then my great friend from UC Irvine, Jeff Parker, drove from Chatanooga to come see the show and visit! It had been almost 2 years since we had last gotten together!! What a lucky girl I am to have such supportive family and friends. Can’t thank you all enough for sharing your time with me when I was in town!! Xoxoxo

Dolly stopped by both shows on Saturday. It was thrilling to see the audience’s reaction because it was so unexpected. We had our bows, the curtain went down, then she came on stage real fast, the curtain went up, there was silence in the audience, and then all of a sudden SCREAMING!! People were up on their feet jumping up and down and yelling. So cool to witness. And rumor has it she is making an appearance in Charlotte too… so for all you Charlotte people… you may just want to go to every show just in case. 

Atlanta Highlights:
*Renting Bikes: We had a day off on Monday (traveled to Charlotte today before show), so Micah, Ryah, Jesse, Holly, and I rented bikes all day. It was the perfect day to do so, great exercise, and so much fun!! Check out the facebook album of our magical day!
*The Flying Biscuit: Before bikes, we loaded up on some quality brunch at Atlanta’s hit breakfast place! Highlight of the meal: an oatmeal pancake with peaches. It was unreal!!
*Aquarium: Our first bike ride stop was at the Aquarium. I took so many pictures of our time there. It was like nothing I had ever seen!
*Zoo: Micah, Jesse, and I separated from the group to go to the zoo… but it was closed so we rode around Piedmont park instead. GORGEOUS park! At one point we just sat in the grass people watching and watching the clouds roll by. Life is sweet.
The Gang at Aquarium
And that is a novel of our adventures so far. Some of us have made a pledge to each other to embrace our inner child and PLAY on this tour. So we are definitely PLAYING! Stay tuned for more stories.

Love to all

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Road Again...

Ryah and I at 630am waiting for our first plane of the tour

6:30 Call Time at LaGuardia Airport (hence the sunglasses and large coffees)…First Travel Day of 9 to 5… and yes my bag was already 5 pounds overweight. I am a horrible packer. No matter how many times I pack my bag and send stuff home… my bag is always overweight. So I always try to scope out the nice people at the desk. The woman this morning at Delta Airlines was a gem and a half. Sometimes they tell you to remove stuff even if it’s 1 pound over. She just winked at me and let me go. So to that woman, thank you for making my day! J

Laura, Me, and Bekah at Going Away Party
Leaving NY was really hard this time around (it’s hard every time actually). I was really getting used to living 
there in my cute little apartment with my cute little roomies and friends close by. I just love my set up there. We also had a 9 to 5 going away party on Friday night and I was overwhelmed with how many people showed up. It was so humbling and wonderful to see so many friends--some that I hadn’t seen in forever!! Including my high school friend/college roomie/sorority sister Bekah who I hadn’t seen in 3 years!! Then had a great time meeting friends of my new road family! I feel like my NY community is finally solid… and now I’m leaving again. BUT I really could not be more excited for this tour. The people in it, the show, the cities, the stuff I’m learning… it’ll be a good time. So to my NY community of fabulous friends and to the city itself… I’ll see you soon. Love Love Love.

The show is finally set, we got into Nashville at 930am this morning, settled into the hotel, had a meet and greet at the theatre, saw the set, tried on wigs, and had our first Fly rehearsal with Mr Hart, the 3 ladies, and the understudies. Lots of fun. We are all crashed early because Today is D-Day… aka Dolly Day!! She has been an idol of mine for quite some time, so I could not be more excited to meet her. Then tech tech tech and dress rehearsals all the live-long week.

Let the adventures begin…
Waiting for the flight... obviously it's a little early for all of us
Micah, Ryah, and Gregg en route to Hotel
Sweet Jesse Asleep on Plane

*Currently Reading:
 The Anita Blake Series by Laurell K. Hamilton (my Aunt introduced me to the series… Very True Bloodesque. The first book is titled Guilty Pleasures… which suits it well since the whole vampire thing is a guilty pleasure for me. Haha. Very excited)
*Favorite New Purchase: My Camera is here! So I am already jumping on the recording band wagon. Stay tuned for a little youtube series on some characters at Consolidated Industries.
*Song on Repeat: “Cowboy Casanova” by Carrie Underwood. Must be getting into the Nashville mode because I am giving some extra love to my country music.
*Inspiration: My Sister, Carly. She is going through college apps and trying to figure out the next chapter of her life. I could not be prouder. She is such a bright girl and I know that she will do well in whatever field she chooses. Love you little sistah. Trust. J

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tumblin' Outta Bed...

Hey Friends!!!

So I am revamping the blog and starting with adventures in NY! I’ve been back in the city for about 3 weeks now and lots to update about.

First… rehearsals are going really well for 9 to 5. My body is getting used to these long hour days of rehearsals. So so tired… I really am tumbling out of bed and stumbling to the kitchen every morning. Haha. But I love it and I absolutely LOVE my cast. We are just having so much fun. It’s a really neat experience to be apart of an original touring company. Everyone told me it would be completely different then coming in as a replacement. And it definitely is. Something about being able to create something and workshop stuff together… we become family right away. It has been such a cool experience.

