Tag Archives: Martha’s Vineyard

Last Day In Martha’s Vineyard!

Monday September 7th 2015

Today was a day of rest and relaxation for us before flying to New York tomorrow. I’d written to Benjamin Zander with the photo I’d taken of him and the other 2 conductors who’d come last night. He wrote a lovely message back, basically saying how much he loved us and the show. Wendy came over with our fee and Sarah arrived. We sat and talked about the show and what a success it was. Despite that, it’s unknown of she’ll bring us back next year. We want to put this show on in theaters and tour it. I wrote my blog and called people, then Thoth and I took a pleasant, exploratory bike ride around Edgartown.
IMG_20150907_152549247 IMG_20150907_152813370 IMG_20150907_152844409 IMG_20150907_153316962 We ran into Francesca Kelly, who was at last night’s performance and was immensely admiring of our work. She passed in her car and then found us when we were about to get lunch. She took us to a place to sit and talk and get drinks and gave us more fantastic feedback, which of course I can’t remember. She wants us to come back to the Vineyard next year and wants to help us. IMG_20150907_163800 We went home to put away our bikes and walked to Sarah’s house on the beach. She helped me get all ready for swimming (goggles, bathing suit. Thoth had already gotten in the water when I came back out. At first I was scared to get in, but I swam out and Thoth held me. Eventually I was having fun swimming around looking underwater with my goggles. I got out and we went back to the house to get the camera to take Thoth’s picture. IMG_20150907_181246689 We took a lovely wash off in the outdoor shower. It was so pleasant! Sarah was cooking dinner and Ben arrived at 7 for dinner with us. The three of us went out on the dock to see the sunset and he asked us tons of questions. He loves the purity of my voice and my facial expressions. He said the moments of romantic connection during our performance were “sexy” and said I am so “Puckish.” (as in Puck the character from Midsummer Night’s Dream.) I loved getting feedback from him. It was such a magical moment, sitting with him watching the sunset. Those are the moments we cherish and remember forever. We went back to the house and I helped set the table for dinner. Sarah made yellow tail with potatoes and spinach, her daughter’s favorite meal. It was stunningly delicious! The was she cooked the fish made it crunchy on top. Mmm! Thoth needs to make it for me! “You know how I love to pamper you.” Sarah said. Ben gave us his book, The Art of Possibility and two recordings of him conducting some Mahler symphonies. One he gave Thoth Symphony No. 2 and me Symphony No. 3, which was written for the pure type of voice I have. He talked about moving past life’s difficulties by using the methods in his book. “Can I call you when I get sad?” I asked. “Of course. You have my number.” he said. 🙂
IMG_20150907_233355We took a picture together, said goodbye to Sarah and Ben drove us back to the Vineyard Arts Project. What a lovely last day here!

2nd Performance of Esh and Ee-ay in Martha’s Vineyard!!

Sunday September 7th 2015

Sarah Kernochan came over at noon to give us notes. All were to help make the story more clear. Who knows if I would be able to remember and incorporate them! It’s fantastic to have someone who knows our music well enough and can tell us if something doesn’t make sense theatrically. We’ve never had that kind of person who could help us like that before! She had found some maple leaves on her walk and put them on her nose while she was talking. It was so funny, and she was being really serious. I had to immediately start doing my makeup when she left. I felt much more relaxed and ready today. I did a totally different look from last night. God this is so much fun!

Right before we left for the show, I checked my email. Wendy had sent something out to everyone saying “As you surely know, the response and buzz has been very very very good and if I do say so myself WELL DESERVED.” Now that made me feel fantastic! James and Sarah came to pick us up.

IMG_20150906_174901912We got ourselves ready and I got some pictures…

The great James Lapine and wonderful Sarah Kernochan. IMG_20150906_174934342 Here’s Thoth on the stage laughing at something James said. IMG_20150906_175028221Aren’t they cute? (James doesn’t like that word.)
IMG_20150906_175058152 unnamed-1unnamed-2My sister called while we were rehearsing and I put the phone to James’ ear. “Who is this?” she said. “A good friend of your sister’s.” he said. “Guess who that was?” I said taking the phone back. “I don’t know.” she said. “It was James Lapine.” I said. “Oh my god. Can I talk to him again?” she asked. I put the phone back to his ear. “Thank you. I’m happy to make people laugh.” he responded to whatever sis said.

