Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brought To You By Cadbury Chocolate Mini Eggs

Rehearsal Day 7: Music Tuesday 2

For a rehearsal that started with chaos and confusion, the work the cast brought to the table tonight completely made up for it.

First up, Jake Autizen (Bear) and Maddy Chilese (Autumn) worked through the love ballad "Sharing My Time With You." When writing this, Krall and Zagoren were very inspired by "Barcelona" by Freddie Mercury.
Not only was this the first time of working through this particular song, it was also the first night the cast got to hear the final drum recordings from Monday's marathon with Joe. The tracks sound fantastic and will only get better from here on out. Well done, Mr. Griffin! During my commute to and from rehearsals, I listen to the demo tracks which have all the vocals done by Dan and Josh. It's fantastic to hear the actors who will be performing the songs in the show not only bring their own vocal flair to it, but bring so many quirks and bits to the pieces. Jake and Maddy did a wonderful job singing the praises of Wisconsin and love. When we work it again next week, we'll be layering Cyra Polizzi into the song as well with some beautiful Spanish lyrics.
"My dreams are your dreams, and your dreams are grand."

After Jake and Maddy, Danelle Wildermuth arrived to rock out "What I Want" which takes its cues from The Ramones with a twist of Joan Jett. Very curious to hear how girl-next-door Danelle was going to handle this punk-esque song, we cranked the music track and just let her roll.
And boy howdy, did she!
The group of us sitting in the room had to grab Carla's spatulas from the fight scene and scrape our jaws off the floor. Danelle nailed the screaming, poppy sound through the whole song about less than innocent things. As much as I would have loved to post a video preview, this is something you just have to see live. Plus, we wouldn't want to give the whole show away!

Squids was on the schedule again, but after Eli's supreme Angela Bassett style freakout the night before, we switched it up and wrapped up the night with the song that wraps up the show. "Hero Reprise" is, well, the reprise of the "Hero Song" that is sung at the beginning of the show by Carla and the rest of the Regulars. For this round, Ashley Wint (Sunny) takes over and her fellow servers join in as it goes on. Will they fight? Or just give up and have a rooftop party?

"Though our minds have turned to goo,
And our hearts are broke in two,
Our model train has come unglued.
We'll all go get tattoos..."

Tonight's schedule reviews many of the things we've worked on the past two weeks, including work with Danelle and Derek as well as Ashley and Eli. Finishing up rehearsal will be a brand new tidbit to hold us over for the weekend. Bryan Campbell's character, Simon, sings "Rally Song For One" when the shit really hits the fan. This song has become my staple bad traffic song. As I drive from the southwest suburbs, I hit traffic every day. Belting this song to myself helps me feel like a rockstar and controls some of the road rage - it's just too much fun! Plus, it will get those of us still around at the end of the day pumped up for $1 burgers at Redmond's post-rehearsal. Mmmm burgers.

There's Babies Ridin' Ostriches All Over Town!

Rehearsal Day 6: The Squids Are Comin'!

We worked Eli Branson to the bone last night! Eli's character, Anthony, has a major breakdown during the show in true Vietnam War freak-out mode. The song he sings, "The Squids Are Comin'" is The Doors meets CCR and Dan and Josh have been drooling over it since they wrote it. Dan Krall was able to come and sit in on rehearsal last night and he loved seeing his favorite song get wigged out by Eli.
You ever see a frog in a microwave?

After we all bugged out and intern brought us coffee, Ashley Wint joined us to block out a scene between Sunny and Anthony where they bond in the most catty way possible. Ms. Wint taught us that sometimes, the funnies thing you can do is to put the wrong emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble.

Looking back at the pictures I take during rehearsal, I love seeing what Derek is doing with his facial expressions. Hank is the observer, and much of his character must be portrayed through his face and body rather than words. Last night's faces were brought to you by the imaginiary funky gum flavors of red lint, lemon pine scent, and tasty pencil shavings. Maybe the squids got to us a little too much, come to think of it...

Tuesday night is music night, and we begin work on "Sharing My Time With You", which is inspired by Freddy Mercury's "Barcelona"; Molly's Song which is very Ramones-esque, the Hero Song Reprise, and more Squid action.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Rehearsal Day 5: Stage Combat Sunday

Back again with Beau Forbes, but this time we were getting into one of the large fights in the show. Not the EPIC boss battle that will come, but still just as fun. In this scene, Autumn and Denise have discovered something about Molly that drives them into having no other recourse but to attack her with pitchers and spatulas.
Beau works with Carla on her spatulas.

Here's a sneak preview:
Once it's up to full speed, it will be intense! And I would stay away from Carla when she has spatulas in her hands...

