Friday, April 13, 2012

12 Angry Men performed in West Jordan

So it's been too too long and I didn't want everyone to be mad at me, but that's how it goes sometimes.

I know, I wanted to update a couple of things on here... at least as far as my acting goes anyhow. I repeated my role as Jacob Marley at Hale in 2011, and will probably be back for my 3rd stint this year.

In March I got the opportunity to perform in my very first leading role in the play, 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose. I was Juror #8 (yes that's the part that Henry Fonda played in the 1957 version and Jack Lemmon played in the 1997 version.) I really enjoyed the films, but the script we used was based on the teleplay that was aired on Studio One in 1954. There is no swearing in it, you never know what most of the guys did for a living, there was no bathroom, and you never knew what ethnicity the boy on trial is.

I might be getting ahead of myself here, because there are a bunch of people who don't even know what 12 Angry Men is all about. So here's the quick version - 12 men in a Jury on a murder case, are in a jury room voting on whether or not to send a poor 19 year old boy to the electric chair after being accused of stabbing his father in the chest with a switchknife. It seems like a pretty easy call, there were two witnesses that said they saw and heard the boy kill his father, but one juror thinks that it's possible that they could be wrong.

I highly recommend seeing it, no matter what version you see. I even heard there is a Russian version of it out on DVD now. That's the only version I have yet to see at this point. That being said, my favorite version is the play. (I know, I'm probably biased, but there are just too many elements that make live theatre that much better.)

The play is written to have 3 acts, but we performed the play straight through without an intermission. I really felt it was better that way anyhow, since the total time of the show was about 80 minutes. What an amazing production it was too. From beginning to end, it was one of the most incredible experiences I've had in a play. Every single member of the cast was stellar! The first read through was something that could have been done on stage to an audience as a readers theatre and it would have been awesome! The director JC Carter, and producers Vic and Michele Groves really put a great bunch of guys together for this play. The only thing I could complain about on this production was that I wished there were more performances. We only had 6 and we sold out nearly every one. One night we had 10 empty seats, but on closing night we had to shrink the stage to fit in an extra row of chairs to fit everyone that wanted to come see it! For being a tense drama there was quite a bit of comic moments in the play, in fact one night we walked off the stage and felt like we could be nominated for comedy of the year.

We even had some great reviews. Backstage Utah said, "The standout performances belonged to Juror #8 (Anthony Lovato) and Juror #3 (Criss Rosenlof). Juror #8 is the last man standing, the only man who has reasonable doubt and shoulders the responsibility of educating the rest of the men. Mr. Lovato carries that responsibility with pride, and it shows in his performance. He found all the moments within the script where the character subtly grows and shares knowledge with others. I genuinely felt Mr. Lovato grow as an actor during this production." Utah Theatre Bloggers Association said, "I was also very impressed to see a full cast of, well, twelve men. This is not an easy show to cast for amateur groups, but there are some strong performances here. Particular standouts include Anthony L. Lovato as Juror #8, the one man who is brave enough to act on a feeling of reasonable doubt in a case everyone else sees as open and shut. Lovato’s performance is one of compassion and thoughtfulness; Juror #8 wants to do right, and I was cheering for him making hard choices all evening."

That show isn't easy if you have one really weak link. No chance to go off stage and regroup, no room for error really, everyone on that stage had to know all their lines and , pretty much, everyone elses. One mess up and we had to have someone pick up that line or figure out how to move on from there. Here is a list of those 12 other amazing Angry Men:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Christmas Carol 12/08/10

Tonight was an awesome performance! Wow what a show, we were all on our A game tonight! It was great to see so many smiling faces come out of the theatre. This is why I love theatre so much, you really get to see what kind of impact you made, we made magic happen tonight! Just to see what kind of difference you got to be a part of in changing peoples lives and's indescribable.

Chucky Dicky, thank you kind sir wherever you may be. May you rest comfortably knowing you made this possible. I am honored to hopefully do it justice. It's funny to say this, but I really am glad that I wear the black knitted gloves I wear for The Undertaker. I'd be lying if I said I didn't dab my eyes with them during the second act, but especially tonight. I'm so honored to be performing with such an amazing load of talent that we can make people forget for just a couple of hours that we're actors, and that we are really those people.