It’s so funny too because Ven Daniel (our UPS guy on Legally Blonde) told me, “Ash, watch… your entire vocabulary is going to change.” And he could not be more right. “Totes” and “Fierce” has definitely not slipped out of my mouth as much. Haha. But I miss my Blondies a lot. Mike Isaacson (our producer of both Blonde and 9 to 5) gave a great speech at 9 to 5’s first rehearsal about how important it is to take care of each other on the road. Then he mentioned Blonde and how we were a great example of a great tour because we really were like a family and took good care of each other. So I feel truly blessed to have been apart of that. Check out a video of our first rehearsal.

Back to 9 to 5… We finished blocking and setting the entire show on Saturday. Now we just need to clean, get it in our bodies, and fix transitions and such. But it’s going to be a great show! I have learned so so much from watching my fellow actors. It has been so so so much fun. And the creative team is so wonderful. The site is up and running. So make sure you check the tour schedule to see if we come to a city near you!!

When I am not in rehearsals, I have really been enjoying visiting with friends. My sorority sisters (who now live in NY) and I have been exploring some great brunch places here in the city. One was LANSKYS on 71st and Columbus! Bottomless Cocktail Brunch included with entire brunch menu. Good price and yummy. Plus they bring you a huge loaf of FRESH banana bread when you first sit down. Dangerous. But so so good! It’s a Modern Jewish Deli with great charm and service. Loved it!
The place us girls went to today was Sarabeths on 81st and Amsterdam. A lot pricier than Lanskys… but so so good and so so cute. Very quaint. If you go… go really early. We had a 45 minute wait. But it was definitely worth it.

4 years ago, I went on a European Cruise and met some lovely new friends from England. We have stayed in contact through the years, and just so happens that one of the girls had a graduation trip to the states with her friends. AND they were in NY the first week I got back! So I took them to the Meatpacking District and we had amazing guacamole and Mexican Food at Dos Caminos. The fact that they had been eating Hard Rock Café and McDonalds was NOT okay. Dos Caminos is so so good! But I actually preferred Rosa Mexicano which is in Lincoln Square. My dad and I went there when he was in town for a few days. Both places are fabulous and on the pricey side. But my meal at Rosa Mexicano (veggie tacos) was one of the best meals I have ever had.

Now of course… the city has much more to offer than food. : ) I have really enjoyed taking pilates, reformer, and yoga class at Yogaworks outside of rehearsal. I bought a great package on and have been trying to take good advantage of it while I can. Besides that, my days consist of: Too much shopping, pampering, reading, walking, park time, loving my apartment, loving my roomies, missing my puppy (my parents are spoiling him in California for a bit), friend time, packing, and studying.
And that’s the NY saga! One week until Nashville! CRAZY!!!

Until next time…
*Currently Reading: The Hunger Games (I am on the 3rd book)… SO SO GOOD!!
*Currently Netflixing: Entourage Season 1… starting from the beginning
*Current Song on Repeat: “If it’s Love” by Train.
*Current Inspiration: Dolly Parton. Because of the show, I follow her on twitter and have been doing more research on her. She is such an amazing, inspiring, talented, brilliant, funny woman who definitely stays true to who she is. One of my favorite quotes of hers: "Don't get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life." I just cannot wait to meet her!!
*Favorite new purchase: I bought a new camera!! Should be getting it via mail very soon. So more pics and videos to come!! Woohoo!

Bye Bye Blonde!!

Well… the blonde door has closed. 11 months, 29 cities, 9 tracks, approx. 138 shows on (that I recorded), fun show, great memories, new puppy, fun adventures, new friends, lots of laughs… I couldn’t have asked for a better year. Being part of Legally Blonde has been a true honor and a blessing. When I first booked the tour, I cried. Not because I was excited… it was because I was scared (you know what)less. I remember watching our super swing in High School Musical saying “thank God I am not a swing… I could NEVER do that!” Well… be careful what you put out there. Haha. But I could not be more grateful for the opportunity. I have learned more this year—about myself, people, the business, traveling, life, etc—than I could have ever fathomed.

But what being a swing really taught me was to stop putting pressure on myself. Coming right out of college, it was so easy to get caught up in who was doing what, comparing myself to others, NEEDING a job, having to be successful, money worries, etc. I did not even enjoy those 5 months I lived in NY. They flew on by and I was stressed and focused on everything that was going wrong instead of enjoying the people around me and all the neat things NY has to offer. I have also always been such a perfectionist (since I was hmmm about 4 haha). Truth is… there is so such thing as perfection. And I know that is elementary school teaching “No one is perfect… except God” is something that bible school always taught me. ;-) But... that entire concept fully clicked in LB. You are always competing in college to be on top, be in the best classes, get in the musicals. While that’s great in school (for pushing and getting a better education), it sucks in real life. No good comes from it. So as a swing… I learned that sometimes ya just can’t have the “perfect” show. We all make mistakes, we live we learn, we crash, we burn. ☺

Whether you guys read this full blog or not, it has been such a fun thing to do: to blog! I have enjoyed connecting with you all and reading most of your own blogs. So nice to keep in touch even if we can’t connect directly. Thank you for reading, hearing, responding, and being such a big part of my Legally Blonde travels. Now onto the next adventure. I am hoping this time around, I can focus more on things the cities have to offer.

Big shout out to the non equity cast of Legally Blonde who started rehearsals on the 16th! Work it out, break legs, and enjoy!! : )

Big Hugs and Snaps!!
Some pics from the closing night when the swings got to come on for final bow : ) And yes... one of the boys dressed in drag.