James was cracking us up while we were rehearsing. Whenever we’re around him, he’s always making us laugh. That’s how he is. He’s very, very funny. It helps relax everyone. He’s the most laid back director I’ve ever worked with. No ego, no agenda, he’s just happy to help out in the creative process. No wonder he’s won so many Tony Awards. 🙂
IMG_20150906_180713041Uh oh, he’s coming for me… 🙂IMG_20150906_180717915That’s Wendy in the background and the Narrator to the right of James.
IMG_20150906_182458069 I was happy James would be staying for the show tonight. He has been such a tremendous, unexpected help to us. “Thank you so much James.” I said hugging him before going backstage. “No, thank you.” he said.

Thoth backstage before the show. IMG_20150906_184439790 The audience wasn’t as big as last night, but they were much more comfortable with us. I made more (unnoticeable) mistakes tonight because I was trying to incorporate Sarah’s notes. Thoth sweat his ass off (as usual.) He’s such a force to be reckoned with on stage. I think I added a lot of new shades to my character tonight. Being on stage with my husband makes me feel protected, while allowing me to fully be myself. I have expanded my violin abilities in a huge way this year. People see us as musical and creative equals. 11265308_10153570440609544_3290635441654181470_oWe are extremely expressive in general, but on stage even more so. This opera has forced me to do things on stage I’ve never done before.
10255522_10153570441719544_258578899548043165_oWe got another standing ovation and we stomped our bells while people clapped. That was fun. We played “Gypsy Dance” as an encore. It’s amazing how much I’ve grown as a musician through this work.

More people came to the reception tonight and we sold a lot more CDs. That made me so happy. IMG_20150906_210225877 The three conductors who were invited came to the reception. Ben, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, came straight up to me and told me his impression. He was so enthusiastic! That’s him on the left. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “I’ve never heard a voice like yours before.”  Wow!IMG_20150906_210312055 All three of them loved the show. Meeting them was a highlight of the night for me!IMG_20150906_210317154#1James and Sarah came to the reception, but they had to rush to another event afterwards. I was able to thank James again. He held me by the hands and said, “You were amazing.” I blew him a kiss and he blew me one back.


Kate Taylor came. She was at the house party the other night and was so excited to see the show. Of course she loved it.

IMG_20150906_210703612 I love her style!IMG_20150906_210722496#1 People were bombarding us for CDs and showering us with compliments. That’s such a great thing about doing shows here. We get such great feedback! IMG_20150906_210903818 Puppies!IMG_20150906_210906822A lady is writing a review for Wendy. IMG_20150906_211254530She loved how I pulled the audience in with my little expressions towards them. She adored my expressions.  I wish I could remember what everyone said! I want to hold them in my mind forever! To have such incredible people loving us truly validated my feelings for what were doing. We are amazing, people do love us and good things will happen for us.

Wendy and Caroline took us to dinner afterwards. Wendy gave us fantastic feedback (I wish I recorded it) and read us some of the famous people’s reactions to the show (all positive.) Tony Shalhoub and Carrie Fisher both loved it last night, and Bob Brustein came tonight and was besotted. Lots of incredible people come to shows in MV. What an incredibly successful weekend!!!

PS. The show was filmed, so we’ll have to cut it all together and it will eventually be available for viewing!

The Debut of our Opera, “Esh and Ee-ay”!

Saturday September 6th 2015

I actually wasn’t as nervous this morning as I woke up. Thoth lay in bed with me and we talked about the opera. “I want to do a bit of ‘Anya’ to open.” he said. “I think it’s better if the narrator starts. You need to allow the work to change and grow. We can’t sing ‘Anya’ before every show.” I said. Thoth playfully growled. It’s the sound he makes when he’s not fully in agreement with me.

I had to start getting ready at 1:15pm to give myself 3 hours to do makeup and hair. James Lapine and Sarah Kernochan were going to pick us up at 4:15 and get all the props. I started getting nervous. Doing a makeup look that satisfies me creatively when I’m nervous is difficult. I’m very aware how big the show is going to be and a lot of important people are going to see me. It’s an interesting experience.

I finally got myself together and had a half hour before pickup time. 
IMG_20150905_160609202 IMG_20150905_160620127 IMG_20150905_160625969 Thoth’s headdress is a sight to behold. IMG_20150905_160538913 IMG_20150905_160532811 IMG_20150905_160550862I didn’t get a shot of him in his coat. I’ll do that before tomorrow night’s show.