I was feeling the Spirit of Christmas tonight. How about you? If not, you really ought to find out. I hear that there are already performances that are sold out, like lots of them! Today, in fact, my boss asked me to come into her office with her and her husband (he works there in another department) to show her the best seats to buy when they come. They were on the last row of the theatre. It's pretty awesome really.

What's great about doing this many shows in such a short period of time, is you get to give it something new each night, even if it's just something really tiny that gives a bit more reality to the character, something that pulls just one more person in the audience into believing in who you are portraying. Ray Bradbury said once, "You've got to jump off cliffs all the time, and build your wings on the way down." As an actor and for this role in particular, I feel like I really do that from the moment I burst through the fireplace, and Jacob Marley is face-to-face with Ebenezer Scrooge.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

So long Porthos...You will always be with me.

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. Thank you to everyone who has been bugging me when my next post is going to be. This one's for you. A little taste of my last days of playing a role of a lifetime, and what is coming up next for this crazy life that I am so grateful for.
So long Porthos. Amazing to think that he was a real person in the 17th Century in Paris, France. He was really there at a time when he had King Louie (who was not raised by his parents to rule mind you) and Queen Anne of Austria (her father is the King of Austria for those not in the know of 17th century French History) as a ruler and employer. Porthos was basically a hired bodyguard/secret service agent that he would be willing to die for them to save their lives. What a crazy job! No wonder he used his all of his money on his wardrobe. He really lived it up and always felt that he was larger than life. I think I gave that to the Bacchus like fellow Porthos while on stage. I hope I served him well and may his memory live on in the books by Alexander Dumas. I feel like I really had a chance to be an actual Musketeer and what it would have been like to be friends with these two incredible fighters, men who would find a way to win at any cost despite their different personalities, and who made each other that much stronger/wiser/smarter/braver than if they were to do it on their own. I owe a lot to my fellow cast-mates/Musketeers ( I know, that's a lot of slashes, but here I go on the parentheticals, so better to let that go, I'm almost done with those) who went into the fray with me each night. Them and everyone else who was in my incredible cast. Mainly though I have to say thanks to Jeff Dickamore/Aramis for really bringing it each and every night. Even though we had to tell you to get it together from time to time, you were the coolest cat I've ever had the pleasure of being backstage with. Thank you my friend, I couldn't have done this thing justice without you. I am looking forward to your future successes that I know you will have.
Equal thanks to Michael Hohl/Athos for really being our leader on and off the stage. I loved going into battle with you on that stage. An incredible experience, as you said, "We're freakin' MUSKETEERS!!!" I don't think I would have enjoyed being present in every moment without those refreshing words going through my mind. It's hard not to imagine Athos, Porthos and Aramis saying that to each other every time they shared a drink. I almost thought about saying that on our final performance as we were on our way up in our second to last toast. I really felt like we were a solid unit together out there. It was a pleasure serving/acting with you gentlemen. Musketeers for life-don't you forget it guys! All for one and one for all!
I've never had so much fun backstage and onstage in all my years as an actor. I will never forget how special it was to me, I appreciate each and every one of you - yes, even you others in the T-H-S cast. I don't want to get into names, you know who you are Monte/Rochefort. You kick ass my friend. I loved your performance every night. For playing the bad guy, you were probably the nicest guy backstage. Thank you for everything. That's all I'm gonna say about those Dru Watts/Fache. (OK I'm done with the slashes now. What do you expect from someone who has been practicing with a slashing weapon for the past 8 weeks. Speaking of which...) We really made each other look good out there and keep it safe. Well, as safe as you can be swinging swords about and such. I would have to say that we had some amazing moments in our fights. Including our final two really good ones. What I'll miss the most was when we'd do our bit in fight call. It was really fun when we'd just say all the unscripted stuff. Alright, that's enough of that. I will miss it all. Porthos most of all I have to say to you, wherever you are, so long my friend, it was an honor bringing you back to life, you will always be with me.

I have other photos from this performance. The fight scenes are amazing if you look at them in sequence. If you want me to post them on my flickr account and create a link to them I'll do it, but only on demand.

