Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Blog 119!!! ORLAAAAANDO!!!

Hey Everyone,

Happy Thursday 
(It's probably not a Thursday when I end up posting this but that's how I used to start my blog when I wrote it weekly so it feels natural……it's actually Tuesday when I am writing this…..3.16pm if you want specifics!!!) 

I am sitting in my hotel apartment in Orlando, Florida waiting for my rental car to be delivered so that I can go exploring so I thought that in the meantime  I would write a little blog since it's been months since my last post. Holy swear word, I just checked and my last post was in February!!! Jeez! 

There is so much to catch up on that I don't really know where to start. I suppose I already did start…… so I'm gonna carry on by saying how excited I am to be opening The Book Of Mormon in Orlando TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!! 

For those of you who haven't seen the show and know nothing about it. The story follows two young mormon missionaries who are complete polar opposites to each other. I play Elder Price who is the perfect mormon in every sense according to himself and everyone around him, he can do no wrong and deserves nothing but the best. Elder Price had dreamed his whole life (or since the age of 9 at least) of spending his two year mormon mission in Orlando, Florida because it's just as perfect as he is. He wanted to arrive there with the perfect mission companion, and spend an amazing two years doing what he can to change the human race for the better through Mormonism. 

Well… he is paired with Elder Cunningham, who I would describe as a socially inept, Star Wars / Lord Of The Rings fanatic who has no clue about the Mormon religion and just wants a new best friend - in our production Elder Cunningham is played by the comedy genius that is Chris O'Neill (Christopher John O'Neill if you want to be formal) who has become a very good friend of mine and who I adore working with! (Most of the time - I only write that incase he randomly reads this and tries to inflate his ego!)  
Price and Cunningham are sent to Uganda in Africa on their mission, which is, of course about as much of a contrast to Orlando as you can get - The audience follows the tale of everything that happens to them during their trip and without revealing too much to those who are yet to see the show, it is has a very surprising and satisfying ending full of warmth, heart and joy with a very uplifting positive message! 

So as you can imagine, it's gonna be crazy here in Orlando to be making so many references about the city we are actually playing in.

I think you can tell…..I'm EXCITEEEEEEED!!!! 

So….. life in general - My life IS the show most of the time which is a great thing (but believe me we have a lot of fun too!)
I have been in America now not far off 12 months and I love it here. I of course miss the UK and all my friends and family but being over here this year has enabled me to visit some amazing places - some of which i would never think of visiting were it not for this job taking me there and I have really made an effort to experience these places properly. Just to give you an idea of where I've been in America thus far, take a look at this list

San Francisco (5 weeks)
Portland (1 week)
Seattle  (2 weeks)
Des Moines (2 weeks)
Minneapolis  (2 weeks)
St. Louis  (2 weeks)
Rochester  (2 weeks)
Detroit  (2 weeks)
Pittsburgh  (2 weeks)
Boston (3 weeks)
Cheeky few days in New York City here.
Toronto, Canada (6 weeks)
Buffalo (1 week)
Cleveland (2 weeks)
Flew home to the UK for a week!
Washington DC (6 weeks)
Another cheeky few days in New York City here.
Dallas  (2 weeks)
Houston  (2 weeks)
San Antonio  (2 weeks)
Austin  (2 weeks)
Flew to LA for a week of vacation from the show!
New Orleans  (2 weeks)
Orlando  (2 weeks)

We then move on to do a couple of weeks in Tampa and then the show plays in Fort Lauderdale for 4 weeks, of which I'm only doing three as I head back to the UK for a week on December 16th to see my family just before Christmas.

I have to say, writing that list was a little indulgent on my behalf but it was actually more for me to have a think back over the tour schedule, than for your enjoyment haha. This tour moves so quickly that we very rarely take the time to think back over everywhere we have been. I have agreed to stay with the show through to next summer too so there's a whole lot more to come.

