Updates

Goodspeed

After a successful end to my season at Goodspeed Musicals last year mixing “Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz,” I was offered and accepted the full-time position of Production Audio Engineer at their main stage, The Goodspeed (colloquially known as “The Goodspeed Opera House”).  I’ll be staying on for the off-season this winter doing various upkeep, maintenance, and shop prep, then mixing their 3-musical season from April to December. Things kick off April 21st with “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and end December 10th with a revisited production of “Rags,” on which Stephen Schwartz himself will be collaborating. So, that’s where to find me these days! And do come visit if you need a weekend away or find yourself passing through the New England area 🙂

A day in the show life with actress Crystal Lucas-Perry, from this summer’s “A Sign of The Times”.  Photo Credits: Crystal Lucas-Perry (L) and Diane Sobolewski (R)

 

 

Published: 01/01/2017

Fall/Winter of 15

Hello all,

This fall I was up in Boston at ART’s Club Oberon, where I worked as a mixer on “The Donkey Show” and other projects.  For October and November, I mixed the new musical “Indian Joe” at Goodspeed Musicals.  Some great lessons learned this fall as I regained the use of my right clavicle and got back into the swing of work things.

  1. As Woody Guthrie would say, “take it easy, but take it!”
    • Recovering was tough because I am used to spending so much of my life in full throttle.  I’m used to being in a new place every week, on my feet, adapting, using both arms…you get it.  Of course, even after I was out of the arm sling, it still took a good few months of physical therapy before I could do everything I would need to at work (heavy lifting, crawling on a grid, climbing a ladder, etc).  I am grateful to my many understanding supervisors, who helped immensely with making accommodations for me at work and getting me extra help with physically demanding tasks.  But I’m also really proud of myself for being transparent about my abilities and disabilities, and asking for the help I needed without feeling bad about needing it.  I made sure my bosses knew that I was there to work and be helpful, and that I would happily do anything I could do comfortably, but at the same time, we all knew that slowing down my recovery by having me do too much was not the answer.
    • I have to admit, this is probably one of those things that is harder when you’re a woman, especially in an industry that is both male-dominated and requires a lot of you physically, even though, and we sometimes forget this, that’s not a gender-specific trait.
  2. Patience is a virtue. So is knowing when to drop it.
    • I sat through a number of challenging rehearsals this fall, and as we all know, communication can get crazy and start to break down when enough stressed out cooks are in one kitchen. I worked on not being one of them, and just doing my job.  As the stickers on my desk said, “Keep Calm and Mix The Damn Show!” and “It’s All Good :)”  Two life lessons best learned in conjunction with one another.  One fewer tense remarks and one more smiling face can turn a problem around and help a team get back on track. Again, it’s my ninja rules. Exist only when you need to, and when you do exist, do it as pleasantly as possible 🙂
  3. Life is good. Life with a teammate is extra good!
    • I don’t shout Marty out often enough, but he has been a huge force of helping throughout this entire year. Forcing me to do my PT, visiting during tech even though he’s already sat through the show umpteen times, bagging me awesome lunches for work, coming up to Boston or down to New York to see me. As I like to joke, I have the “best housewife ever” when it’s his turn (we try to split the duties 50-50).

Anyway, that’s all for now. Winter is off to a great start: I’ve been working as an on-call technician at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, getting to load in and out some of the biggest concerts that come through the state and adding to my “local crew” tshirt and badge collection 🙂  In addition, I’ve continued working at the ART in Boston, both as a mixer for “The Donkey Show” and a technician for other events both here at Club Oberon and at the Loeb Drama Center, which is their mainstage.  Now back to work!

Published: 18/02/2016

Much-needed update pt. 4 – Summer of 15!

Finally, here’s what my summer and fall have entailed.  A lot of it was just like last fall, as I was once again working for two organizations I love, Goodspeed Musicals and American Repertory Theatre!

First up, I was given the opportunity to mix the new musical “The Theory of Relativity” by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, a beautiful 80-minute long sung-through piece about the ways in which we are all interconnected. It had a cast of 13 and a band of 5, and everyone was a sheer delight to work with. It was also a pleasure to be working once again with Jay Hilton as sound designer; he continues to be one of my biggest mentors and role models in this industry.

After that show, I headed up to Boston for the summer to officially join the staff at ART’s Club Oberon.  Unfortunately, this didn’t exactly go as planned, as six days into my employment, I flew over my handlebars while riding my bike to work and broke my right collarbone…not so helpful when two arms are needed for most mixing.  But thanks to the great folks in Boston, I was able to come back to work in a limited capacity after just 4 weeks, and the company was able to arrange for me to do some paid training and shadowing. A big help with not being able to work and still needing to make my Boston rent!

After the tumultuous summer, the boyfriend and I took a much-needed week off, where we roadtripped out to see our friends in Cleveland and back. Cause relaxation is important too!

At the helm of "Theory of Relativity" in Chester Connecticut

At the helm of “Theory of Relativity” in Chester Connecticut

Meanwhile while broken...

Meanwhile while broken…

A typical day at Club Oberon

A typical day at Club Oberon

2015-08-09 00.25.56

After mixing my first “The Donkey Show”, a 60-minute long Midsummer Night’s Disco that runs every Saturday night at Club Oberon!