So after the play ended, my wife breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I found myself face-to-face with a pile of honey-do's when I suddenly had all this time now that the play was not occupying it. I've had my hands full, but I haven't got them dirty enough. I have some house work to tend to and then I hopefully will have time to build the tree house before Summer is over. I must admit, I have also had to have some time to decompress. I had to let Porthos go and I shaved my mustache. I should have put the hairs in a box or something, but cest la vie. I had to acclimate with my two boys and my beautiful wife. I've had to get out and play at the park and show my youngest that Daddy is done being a Musketeer. I've been doing some book reading with Dante before he heads to California for the Summer Break. I also had to line my personal projects up and really decide what it is that I need to be doing with my life. I also have had the time to study up on what is going on in our country. I've been out of the loop for a bit with politics. Porthos wasn't good with political issues either, but I decided I'd better pop my head out and take a look. I'm really shocked and surprised, and I will talk more about that later.

I am currently past my bed time now, so I'd better wrap this up (for now anyway). I am...whoa. I just got really tired. Alright, I'm done with this post. Closing the computer now. I'll have to hit you with another post soon. Good night all!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Saturday performances

We only have one more Saturday performance, and it's our last one. I have to say though, there is something special about our Saturday Matinees. We always seem to have some of our best shows that day. I tend to bust out the French Accent on Saturdays, but I didn't this time. Everybody was on fire! The pacing was incredible, and it seemed like everyone brought their A game. I would even go as far as saying it was our best performance thus far!

We have such an amazing cast. I've come to the conclusion that we all just really feel comfortable around each other. We all really enjoy each others company, and it's a total blast to be around everyone. Even with people in the other cast, but especially the people in the MWF cast. I know I might be biased, but everyone is so supportive of each other, and we all can joke with each other and nobody takes offense at anything.

This is the last week of performances, and I have to say, I've really taken my wife's last comment to heart. I have been just enjoying each and every performance as it happens. I am going to miss being a Musketeer when it's over, but for now, I'm doing everything in my abilities to bring Porthos to life.

Oh one more thing about Saturday's show. Jeff is dating Ms. Utah (or at least a former Ms. Utah) and in honor of her being in the audience, all the girls wore tiaras during curtain call. The intermission show in the greenroom was especially hilarious. I'll have to get a copy of the video from Dave, or at least provide a link to it, because it was priceless and deserves some face time.

If you haven't seen the show, I strongly suggest you get your but out to the theatre. Use this link: to buy your tickets. Memorial day still has quite a few tickets left, and they're a great price. In fact my wife and a bunch of her friends are coming that night. I have a feeling that it's going to be just as good, if not better than this last Saturday performance, we're at a place now where we are all fully in tune with our characters, so every show from here to the end is going to be epic. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Only 8 performances left!

I'm starting to get bummed. Nearing the end of the run now, and I have to say that so far, I've had the time of my life. I truly love bringing Porthos to life every Monday Wednesday Friday and Saturday afternoons. So on Friday, my boss and her husband were in the audience. They both really liked it. I'm just glad I didn't know they were there, or it probably would have made me nervous. As it turned out, I had a great time out there.

I really love the stuff that goes on with our cast. We are such a tight knit group now. We all have such amazing energy and we're all so supportive of each other to get the best performance. We sing backstage, we joke on and off stage. One of my favorite jokes onstage comes in the ballroom scene. Rochefort circles around at the end of the first dance and Athos says something to him and then he busts out in kind of a hiss, "Smells like Assssholes." it's awfully hard to not laugh in that situation.

Oh I totally forgot to mention what happened on Wednesday. So we got brand new swords. that is because our swords are beat up and the strength and integrity has been compromised from all the fights up to this point. So on Wednesday during the Luxembourg I go to block an overhead slash and the sword I blocked broke in half. A huge part of the blade starts flying toward the front row of the audience and this guy in the front row raises his hands in self defense. Luckily it landed on the stage and didn't slice anybody up. It threw me off for the rest of that scene and the next one as well. It's crazy that it was a BRAND NEW sword and it broke like that.

On Saturday we had performers and Tech crew from the Cirque de Sole' in the audience. I normally like to bust out the French accent on Saturdays, but I was a little apprehensive because there were French speaking people in the audience, but the King and the Cardinal came into the wig room and they both told me to do it. I had to do it after that! It was so much fun, and I'm glad that I did. I had a blast doing it! I got a lot of good response to it. What was great is that I had 3 co-workers in the audience on Saturday, so my boss and co-workers got two totally different performances, and both groups loved it. I'm having a hard time deciding if I just want to go to the French accent for the remainder of the show. I get the most laughs when I do it. I'm for sure doing it on Memorial Day. We'll see how it goes. I should see what the rest of the cast thinks for sure though.

