Singing at the Rex!

Rex 2019 2

It’s always a treat to be asked to sing with the Tom Reynold’s Trio. They just finished a month long set of Sundays at the Rex. I got to sing from my album “Pickpockets and Loose Women”. Hopefully there will be other collaborations to come in the future!

Advertisements

Come to my wedding!!

Stage Door News

Toronto: Glass Hammer Productions presents Andrew Batten’s “The Sad Blisters” April 12-27

Friday, March 29, 2019

Serial monogamist Joanne is getting married – AGAIN.

AND she wants her sisters to wear their bridesmaid dresses from her previous weddings.

AND Aunt Sara’s been getting free samples from the bar. What could possibly go wrong?

The Sad Blisters is loosely based on the family dynamic of the playwright’s wife, Debbie Batten, who has four siblings.  One of her sisters, like Joanne in The Sad Blisters, was married three times to men with the same first name.

The Sad Blisters masterfully balances comedy and drama, with wonderfully nuanced characters and a keen understanding of the female voice.  Andrew was heavily involved in the casting of the play, the selection of the creative team and in choosing the music.  These women are funny, flawed and full of courage and heart.  You’ll be delighted emotionally by the performances of a stellar cast and you’ll also be intellectually stimulated by (both subtle and overt) references to the work of Anton Chekhov.”  – Victoria Shepherd, Director

Andrew Batten was a former playwright in residence at the Blyth Theatre.  He described himself more recently as a “reformed lawyer and recovering teacher”.  His previously produced plays include The Accelerated Theory of HotnessRomeo and RosalineThe House of the Rising SunEven As Also I Am KnownJellied Salad and Or Not To Be.  Batten was also an accomplished actor, and in the last 12 years appeared in numerous productions for Toronto groups such as Alumnae Theatre Company (Hedda GablerSylviaA Woman of No Importance), Amicus Productions (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), and Village Players (Tainted Justice).  Andrew was fond of saying that “people listen when you tell them your stories”.

Glass Hammer Productions is very proud to present the world premiere of

The Sad Blisters, which we lovingly dedicate to Andrew.

Written by Andrew BattenDirected by Victoria Shepherd.
Featuring Bonnie GrayAndrea LyonsAnne McDougall, Cate McKimEsther Thibault.
Producers: Andrew Batten, Debbie BattenTina McCulloch
Stage Manager/Lighting Design: Liz Currie
Assistant Stage Manager/Fight Captain: Jamie Fairfoull
Set Design: Alexis Chubb
Sound Design/Music: John Stuart Campbell
Fight Direction: Ryan Armstrong
Poster Design: Vic Finucci

 VENUE: The Commons Space, 587a College St. (west of Bathurst), Toronto. 

Venue is on 2nd floor and is not wheelchair accessible.

SHOWTIMES:  April 12 – 27, 2019.

Performances are Thu/Fri/Sat at 8pm; matinees Sat & Sun at 2pm.

RUNNING TIME:          Approx. 80 mins.  There is no intermission.


TICKETS:                      $20 regular; $15 student/senior/Arts Worker.

Cash only at door (reserve seats at sadblisters@gmail.com),

or purchase online at Brown Paper Tickets:  sadblisters.brownpapertickets.com 

FACEBOOK EVENT:      www.facebook.com

TWITTER:                    #SadBlistersTO

Reading for love (and money)

When I was a kid, my mom was a leader at “Pioneer Girls” (sort of like Girl Guides, but with a biblical focus). My sister and I, of course, were enrolled. My mom was the leader for the youngest group. One year there was a presentation evening.  Parents and all the other age ranges came to watch scenes prepared by each group. For my mom’s group, they were doing a shadow play of the story of Jesus bringing a young girl back from the dead (Mark 5:21-43) My mother asked me to read the story while the younger kids acted it out behind a screen. She said I was such a good reader, she wanted me to tell the story.

Little did I realize that I would spend much of my career doing exactly the same thing! They say a lot of people discover their career choices by what they chose to do for play as a child. That is certainly true for me. I love to tell stories.

2018 gave me the chance to take part in some great script reading sessions.  Cut Outs at the Assembly Theatre where I was part of the script “Mommy’s wine fest”; Radio Project X where I got to do a bunch of accents (Swedish villian; Russian space station commander to name a couple); and a few you can check out online through Wildsound

2019 looks like it might be another year of reading fantastic stories and scripts! More to come on that later!

 

Movies

I don’t get much in the way of movie work, but I have to say a Christmas movie is certainly a good way to go if you are going to get one! I did this sweet MOW in 2010 and it keeps coming back! Now you can buy it as a digital download from Amazon:

12 Dates of Christmas

My current movie is Jigsaw. I am probably only in about 2 min of the film, which I may never be able to confirm as I don’t think I could watch the full horror movie. Gives me nightmares. It was a fun shoot though! Everyone was really nice and upbeat. I guess they try and make the work environment positive so you can feel good about dying? Luckily my nephew managed to catch a screen shot of my big moment. I got to buy my wardrobe too…so I can relieve the joys of my tragic death any time I want.  Working in movies has lots of perks!jigsaw

New Headshots!

I kinda love having my picture taken. Most actors don’t. For some reason I do. Even as a child, when my mom would take 10 min adjust the camera and we were all getting impatient, as soon as the camera goes up, my face lights up. I have fun pretending to be a superstar model, or imagine I’m getting interviewed for something fabulous. So here are the photographer’s favourites (Denise Grant)

Audiobook world

So I’m trying to set up a home studio. This will be a long process of trial and error. The mic I thought was going to be great is not as great as I thought. Editing software is pretty good, but I keep forgetting how to do things! It would be so much nicer for someone to hire me to come into their studio… but I’ve waited years for that, so I’m gonna do it myself!