I saw James walk around the back. Both he and Sarah loved how I looked. “What about me?” Thoth said playfully. “You look amazing, too!” James said. We got everything in the car and Sarah ran over to get Thoth’s coat from the seamster who removed the sleeves. James was so sweet. “You’re going to be amazing.” he said. He’s totally in our corner. While we drove to Union Chapel, he asked about where I went to school. I told him about dropping out of University of Kentucky, moving to New York when I was 20 and going to Circle in the Square Theatre School (where he did Putnam County Spelling Bee.) Eventually we got around to him asking what Thoth and I call each other. “I call him Bunny Face.” I said and he started calling him that. “What does he call you?” James asked. “Girl. Young lady.” I said. “Oh yes, he calls her Young Lady a lot.” Sarah said. Such an interesting conversation to have with him! So human, so normal, so sweet and so charming!

Wendy, Caroline and Steven the filmographer were there setting up. We put on our bells and Suzzanne (the narrator) arrived. James helped us through the cues, just so we knew what props we needed for each scene. It was very helpful. People were standing outside waiting to get in. “Now just have fun and breathe.” he said. He couldn’t stay for tonight’s show because he had a previously planned dinner party to attend. He’ll see it tomorrow. We went back stage to get ready. I dropped two of my jewels on the stage so Suzzanne went out and found them for me. I actually wasn’t nervous because I felt so prepared! Having James directing us was such a pleasant surprise. He’s so fantastic at what he does, and he’s so casual, gentle and sweet. We’re so blessed to have him lending his talents to our cause.

At 7:07pm, Wendy called places and went out to introduce us. Suzzanne hit her cane on the ground and announced, “The story of Esh and Ee-ay” and we came out to our spots. It was so helpful for us to have someone speaking in between scenes. It meant we didn’t have to rush into changing and drinking water and catching our breath. We had decided for Thoth to do our opening number “Esh” center stage and me to stand back accompanying him. Despite that we had a lot of cues and props to remember, everything went very smoothly. There were many comedic moments. I tend to ham it up on stage when the moment is right. I don’t have an opportunity to do that in public. People laughed unexpectedly a few times and we got a big applause after “Transformation and Meeting” and after “Falling in Love.” It was interesting to have different variations of applause. Every piece didn’t end with us speeding up and flinging our hands in the air, which Sarah didn’t want. Two little girls who had been dancing and talking for half the show were taken out during, “Esh Revealed” and one of them loudly shouted, “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!” as we were in stillness. It was very distracting. I love having kids at our shows, but they need to be quiet! We ended “Birth” sitting on the floor holding each other and the lights when down. People instantly stood to their feet and cheered. We were even able to do “Pentagram” as an encore, which was fun.

We ran backstage to grab our things and get to the A Gallery for the reception. “You blew the roof off again!” Sarah said when she came backstage. People applauded when we arrived in the reception gallery. We sold lots of CDs and got great feedback. People were mesmerized. Sarah was so proud of us. “People are talking about you like you’re the real deal.” she said. “The comedy was wonderful. Thoth is more kabuki and you’re more Pierette. Also, people loved the story. They LOVED it.” she said.  I was so happy. I told her I was very calm and confident. “It showed.” she said. We have a show now!

Here’s Thoth signing CDs.
IMG_20150905_211545898Sarah with Thoth.
IMG_20150905_211655352Happy, tired me. IMG_20150905_211713640 We got a picture with everyone. From left to right is Sarah, me, Thoth, Wendy and Caroline. IMG_20150905_211758978

Blocking Rehearsal with Suzzanne Douglas (Amazing Actress/Narrator) and James Lapine (Director Extraordinaire)

Friday September 4th 2015

James and Sarah arrived at 4pm for a rehearsal with the narrator. “Don’t I get a hug?” James said. “Of course you do!” I said hugging him. So sweet! James got actress Suzzanne Douglas to do the narration. I could tell she’d be perfect before she even opened her mouth. Having James, Suzzanne, Thoth and I all sitting together talking about our opera was mind blowing. “I can’t believe this is happening!” I said.