I can't wait to get the CD full of photos for this show. I really wish I could get a copy of it on DVD. I just want to watch it at least once.

On Monday we had another fun and fabulous performance. What I love about this show and the cast that I have the privilege to be a part of, is how well we all work together on the stage. We're not afraid to try new things, and work things out on stage as it happens in the moment. We try it and come off stage and high five and say how fun that was, or we take something that went a little wrong and turn it into something that will be totally cool the next time we do that scene. Some great stuff going on. If there was one show that would be fun to watch every night it would have to be this one because of all the little tweaks and changes to our performance. It's a true tribute to how well we all react off of each other and listen to how they are delivering it. I haven't had this much fun in a show in my whole life! Thanks to all of you guys. And thanks to all who have been supportive and came to see me in the show.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

And then there were 19

Yes folks. 19 more performances to go. It would have been 20, but they canceled one of the Friday Matinees. I'm a bit bummed about that, but there you are. The reason is because we haven't sold out the rest of the show at this point. That's pretty surprising because the feedback I've been getting in the lobby after the show has been all good. It's a fun show. What amazes me is the men who go that looked like they were dragged there by their wives, and they come out with a smile on their faces. It's a great show for men who like action films or even Westerns.

So to catch you up on the latest... Friday night went really well. I couldn't help but notice that Jeff/Aramis was using his French accent, and it was getting thicker and thicker as the show went on. I almost slipped into it myself, but I managed to hold off. After the show though, I decided that I was going French in the Saturday Matinee. I figured why not. I've already developed the character for it. I worked on it all night and the next morning, and on Saturday I let it fly! Wow what a blast! I found more parts that are funny about Porthos because of it, and Jeff and I were really playing a ton off of each other. Eden/Milady even said she liked it, and that we were like the Brownies from Willow when we were on stage together. It certainly felt good, and I was able to maintain it throughout the show. I also took the liberty of kissing Rosalie/Adele on stage in our scene. It was so funny to catch her unaware, her reaction was priceless. Allan/d'Artagnan and I had to do a little recovery because the timing was a bit off between us, but we were able to make it work, it was quite funny how we worked it out. Afterward I was just flying high. I was really proud of myself for pulling it off like I did. I didn't hear anyone complain about it, and I got quite a few compliments too.

However when I got home I started getting a bad feeling. I probably over thought it, but I was really beginning to worry that I offended people in the cast. I didn't ask for permission, (although I did announce it on Friday night in our dressing room, so the Musketeers, and Rochefort knew) and in a way, it was selfish of me. I wouldn't have done it if I didn't think I could pull it off and be believable, but still I was getting worried that someone would complain and I would hear about it on Monday.

When I got to the theatre on Monday however, I told Tammy about it and she said she didn't hear anything, and she usually hears all about what goes on. So that was a good sign. I had already decided that I wasn't going to use the French accent all the time, maybe once or twice. I have fun doing it the way that I normally do it anyhow. When we got to Greenroom before the show though, Kacey said that he noticed that some people made some minor changes and additions. I assume that some of that was aimed at me, but he didn't point me out, and he didn't say that it was horrible. Our director had said at the last dress rehearsal that it's our show now, I guess I may have taken that a little too literal, but I would have never done anything that would have ruined the show. If I didn't get a talking to, then it must have gone over alright. Who knows, the French may actually return. The kiss is definitely going to make a return, but we're going to have to work the timing out before we do that again in a performance.