Taxes and Israel

I”ll have to post some pics here of my trip to Israel. It’s on my list of things to do this week. First of course though I need to finish my taxes. Ugh. I tried to prep things before the trip, so it’s not so bad. It’s still annoying. There are always little things I’ve forgotten. I”m glad I don’t go to an accountant though. I’ve never had a good experience with one. All the same work, and then I have to fork over a tonne of money for someone else to put it in the computer.  NO thanks. I’ll strain my brain a little. At least I have time to do these tasks this week. A work project got pushed back by 2 weeks, so hello free time! I can always find ways to fill that.

 

Next up … photos of my trip!

 

the project right now

I’m transferring my old VHS tapes to digital.  All performances that I have captured. Classes, student films, stage shows, vacation videos. It’s been a crazy trip to watch all of these. Who was I at these moments? Have I learned anything since then? Some tapes have held up better than others. Some make me cringe to watch. Some are forgotten treasures.
I”m also looking at my clothes, jewelry.  I wore that?  Where did those earrings go? I still wear my eyeliner the same way… is that good or bad?

Along with the nostalgia of this is some regret. I wish there was more. I wish I had done some more of my own projects so that I could build up my skills more. Guess that might be another project.

Songs and Stories

Every song on my new album “Pickpockets and Loose Women” has a story behind it. All of these songs had a huge impact on my when I first heard them, and I promised one day I would record them all. So here, for your amusement are the stories behind the songs.  Buy album now!

I Want to Be Evil;
The “newest” fascination for me. I first heard this in the movie Kinky Boots in 2005. I loved it. I mean, Eartha Kitt made it famous first, so what’s not to love? It took a long time for me to track down sheet music for it. It wasn’t until Kinky Boots the musical came around that I found it. Of course they don’t use the song in the musical… but it did spark interest in the original.

Crime Dame
This is a song from a Canadian musical called “Girls in the Gang” written by John Roby and Raymond Storey. We did a production of it in theatre school and John Roby was our Music Director. Up until this point, I had always loved jazz music, but was strictly ‘classical’ in my singing. I didn’t know how to ‘belt’. I was amazed that I was cast in the show. I spent a great deal of time figuring out how to get something that sounded jazzy, belty and strong, and not blow out my voice. When I asked John Roby if I could do this song, he gave me his blessing (and the score arrangement) but said “I’ve had a lot of people ask me if they could record my music…but no one ever has.” It has taken me 10 years to get to it, but I’ve finally done it!

 

Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love?                         

This one is from the Marilyn Monroe/ Jane Russel movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. This reminds me of my days performing with my ‘little sister’ Elizabeth Griffin at the “Big Creek Boat Farm” when we were in theatre school. Marilyn may have gotten the attention, but Jane had all the best lines! Incidentally while researching album artwork, I discovered the orginal story was from a pulp novel… much like the style of my cover!

 

 

Slowly (Langsam, immer Langsam)

This song was from an album I bought when I worked as a DJ for Radio Herz, a German language radio station. Yup, I had a brief stint as a DJ. I played jazz and music theatre (no surprise there!) I found a store on Lakeshore that had imported CD’s and I came across the Kurt Edelhagen orchestra featuring Caterina Valente singing this song. I loved the way the slowed the recording down at the end letting it get all distorted and slow. With the help of my cousin Claudia in Germany we came up with a translation of the lyrics.

An Occasional Man

I had never heard of this one before. It’s from a film called “The Girl Rush”. It’s just so summery and fun, and the girl gets to be in charge for a change.

The Masochism Tango

My first year at Theatre School I went to a recital. I was not expecting the pretty girl on stage to pull out a whip and sing this! I needed to find out all I could about Tom Lehrer after that. I’ve had the chance to perform this a few times and it’s such fun to do!

Orange Colored Sky

The Muppet Show was a big favourite of mine. In 1980 Linda Carter was the guest start and sang Orange Colored Sky. Muppets in superhero costumes were thrown at her, things exploded. It was glorious.

Fast forward a couple decades and I finally came across sheet music for this gem. What luck! I feel like it coincided with meeting my darling hubby, whose favourite colour just happens to be Orange. Let’s say that’s how it happened. This one is for him.

Why Don’t You Do Right?  

Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out in 1988. When Jessica Rabbit stuck her leg out from the curtain and sang this song, I knew I needed to find this song. I’ve sung it many times since then, but this recording definitely is the closest I’ve come to having a real Jessica Rabbit moment!

Minnie The Moocher

I used to spend a fair bit of time at the Reservoir Lounge listening to some great jazz. I’m not sure who was playing this song, but I loved the audience participation. And it’s a Betty Boop cartoon too!

 

 

 

Swinging On A Star

Well, this is the last track on the album and possibly one of the oddest ‘first hearings’ of a song. I was completely distracted by this song the first time I heard it. It was quirky and funny. I heard it in bits and pieces, sung by my about-to-be-ex-boyfriend. He explained why we could no longer be together (because I was too good for him) and then he’d sing a bit of this song while I tried to understand what his problem was.  It was certainly a memory that stuck with me.

It’s a fun song to sing… especially when you aren’t breaking up with someone during it.

Esther