Once the ladies had finished, some of the gents joined us as we worked he scene leading up to the fight.
"It's a cry out to the gods."

Eli Branson (Anthony) ponders.

Chris Jacobs also stopped by to chat about some of the marketing strategies for the show. The big push is word of mouth, and I agree with that completely. Every show (ours included) does postcards and posters, but that seems to get filtered out to a large degree when out in public. Spreading the word to friends and co-workers has been the engine behind the success of Hobo Junction's audience attendance. And hey, blog readers, you can help out, too! Pass along the link to the blog or to the Junction's website. The work with "The Regulars" is only going to get more intense and come together into an even tighter show. Help us make it that much better by spreading the word around Chicago. (Or Iowa for that matter, we'll be there in July!)

Time seems to be flying by. We're already in the second week of rehearsals, April is on the doorstep, and May is down the street! We have gotten many things under our belts, but there is still so much more to do. Lots more blocking tonight. Josh and Dan will be working all day today on recording the final drum tracks with Joe Griffin. Keep on following, folks, it's going to be a wild ride!
Danelle Wildermuth (Molly) and Derek Elstro (Hank) are swooning over the show!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Does Anybody Here Remember Miriam?

After battles with Blogspot and Facebook, YouTube turned out to be the one who could handle the video of "Miriam." Enjoy this sneak preview of the music of "The Regulars" as performed by the composers, Dan Krall and Josh Zagoren.

And Happy World Theatre Day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Eating Krispy Kremes Instead of Living Out Her Dreams

Dan Krall and Josh met today to tweak the drum tracks for the recorded music for the show and record the final song demo to be orchestrated. Joe Griffin has been hard at work orchestrating the tracks Josh and Dan have laid down. I was lucky enough to sneak in ninja-like and snap some photos.
Coffee keeps Krall going

Reviewing previous recordings

While these two were jamming in the living room of Zag-End, I retreated to the kitchen to work on prop lists, schedules, emails, and other Stage Manager meets Tech Director duties. Soon, the boys came rushing in and informed me they were going to perform "Miriam" live for me. And now, you get to enjoy it as well. Check out Hobo Junction's Facebook page for video.

Question: What are YOU doing for World Theatre Day this Saturday, March 27?

EDIT: Apparently, the video of "Miriam" is too awesome for the internet to accept at this time. When it IS uploaded (and oh, it will be), you will be the first to know!

"She's Got That New Girl Smell"

Rehearsal Day 4: End of Week One

One week down, only five to go! Tonight we tackled the blocking for the scene including the "New Girl" song, where we meet Denise the manager and also get to hear Hank sing for the first time; we saw what happens to the crew when their reserves of ketchup and sugar run out; and also heard Simon's argument of innocence.

We had (nearly) the whole cast present which helped us work out one of our largest obstacles - the confines of the Apollo Studio. With eight characters, the stage gets very crowded very quickly. However, it does nothing but help the graphic novel concept, as all the action needs to fit into a frame and create a picture the audience can see and follow. A lot of the direction of the show is going towards over the top, melodramatic, and even stylized movements that almost brought Josh and I to tears with laughter this evening. Carla had some great line deliveries as Denise, and Bryan threw some great physical comedy in while trying to control boxes and a hand truck named Dolly.
Josh directs Derek during his solo of "The New Girl"

Jake Autizen (Bear) takes notes. You can see Dolly in the left hand corner. She's pretty special.

Simon pleads his case to Autumn. Bear is down.

What do we do now?

See you all in a few days for Stage Combat Sunday!

But before I go, here's a shameless plug for another company. Check out WildClaw's production of William Peter Blatty's "LEGION," featuring the director of "The Regulars" Josh Zagoren.
Find the details...here.
(And if you go this coming Saturday, you may be able to spot some "Regular" people there)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Just Let It Be An Eagle"

Rehearsal Day 3: Music Tuesday in The Bunker

We kicked off this evening's festivities with snapping some more production photos
We then progressed on to the meat of what will be our usual Tuesday rehearsal as well as the show: the music. We tackled three songs this evening: "The Billy Bar", "The New Girl", and "Hero."

Josh leading the cast through some warm-ups before they used their "power pipes" to rock out Zag-End.
Bryan Campbell singing "The Billy Bar," a song detailing the ultimate dive bar where The Regulars retire to after a long night at The Laconia Steakhouse. Giggles and gut-busting laughter ensued from Dan Krall and Josh's lyrics. "The New Girl" gave Derek a chance to shine and show off some of the Hank character he worked on at rehearsal last night. During "Hero," Carla rocked out her solos, and is backed up by Eli Branson, Maddy Chilese, and Jake Autizen. One lesson we all learned from "Hero" and the cast feels that you should know is: "you should let an eagle be an eagle."

