Step Ball Change

This week has been FUN!  We started working on our choreography for the ABBA show and have been having such an amazing time whipping our show into quite a presentation.  I am so happy to be working with such talented and creative people.  And unbelievably happy to see that underneath my awkwardly long limbs and silly goofing around, I think there’s actually a happy little dancer inside.  I can actually do this stuff, you guys.  And sing at the same time, you guys.  YOU GUYS!

This week we also discovered the Caesar’s Palace swimming pool.  After a few people recommended giving this a try, we just walked right in, took towels from the front desk, smiled at the attendant, and made ourselves comfortable among the hotel guests.  This was our routine for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  So I’m getting tanner, little by little.  (In case anyone was wondering).  Other recent highlights were a Saturday night out with the Silver Wind crew, to see the Vegas! The Show at the Saxe Theater and then Penn and Teller with Peter and Anastasia on Sunday night.  Vegas! The Show was a lot of fun, and just enhanced the whole Las Vegas thing with my new friends.  It was a great night all together, with some of my new friends clueing us in on the all the little hidden Las Vegas hotspots. Penn and Teller was silly and fun – Penn was so tall, 6’7″!  I’ve been having such a great time with my cast mates.  And we’re even trying to get into shape together!  Tomorrow morning is Day 2 of my attempt at the workout “Insanity.”  I love doing it also because two of my former co-workers from The Ride are IN the video.  That’s got to be motivation right?

Now the one thing I absolutely wanted to share were some pictures from our early morning photo shoot this week at Red Rock.  It was a beautiful landscape for our group pictures, and made me want to organize a little hiking group out there to take advantage of this picturesque location.  Come on you guys, city girl needs to get her hike on!

The Silversea Cruise Cast
The Silver Wind

So there are 24 of us total, the six in the above picture are on my ship, the Silver Wind.  On the top left is Peter (my buddy from NYC and my soon-to-be-roommate on board), then Krystle from Georgia, Kathleen from Los Angeles, Jeff from Indiana, then on the bottom next to me is Paul from Los Angeles.  I LOVE my cast so much, we are going to have a great time on board.  We are all looking forward to working on our ‘songbook’ show which is featuring the music of Billy Joel.  I just placed an order for the a cappella arrangements of “And So It Goes” and “For the Longest Time” and we plan to work on those on our own time to throw them into the mix.  These guys are amazing!

Okay enough for now.  I need to get my beauty rest before an early morning Insanity session.

Above and Beyond

In case I haven’t mentioned it quite enough, the people that I am working with in Las Vegas are absolutely incredible.  Sometimes life truly throws you a curve ball, and the unexpected becomes a dark reality. This happened a few days ago, when one of our cast members lost her mother in an accident.  I can’t imagine what this person has been going through this week, dealing with service arrangements while also preparing for this new job.  The company really stepped it up by supporting her yesterday at the service, by being both physically present for her as a team of support, and then singing “Amazing Grace” while accompanied by one the cast members on guitar.  Additionally, one of the men in show sang an original song that had originally been composed for his own mother’s service, at the same funeral home.  It was so unbelievably beautiful and touching. This was obviously something no one had expected to deal with while here for rehearsals, but a great number of people were gladly there to support our new friend.  My heart goes out to her and to her family.  It was this small gesture that truly pointed to me the absolute sincerity and kindness of my fellow performers. Incredible.

Today we are back in rehearsals, working on the Motown show – let’s keep the up the momentum!

Welcome to Paradise… Paradise, Nevada

The last few days have been a whirlwind.  I don’t even know where to start.  I feel so lucky to have fallen into this lovely group of creative and talented people!  We are working so very hard on such FUN material.  And learning the details of what we can expect once aboard our ships is almost overwhelming.  I literally gasped aloud when we learned about where most of our meals will take place.  The “Officer’s Mess” is a name that sounds misleading to a novice mariner like me, because a ‘mess’ is not to be expected when you’re dining on white linen with waiter service.  Uh.  WHAT?  All luxuries aside, the group of people I’m currently working with is enough to sustain my craving for fine things.  These people are talented, smart, great musicians, and INTERESTING!  I can’t wait to see what kinds of cabaret shows each artist conceives.  Of course, they will continue to be developed after we finish our group rehearsals in mid-October, but I am eager to take inspiration and work collaboratively with my cast mates while we’re here.