Published: 25/11/2015

Much-needed update pt. 3 – Spring of ’15

Ok, I guess I’m on a roll now, so here’s more!

After not doing much for the month of February, I was excited to jump into another show at my old alma mater, this time the high school’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”  It was another great experience, a chance to deal with a smaller and more mature cast, but also to train the mixer, a fantastic 12th-grader named Kai, to go with the flow, since the show is line-by-line mixed but contains internal improvisation, an inevitable byproduct of having audience participants in the show!  She also had to serve as her own A2, so we spent a lot of time on mic-rigging, problem-solving, and communicating effectively with stage management when things needed to happen quickly.

For my part, it was a great last gig in NY before heading back to a new project up in CT…Yale!

I was offered a position as a Wireless Microphone Technician on Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” It was a big play with original music and high high production values, and all 24 actors were in mic.  I had a great experience working with the superb staff there, everything was in order when I arrived for tech, and from there I was able to simply take the RF off their hands and keep everything under control.  I also was put in charge of a wireless IEM receiver that had to be tracked to different onstage positions and plugged into 2 different speakers to serve as both an iPhone and a baby…fun 🙂

In the middle of all this, I had the amazing opportunity to attend USITT 2015 in Cincinnati, OH as the first ever Early Career women In Sound Scholarship awardee.  As part of my award, I received a generous travel stipend (definitely helped with the fact that I had to miss some of tech and previews to go…), and I sat on a panel about early career sound folks and got to be on the other side of the role model steps for a while! It was so moving to talk to students whose exact shoes I had been in just one year ago, and offer what advice I might have to give about surviving those early years and “career hustling” as I call it. It was also great to see old friends, meet new ones, and keep up those network contacts!

Between my three-ish sublets, a lot of 100-mile-a-day driving, the right amount of drinking, and once again being in tech over passover, it was quite a busy start to spring!

My signature show track index cards from YRT's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle"

My signature show track index cards from YRT’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”

Published: 25/11/2015

Much-needed update pt 2 – Winter 2014/15!

Continued from before, a quick summary of my first year out of college and the nomad-ing I did for a while.

One big lesson I learned from a colleague up here in CT that I just didn’t know was that nothing happens at certain times of year.  I spent an insane amount of time in January and February trying to get work, when at least up here…there just wasn’t that much work to be had. And that’s ok! But I definitely started to go a little stir-crazy. I found a new therapist to vent my frustrations to, since I don’t know that this is something that every industry experiences.  It’s like one week you have 50 hours of solid work and then a few weeks later, you just don’t.  It can be a lot to manage.

But that now known, other than taking some nice vacation time, I was able to piece together a decent bit of work for the “off-season”.  I was an audio technician for Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals, which is a three-day long event full of readings, concerts, panels, cabarets, all of which are in the interest of promoting new musical theatre.  I got to mix numerous events, run from space to space in mid-winter as fast as I could, and meet lots of great actors, writers, directors, producers, whatnot.

I also fell into a fun gig that I would never have expected to enjoy – sound designing productions at my old high school!  I know, you may laugh…but it has actually been a great time, and a great opportunity.  My school back in NY has a nice rep system, so my biggest job was to rent a microphone package (we owned 8 channels of RF that would be swapped from actor to actor during the show by a terrific team of 12-year old A2s), coordinate aforementioned microphone handoff, coordinate the band (5 pieces sitting almost entirely unamplified far away in the balcony) and balance them with the vocals, as well as teaching another terrific 12-year old to mix this monster!  Did I mention that this was a middle school production of “Sunday in the Park with George?”

The opportunity also allowed me to do a lot of much-needed maintenance on their system, which was a great learning/doing opportunity.  I had all the time I needed to figure this system out, look at the old drawings from when our theatre had been renovated in the early 2000s, did some relabeling, soldering, wiring, patching, and really got things into nice working order.  As someone who has never considered system design my “#1 skill”, it was a big undertaking and I’m really proud of my results.  There is now a basic system flow of the theatre that the resident TD can use to figure things out while I’m away, and everyone has been walked through the system and its needs. See below!

Another thing one learns when doing school theatre, is that it isn’t always about making it sound good. With a cast of 25 where only the leads and SOME supports will be mic’d at any given time, you will pull your entire head of hair out trying to make it Broadway-quality.  Gabi, my mixer, had to go from line-by-line mixing to reminding himself to leave a mic open if it was being used to capture two people while being worn by one, and to make the sound more consistent than just one person on mic and one who isn’t.  And anyway, it’s middle school!  This is the venue that was my first real exposure to being on a tech crew. I ran a spotlight in this space back in ’04.  And really it was about being involved and doing your part.  And if every parent in the audience can hear their child and see them get to be involved, whether in a costume or in blacks, then we will have done our job.  So that was mine!

Here is my badass middle school mixer Gabi in action! He is on a Presonus StudioLive inside a control booth and it still sounds great :)

Here is my badass middle school mixer Gabi in action! He is on a Presonus StudioLive inside a control booth and it still sounds great 🙂

A map of the school's 24-channel console in its "Standard" layout

A map of the school’s 24-channel console in its “Standard” layout

Published: 25/11/2015