Tomorrow we have the whole cast come together for blocking of some of the larger scenes before we wrap up for this first week, including blocking the songs we worked tonight. Look for some videos tomorrow to go along with the usual pictures. They will be epic.

Monday, March 22, 2010

"You Have the Eye of the Eagle and the Speed of the Cheetah...You're a Cheagle"

Rehearsal Day 2: Work with Danelle and Derek on Molly and Hank
Day 2 was Day 1 of blocking, focusing on scenes between Derek Elstro and Danelle Wildermuth, who play Hank and Molly in the show. Hank works the supply line, and Molly is the new recruit at the Laconia Steakhouse.

One of the key concepts that has developed for the show over the past few weeks is making the show look and feel like a graphic novel. Seeing as the original version of the show was a satire of 300, I find it pretty fitting. Josh ran that conceptual idea past me a few weeks ago in reference to the set design, and it really struck a good chord. The action is set up very much like a graphic novel, and the potential for epic stage pictures are going to pop up all over the place.

Tomorrow is our first music rehearsal, in which we will be working on "Billy Bar", an ode to dive bars everywhere; "New Girl", about Molly's arrival at the restaurant; and "Everyone Needs A Hero Sometimes." The full cast will once again be together for that rocking and it will be fun to hear Bryan Campbell, Derek Elstro, and Carla Kessler rock out their solos.

And Here....We....Go!

Day one of rehearsal is done and in the record books!

After starting this snowball rolling back in December, it felt great to finally be in the rehearsal room and get these characters on their feet. The show is going to be nothing but intense, high-stakes energy, so I found it pretty fitting that the very first thing we covered was stage combat. Beau laid the foundation for all the crazy conflicts he is planning for the show, plus the cast had a great time beating each other up.

Bryan is about to let Derek have it. Ashley is in awe.

Carla gave Eli a piece of her mind, Ashley's thinking about doing the same to Danelle.

Thanks to some quick camera skills, I was able to capture the most epic moment of the night on video. I believe Josh's description of it was "magical":

And Josh's reaction.

After Beau slogged through his teaching with a killer toothache but a great attitude, scripts were distributed along with highlighters and we began our first read-through of the script since the beginning of February. Instead of the standard table read, Josh had the cast do a standing read. There were lots of great ideas and moments that came out of it and I'm thrilled to see the characters I've been staring at on paper come to life.

Stay tuned for tonight's rehearsal blog!

Oh, oh! Wait! Before you go...since you're on the internet anyway, our lovely webmistress Breahan has updated the Hobo Junction website and you should check it out!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Calm Between The Storms

Patty McHobo's has come and gone, and rehearsals are imminent!

Wednesday evening kicked off with something I personally have never done before - having headshots taken. Official Sister of the Junction, Sarahflo obliged me in snapping some photos so I could have a pretty one for the new Hobo Junction website design. You will soon be able to find the entire creative team's photos and bios on the site, courtesy of Ms. Breahan Pautsch, the lovely webmistress of HJ.

After our mini-photo shoot, it was off to pick up the lovely Vallery Dolls and her fancy keyboard to transport to The Spot. Val did a fantastic job opening the show and was soon joined by the one and only Chad from "CRASH PAD" (see YouTube link in the sidebar). Chad and Vallery were our MCs for the evening's talent show, which was filled with everything from dollars inside of lemons to Storytime with Beau to dances with pillows. Needless to say, a good time was had by all, and many of us stayed for some karaoke. (Val - thanks for pulling me up onstage for dancing!)

With the FUNdraiser done, we now look forward to the meat of the process....rehearsals! Spent a good chunk of time at Office Max this evening copying Draft 6 of the script, which will be our working version, and re-stocking my supply of pencils, highlighters, etc. I am truly a nerd, because a trip to Office Max for me is like a trip to Toys R Us for a three year old. I was able to contain myself for the most part. I couldn't resist the scented highlighters.

Look for more to come, as well as more frequent posts, after Sunday! On the agenda is Stage Combat Sunday with Beau Forbes. He gave me some more insights into his ideas when we chatted on Wednesday at the benefit and I am excited to see these visions become reality. This Sunday will be laying the basic skills/ground rules/techniques so in the following weeks things can get crazy! Once Beau has worked his magic for the week, we will have our first cast reading since February 11 and the first reading of this version of the script. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It's tomorrow!
Are you ready?
I am!