To give a rundown of what we’ve been up to, we all arrived in Las Vegas (well, Paradise, really) on Sunday evening.  It was great to meet everyone as we all gossiped and chatted about what would happen the next day at our first rehearsal.  So, what happened, right?  I’ll tell you what happened.  ABBA happened.  ABBA happened hard.  Monday and Tuesday were dedicated to musical rehearsals for our ABBA show, “Abbalicious,” and damn is it fierce!  It is so fun to sing this stuff in six part harmony with one person on each part.  That’s my kind of singing, folks.  We’re working with the creative team on the vision of the show, so solos haven’t been divided out yet, but I really rediscovered my love of “The Winner Takes It All.”  Beautiful.

We powered through ABBA and finished ahead of schedule – go team!  So this morning my ship got together to drill through the set, then we had a rehearsal our musical director.  Following our lunch break, we had our first foray into “movement” – aaaiii!  It’s definitely different for me to be doing something with actual choreography, definitely a challenge, but I think I will own it in my way and it will be a lot of fun!  And then this afternoon we dove into our second show, based on Motown hits.  We are going to be having a blast doing our new jobs, to say the least.

I am so happy to be here, and I feel so blessed.  This is the perfect place for me right now.

It’s really starting

To say that I’m “excited” right now would be a bit of an understatement. I’m feeling so many things right now… excitement, nervous energy, fear, anticipation, EVERYTHING! At the time I’m writing this, I’m sitting on my flight between Oakland and Las Vegas. It was surprisingly simple to throw my things together this morning, after the most epic “Christmas” in September last night. It was not so simple to say goodbye to family and to Marcel (the obese cat). But our celebration yesterday made the transition a little smoother. We celebrated with a traditional holiday dinner, complete with a 21 pound organic turkey that we got for FREE from the amazing meat department at Whole Foods in Walnut Creek. Our ordered turkey wasn’t delivered, so they gave us a much larger, organic bird, on the house. Oma and Opa came in from Napa, Travis drove up from LA, Kyle and Amy braved the long journey from Berkeley, and even Gloria was able to make it from San Mateo. We had quite a night, and Santa even came early to me this year, delivering a brand new iPad! (He also said Happy Birthday for 2012.) What a fun night we had.

I definitely feel a great relief leaving Marcel safely in the able hands of Randy, Linda, and of course, Cal (the three month old golden retriever). But there is still an uneasy feeling in my stomach, a nice little character flaw I’ve maintained since childhood. Oh, thanks flight attendant, yes I would love pretzels and a ginger ale. Ah… That helps.

So upon my arrival in Sin City, I will be greeted by the people that hired me to sing aboard the Silver Wind for seven months. After being hired from my video submission, I hope that I make a decent first impression! I’m paired up to share a hotel room for the next month with a gal I’ve never met – it feels like I’m preparing to enter college dorm life again. I couldn’t help but make the comparison, especially with it being that time of year. Shout out to Hannah Strotman, locking it up as a new Gaucho at UCSB! We’re staying at an extended stay hotel off the strip, but somewhat near The Palms and The Rio. Not that I’m planning on doing any gambling (sorry, Dad).

Tomorrow we jump into music rehearsals. I don’t know what to expect, but I love learning and rehearsing new music, so I’m eager to get started. The company also asked me to play guitar on the ship, so I’ve got my guitar in tow and have been working to try and get those fingers calloused and back into shape. This is definitely going to be a musical boot camp for me. There are a few songs I’m interested in accompanying myself with the piano as well, so I’m looking forward to working with our musical director to come up with the best presentation we can achieve.

Peter gets in later tonight and I’m looking forward to having a celebratory glass of bubbly to mark this exciting career milestone for us. My vision of the future has changed drastically in the last two months. I would never have imagined myself in this place, it was a lucky happenstance. The right time, the right opportunity, the right people. This couldn’t be more perfect and I couldn’t be more grateful.