Monday's performance was a blast though. After I found the laughs from playing it French, I implemented some stuff in my Standard American English accent and it went over well with the audience. My big fight scene went over really well too. Everything was crisp and on point, it had all the intent it should have had, and it was just awesome! Something happened to the stage though on Monday. It wouldn't raise or lower and the center column was all the way down. We were backstage near where we come on stage for the next scene and the stage crew started filling up the hall with the chessboard, table and stone benches. Jeff and I both wondered what was going on. They told us the stage was broken, and they would have to carry that stuff on for the last garden scene. They also had to carry off the bench and table that was currently on the stage. We lined up in the Vom waiting to run on, and the tech crew was standing right next to us ready to come on after the blackout and do their thing. It was crazy, but it couldn't have happened at a better time in the show. We only had once scene left. After we all ran off stage and the blackout occurred, we were all backstage watching the monitor as the tech crew came on and worked their magic. Those guys and gals are total studs! Unsung heroes if you ask me. They were pretty fast about it too. It was interesting doing the last scene like that, but it enabled the whole audience to see me pull out the Cardinal's nightcap and taunt him with it. It got the biggest laugh to date because of the visibility. I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm pretty sure they fixed the stage for tonight's performance. I just hope we don't have anymore issues with the stage for the rest of the run. That's the danger of relying such high-tech equipment though. Luckily it happened when it did, because it would have been a beast to do a majority of those scene changes with a broken stage.

Tomorrow is my last day doing the educational performances, (unless my double can't do them with his cast.) I'm excited! The last time we performed for the kids, it was amazing. They are the best audiences we've had so far. They really get into it, and cheer and clap. I can't wait! I'm having so much fun doing this show. I could totally play Porthos for another 60 more performances and probably still be juiced up about it every time! What's great is it's constantly changing. Right now it's just minor tweaks and adjustments, but it's all in the name of making the show better as a whole. I really love performing with Mike and Jeff. We've developed a great bond together onstage and off. It's so much fun working with those guys. I'm definitely having the time of my life!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Backstage shenanigans

So here are a few pictures from backstage. I thought you might want to see what happens during the play. In this one Charisse is removing my wig after the show, and Greg's hair is freshly de-wigged as well. In the bar scene I am supposed to yell out the name of 3 different girls that I toast to and take a huge swig off of the bottle. In the Saturday performance I toasted to Charisse and she didn't even hear it. Oh well. The other Musketeers agreed that I should take requests for names to say, so if you want your name said on stage, I'm taking suggestions, and if I actually say your name, it will cost you. We can discuss method of payment later.

Here is a picture of the ball gown I wear for the King's Birthday party. I'm dressed as a rooster. This is my favorite costume of the show, even though I don't have any lines while wearing this costume. I do however bust out a mean Mer Laison in this getup. So if you haven't seen it yet, this is yet another reason to come and see the show. The biggest problem I have with this thing is it's so long. It's set to the length of both myself and my double Matt. He's a few inches taller than me, and when I have to go up the stairs, which is a couple of times in the dances, I sometimes step on the gown. I've nearly tripped about 3 times, but I've gotten better at holding onto it while I go up the stairs. The mask is amazing with the detail, the only problem with it is, I can't breath out of my nose in this thing!

This is part of my nightly ritual, and the best part, removal of my wig. I've been growing my hair out so that I wouldn't have to wear my wig. Hopefully It'll be long enough that I can go without it the last couple of performances. I honestly think it's long enough now, but that's not how the makeup department sees it. Until then, I have to get enough metal pins put in my hair to make Pinhead jealous. When she takes them out my hair has been through pressure, heat, and sweat and comes out all sorts of funky. Almost Medusa like.
Oh and one more backstage item with Charisse...I'm standing in Vom 2 just after we rescue d'Artagnan, and she comes in to brush all our hair in place. She's standing behind me and mentions that the threat she made on my fly away hairs when she was putting it on, has worked! Then she finishes and starts to walk around me when she bumps into my scabbard that is always on my hip and says, "I'm just not good with swords."
I reply, "That's what she said."
I think Mike Hohl/Athos and I were laughing at that for a good 30 seconds. I know Allan/d'Ar and Jeff/Aramis joined in. I really love the bond we are developing back stage as Musketeers.

So I'm walking down the hall to Vom 2. I've got Rosalie/Adele on my arm as we're discussing this lovely cape I've purchased, and I'm asking her to guess what it's made out of. (I could probably write a whole piece just on that daily conversation up to now.) Anyhow, we get to the Vom and Jeff walks in and set's down his freshly filled water bottle near the prop table, and he turns and Aramis is suddenly hitting on Adele. Porthos couldn't allow that to happen, so he shoves Aramis out of the way, and curses some made up words at him. I think we were all laughing at that one until we got on stage. It was good, it made Rosalie's cheeks live up to her name.

I know there are some more, and I'll have to write them all down. Those that are in the show that read this blog, please feel free to leave one of your backstage moments in a comment.