...and so is Z-Bot!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Like me, I'm sure many of you receive emails from concert promoters and ticket services on a weekly basis. I have to say I'm generally guilty of just deleting the email after I take a quick browse at some of the headliners. However, I received my weekly TicketMaster email today, and decided just for fun to see what was coming up. Lo and behold, HOBO JUNCTION: THE REGULARS was on the front page! Tickets go on sale tomorrow through TicketMaster for the run of the show, which is May 7-June 13. They're priced at $15. My advice? Give the Apollo box office a call. They're good folk and very chatty. Their number is (773)935-6100. Get 'em before your friends! Then you can say you were in from the start! Of course, for those of us who prefer clicking a button to dialing a phone, TicketMaster is always an option!

So, just to recap...
Tickets for THE REGULARS
On Sale March 12, 2010!
or through TicketMaster

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

'Cause We Find Ourselves In The Same Old Mess...

Have you submitted your talent to hobojunction@sbcglobal.net yet? No?! What are you waiting for? It will be the place to be on St. Patrick's Day in Chicago!
Come join the Hobo Junction crew and cast of The Regulars!

Monday, March 8, 2010

"It's a collaboration between handsome gifted people and sickly little mole people."

To me it seems to be the calm before the storm right now...Patty O'Hobo's is in a week, rehearsals begin in two, we open in seven. Hmmm...seeing those numbers laid out damages my calm a bit, but things are well under control. The revision of Act 3 should be coming across my Gmail from Mr. Zagoren within a few hours, the rehearsal schedule will likewise trickle out to the actors once I have that in my possession. I did mention a calm right now, but that's not completely true. We've all been working like crazy (because we are). Josh has been writing music and revising the script, C-Rex has been coming up with new and exciting ways to market the show, the actors were out promoting this weekend while on their various social appointments, and Beau Forbes is amping up for some fight choreography that I can only hope will rival every Zelda boss I have ever come up against on my Nintendo.

Spent the day in the city yesterday, with mostly a social agenda but because of how I operate, I managed to get some work slipped in alongside. Had a lovely brunch with a couple of the cast members and their significant others, went book shopping at Borders (always a danger for me), then met up with Josh and Andrew. Andrew designed the set and was the Tech Director for Horrible, and I wanted to show him my concepts for the set and have him give me his thoughts. As Andrew whipped up some delicious jambalaya, we talked about the conceptual ideas as well as the construction realities of the set and space of the Apollo Studio. Andrew had some great advice and I feel much more confident moving forward with the plan now.

After the work was finished, a whole bunch of people crammed into Andrew's apartment to watch the Oscars. And by watch, I mean rip to shreds. It was quite easily the Windy City's version of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 goes to the Oscars. We were all pulling for Kathryn Bigelow to win, as she brought us that fabulous masterpiece POINT BREAK! Glad there was some NPH action and was thrilled with Tom Hanks's presentation of the Best Picture Oscar. Open the envelope and just read it! And although all the Dude wanted was his rug back, I hope the Oscar is a pretty decent consolation prize.

Has anyone figured out who the crazy woman in purple was?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Finding the Corner Pieces

Well, Pre-Production as "officially" begun! We've had our designer meeting, much excitement came from that. And yesterday, the cast received Act 1 as well as all the songs for the show. It feels like I've been working on things for this show for quite a while now and still have a ways to go. That was until I sat down and started working on the rehearsal schedule today. Not so much time left now! We begin rehearsals March 21. Yes, there was a long break between casting and rehearsals, but never fear there is still much work being done! Josh is plugging away having amazing character meetings with each actor. So far (correct me if I'm wrong folks), he's met with Bryan about "Simon", Maddy about "Autumn", Danelle about "Molly", and Ashley about "Sunny." Everyone else should be meeting with Herr Director in the next week or so. Also heard from Beau Forbes, our esteemed Fight Choreographer today and he's got some amazingness in the works for this production. But then again, what fight using restaurant equipment isn't amazing?

So I have begun work on the rehearsal schedule now that everyone has submitted their conflicts to me and we have a working draft of the script. It's like one big jigsaw puzzle, fitting in people when they're available, using up all the time we have (and sometimes more).

Again, off-topic of The Regulars, I attended The Chicago Fringe Fest's Lottery on Sunday night. It was pretty amazing, you should feel bad about missing it. I took Bryan and Maddy along with me to see what we could see. Met some great folks, drank some delicious hot cocoa with homemade blue marshmallows (sorry they weren't pink, Bry), and was entertained by the one and only VALLERY DOLLZ who we all know and love. Luke, you organized a fabulous event. Wish the three of us could have made it to the after-lottery events, but IHOP late night pancakes were just too darn tempting, as was a warm and cozy bed. Once I returned home to my cozy bed in Joliet on Monday morning (thank you, Casimir Pulaski), I didn't do much to move out of it. I think I'm finally on the downhill end of this cold, and will once again be able to use my full brainpower, un-addled by Day-Quil and other such cold medicines. Until then, this is Hopper-Chopper signing off.