IMG_20150904_160855314#1 IMG_20150904_160858921#1 We did a quick run through and Suzzanne of course was fantastic. Great presence and projection. It’s great we have someone like James on our side. He can get these amazing people to help out at the last minute. Sarah said they usually don’t use their influence to ask favors, but for this they really love us and want it to go well. At one point, I got wrapped up in putting certain narrations in their exact spots in the music, but we didn’t have enough time for that. “That’s something for the future.” Sarah said. “You guys are amazing already. It doesn’t have to be complicated.” James said hugging me. He gave me a fist bump. 🙂

Around 9, Eric, Belinda and their girls Ruby and Lou came over to make dinner with us! They’re our friends from New York and have known Thoth for years. It’s so nice to have friends! IMG_20150904_211638884 IMG_20150904_212327237IMG_20150904_213145580

Esh and Ee-ay Dress Rehearsal for James Lapine!

Thursday September 3rd 2015

What a productive day! I got up at 9:30am. James Lapine, Sarah Kernochan and Wendy Taucher were coming to watch us rehearse our opera in the dance studio at 11am. We’ve never done a rehearsal before.

I was nervous and couldn’t really catch my breath.IMG_20150903_113244943It was important everyone liked it and for James to give us helpful feedback. I was kind of surprised when he offered to help us. I mean, he’s James Lapine. I’ve known and loved the shows he directed and collaborated on with Stephen Sondheim since I was a teenager. He saw our show last year at the Vineyard and his suggestion for us to have a storyline inspired Sarah to commission us to write the opera. If he hadn’t of liked it, none of this would have ever happened! I told him that, and he said smiling, “That’s a lot of pressure.”  James has always been so kind to us in the few times we’ve interacted with him, but I never expected him to help us in a creative way.

To our relief, everyone loved it. “You should be very proud of what you’ve created.” James said. We lay down on the couch to recover and James had a great suggestion. “You need a narrator.” he said. The opera was written with the intention of having a narrator, so we were thrilled, so was Sarah. “That’s what I wanted, to make the show more theatrical.” she said. His only other suggestions were to have us on stage individually occasionally and stand in difference spaces. Once we had recovered, we went back in the dance studio to try things out with him.

Here they are, James and Sarah. 
IMG_20150903_124823418 Having a narrator will make everything easier, especially for changing costumes. James has done this a million times, and it shows. He’s really good at coming up with simple solutions to help increase a shows potency. What lucky people we are to have someone of his caliber helping us with our show. It was so trippy hearing him say, “Esh and Ee-ay.” I came up with those names. It’s like a dream come true. We’ve always wanted to stage our work professionally, and we just hope it will get bigger and bigger! Sarah was very happy for us. “I never know what he’s going to like.” Sarah said.

James and Sarah went home and at 2:30pm she came back to get me. We drove to a seamstress in Oak Bluffs who will sew my tutus for the show and got the newspaper with our picture on the front! Wow! That will help bring people to the shows this weekend!IMG_20150904_105721414

At 6, we biked to the Edgartown Lighthouse for a little holding of hands with Rose Styron’s friends from Amnesty International.
IMG_20150903_180322411 IMG_20150903_182406006 James came and filmed everything. It was funny watching him dart around taking pictures. IMG_20150903_182816875 I got a picture with Rose. She is the wife of the late William Styron (he wrote Lay Down in Darkness, The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie’s Choice) and was my mother’s godfather. Rose is considered the Queen of the Island. IMG_20150903_183140341 What a beautiful sunset. IMG_20150903_183235578 IMG_20150903_183256252 Rose invited us to dinner at Atria, which was biking distance from where we were staying. IMG_20150903_185709711 IMG_20150903_190033391We had lobster and Rose told us some amazing stories. This island is full of rich creative people. It’s so cool to be among people like these. Our lifestyle, our outfits and what we do fascinate them.

Around 11pm, our friends Eric, Belinda and their two girls Lou and Ruby came over to say hi. They came to see our show, but reserved a room for tonight and tomorrow instead of the weekend, which is when the shows are. I told them they’re welcome to stay here. There’s no one else here and it’s basically a mansion. I showed them the dance studio and heard Thoth laughing. He had gone to nap, but he got up. “Why are you on the front of a newspaper, like a famous person?” Lou asked. “I don’t know. It amazes me, too.” I said. “I think we’re going to stay an extra night to see the show.” Lou said.