People always ask me what my favourite city has been. I have enjoyed so many places. I loved Boston, what a great place - we were there during the time of the tragic marathon bombings, but what was great was seeing an incredible community come together to stand 'strong and proud' against violence! We head back to Boston again in the spring of 2014 which I'm looking forward to.
I also liked Toronto as we got to settle for 6 weeks. There's lots of cool stuff to do there , my family visited for a week and we did Niagara Falls and all the touristy stuff which was awesome.
I loved Washington DC just because it's such an incredible place. It's like being in a film because everything is so familiar. The First Lady, Michelle Obama watched the show too which was cool. 
Dallas had some of the best audiences we've had throughout the whole year and I really liked it as a city. 
New Orleans was probably the coolest place we've been to and I'm sure all of you who have been there will agree. The live music and food and drink and atmosphere in general is in a purely unique league of it's own. However two weeks was more than enough there for now. I am on a strict detox since being there, ha.
Having pointed out a few favourites I have to say that I did enjoy ALL of the places we vis……well, almost all of the places we visited - Yup, I'm not that nice - without naming names there was one place I would not choose to go back to in this lifetime but we made the most of our time there regardless and I'll let you decide for yourselves where it might have been. :-)

So I feel like I have just summed up my travels of 2013 as much as possible in a nutshell. 

Many people ask when I am coming home and when I'll next be performing in the UK…… I'll be home for a week in December but I have decided not to do any concerts i've been invited to perform at because I want a week with my family and friends away from working. So I'm not sure when I'm going to be performing in the UK. However, Louise Dearman and I are writing a theatre advice book together at the moment which will be published in early 2014 and released in the spring, so at some point I will be back doing some promotion for the book with Louise and I'm sure we can work out that I do a little singing somewhere while I'm there. :-) 

I want to thank all of you who submitted questions for our book 'The Secrets Of Stage Success' - we've had some really great stuff sent in and a large variety of questions which is exactly what we wanted so we can cover as many aspects of the entertainment industry as we can with any advice we feel may be useful and interesting.

I have to say, so much has happened in my life in the past 12 months that I find myself quite often having to take a second to put everything in perspective. I'm not just talking about doing this awesome job in America, which is of course great but more the fact that this year more than any other has proved to me that we really don't know what life is gonna throw at us. 

Just over 12 months ago I had just finished in Ghost The Musical having had an amazing time playing a great role in an incredible show. I was performing 'Ultimate Broadway' in Shanghai, China and while I was there we were negotiating an offer I'd had to go to America with The Book Of Mormon. I agreed to do it for only 6 months and no longer incase I didn't enjoy being so far away and was convinced I'd be heading back to the UK on July 1st of this year grateful for the job and ready for what was next. 
I never thought that 12 months from that point I will have agreed to stay for a THIRD 6 month contract and be loving life in America, having made some amazing friends through my job and on my travels and having learnt so much more about myself than ever before. 
I have always been an independent guy but when you're on the other side of the world from your usual support system it means you really are left to your own devices a lot of the time so I'm even more independent now than ever.

Also when I was in London I always found myself taking on too many things (which you can clearly see I'm sure if you read through some of my older blog posts when I used to post them weekly) and now I have my one job and other than the book, I'm doing nothing else and life is a lot more enjoyable and manageable - not that I didn't enjoy life before of course, I loved it, but I find myself able to unwind a lot more than ever and that is definitely a good thing and very much a necessity when playing a role as demanding as Elder Kevin Price!!!

I am excited to write a blog in late 2014 to see what has happened in life by that point!!! No one knows what's going to happen in the future and that excites me!

I'm so grateful to all of you reading this for your support and loyalty especially my UK followers for sticking with me and still being interested in everything I'm doing even though I'm on the other side of the planet and I promise you that although I don't have any set plans yet, I will be back to perform in the UK before you know it! 

My main reason for wanting to post this blog was to spread a little positivity the way I feel my blogs used to. 
I get many young guys at the stage door of the theatres I've played this year saying that Elder Price is a dream role of theirs,
My message to any aspiring performers is that it's great to admire people's performances, or their careers or their voices or acting talents or dance ability or whatever you may admire, but I want you to know that whoever you feel inspired by, you should not consider them better than yourselves just because they are doing something you would like to do.  I happen to be in the right time in my life to be able to play this character right now but I used to look at people the same way when I was younger and wish that I could one day play roles like this! Well now I'm doing it, and one day I'll be far too old and will be auditioning to play the father of those boys who I met at the stage door! 
Basically, what I'm saying is, if you want to get something done in life and I'm not just talking about performing, I mean anything -  fully commit to it, have faith in yourself and your abilities and don't stop until it happens, and I'm telling you that if you want it enough, you will get it!!! 
It's always an honour (or honor if you're American, ha) to be considered an inspiration and I love receiving messages and tweets from people telling me of their accomplishments! Hard work and discipline will take you where you want to go.

Thanks for reading! I won't leave it another 8 months before the next one i promise!

Sending love to wherever you are from a glorious sunny day in Orlando.

I used to finish my blogs with the word 'Believe' when I was in Ghost so now that I'm in The Book Of Mormon……..

'I Believe'



PS - Many people are asking about dates and cities I'll be performing at next year. Here's the list:

Charlotte, NC, Dec 26th - Jan 5th
Cincinnati, OH, Jan 6th - Jan 26th
Atlanta, GA, Jan 27th - Feb 9th
Durham, NC, Feb 10th - Feb 23rd
Baltimore, MD, Feb 24th - Mar 9th
Schenectady, NY, Mar 10th - Mar 16th
Hartford, CT, Mar 17th - Mar 30th
Boston, MA, Mar 31st - Apr 27th 
Providence, RI, Apr 28th - May 11th
Columbus, OH, May 12th - May 25th
Louisville, KY, May 26th - Jun 8th
East Lansing, MI, Jun 9th - Jun 15th
Indianapolis, IN, Jun 16th - Jun 22nd
Memphis, TN, Jun 23rd - June 29th

PPS It's now wednesday and i'm about to post this on the site - FYI, the first crowd in Orlando last night we're INSANELY GOOD! :-)

Friday, 15 February 2013

BLOG 118!!! Question...Tell ME what you think about...

Hi Everyone,

So a few of you suggested I do a new BLOG but just literally answer questions that have been tweeted to me recently.

So here goes:

@MarkHEvans: Would you consider doing your album tour in schools and if so would you come to mine?
I would consider it! ….and yes, should I get on official invitation I would come to your school. Can't see a schools tour happening anytime soon though to be honest.

@MarkHEvans: How do you travel from one venue to another around America?
The crew will leave almost immediately after they have done the load out of whatever city we've just finished in and then they'll get to the new city as soon as possible to do the load in! They work a lot harder than us actors! Ha. 
We, the cast, will be picked up from a central hotel location on our travel day (usual a Monday) and either be driven to the next city if it's within reasonable driving distance or we'll be driven to the airport where we'll fly. Yes, all of us, on the same flight! I too feel sorry for the other passengers! It gets quite loud and obnoxious! But we love it! We're very well looked after by our management company!

@MarkHEvans: What made you decide to go to America? (Come back to the UK soon, our theatres miss you)
That's sweet, thanks. I miss the UK too. 
My decision to head to America was because I have wanted to work over here for a long time. I wanted to experience any differences between the work ethic and how shows are run here, I wanted to work with more American people and wanted to travel the US. This is the perfect show to travel with because I'm getting to experience amazing US audiences, the cast and company are fantastic and this show is an absolute pleasure to perform 8 times a week! 
Fear not though, the UK, and Wales in particular will always be my home and I shall be there again performing before you know it.

@MarkHEvans: Are you planning on doing another CD after being in BOM? :) x
I'm going to release a 'Songs of America' album and duet with, Dolly Parton, Kelly Clarkson and Lorna Luft. ok?
I jest of course! - There are plans for more recording work to be done in the future but not for a little while yet.

@MarkHEvans: Who's your favourite friend's friend? Sophie/Laura/Nick?
This was sent in by Nick who is a friend of my mate Callum. The answer is - anyone but Nick!

@MarkHEvans: Have you ever felt like giving up? How did you recover? I'd love to be on the west end some day, but sometimes it seems impossible.
WOW, Ok well I could write a novel as a response to this. There have been MANY times I have felt up against it in life and my career. 
The only song on my album that I wrote the lyrics to explains all of that perfectly - 'Keep On Believing' (you can listen to it for free on my website
All you have to do is find a way of switching your brain into a more positive mode. You have to focus on everything that makes you feel good about yourself and not dwell on the things that get you down. You have to have faith in yourself and if you have the talent and ambition you WILL succeed, even if it doesn't happen as rapidly or quickly as you like. 
All people see in a professional actor's biography, CV or resume is all the amazing jobs they have done - you never get to see the list of amazing jobs they wanted to do but didn't get after auditioning for them! We all suffer rejection, it's part of life, part of this industry and it's what makes us strong and grateful when the good stuff happens! KEEP ON BELIEVING!!! Good luck!

@MarkHEvans: What are you missing most about the UK?!! x ps Hope your well xx
Thanks for your well wishes. I am very well thanks. I of course miss my family and friends immensely, but this morning I had a real craving for pasta from one of my favourite restaurants Vapianos just off Oxford Street and it made me homesick! AND REALLY FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WANT PASTA!!!!!!!

@MarkHEvans: Any funny bloopers on stage since you've been in the USA? 
Oh yes of course. We're talking about ME here!!! I have made up some script - cos apparently in those moments I didn't think the award winning writers of this show Trey, Matt & Bobby had done a good enough job! 
I also sang one of the funniest lyrics in my biggest song 'I Believe' TWICE!…..and that, my friends is how to ruin a punchline!!! Cut to audience member in seat H17  "….ha ha ha oh no wait, he already said that, right? It's not funny enough to be sang twice!' ……I KNOW - I HAD A MENTAL BLANK ALRIGHT??????? JEEZ!

@MarkHEvans: Out of every role you've played who do you think is most like you? 
Good question. I suppose they've all been quite similar because they've all been tall!
I'm hard working and disciplined like Elder Price! 
On a five show weekend I sometimes feel as dead as Sam Wheat! 
In the cold weather I wear what sometimes look like Fiyero's jodhpurs under my jeans.
And I can sometimes be caught spontaneously riding an invisible horse like Curly Mclain in the Oklahoma dream ballet around the cities of America.
I have a deep affection for every charter i've played and am grateful to have had a real variety in my career thus far!!! 

@MarkHEvans: Keep up the awesome smiles! They truly reach the crowd! 
That's not a question, but thanks! (said with a smile)

@MarkHEvans: Since joining BoM, what's happened that u didn't expect? Like aud reaction, weird Qs from press, changes in ur performance, etc?
Well one unexpected thing was that the audiences seem to like what I'm doing! I had the classic actor anxiety before joining this show thinking "this show is hugely successful but I'm going to go into it, there won't be any laughs, the audience will throw things and I'll close the show two weeks after my opening night!" 
I had a chat with Gavin Creel who I took over from - one of the most gracious, kind and generous leading men I have the pleasure of knowing! - and he said he felt the same way (well slightly anxious, not quite as specific as my description.)
The amazing thing about this show is how well it's written. I could go on that stage and deliver the lines in any way I felt appropriate - hanging upside-down whilst trying to can-can on a pogo stick? - and as long as whatever I say is sincere and meant with complete truth then the audience will get it and appreciate it. I don't have to be funny, what I'm saying is funny which makes my job a lot easier!!! 
I do find that the audiences react differently as a collective in every new city we go to which is really interesting and really fun. Some places might find a certain line really hilarious but somewhere else might find the same line really offensive and you just hear "oooooooooh" before they laugh and that's really exciting and enjoyable!

@MarkHEvans: What made you decide to do theatre as a career? Did you go to college for it?
I never knew I could do it professionally, it was always a hobby from when I was 10 but then I found myself auditioning for a college in Preston, Lancashire when I was leaving high school, where I studied dance for a year before training for three years at the musical theatre college Laine Theatre Arts near London. There's a lot more of my background info on my new wikipedia page if you want to check it out.

@MarkHEvans: How long are you going to be a Mormon, will you come to London once you've finished ;)
Despite rumours and people's assumptions I am currently playing Elder Price here until the summer and that is all I'm doing at this stage. Ask the internet, and I'm dong it all over the world for the next 27 years of my life. Who do YOU believe? Me or the internet? 

@MarkHEvans: What's it been like touring the US? What's been your favourite city so far? and where are you looking forward to going? 
I love touring the US. This company really look after us all as well so it's an absolute pleasure to do this job. I think my favourite place we've been so far was Seattle. I loved it there. San Fran was great but it was a busy time with rehearsals etc. I'm excited for Boston and we're in Toronto for 6 weeks too and I have lots of people coming to visit me there from home which'll be great! Everywhere we're going is exciting for me though as I've never been to any of these cities before!

@MarkHEvans: I just finished drama school in Holland + 2 years at LAMDA in London. Any advice how to proceed now in acting?
Yes. Get a job! Ha.
I'm just kidding. You just need to go down the usual avenues, get an agent who will submit you for auditions. You'll need headshot photographs, possibly an acting showreel, a voiceover demo. Agents will advise you best.
I find the book 'The Golden Rules Of Acting' by Andy Nyman is perfect for an actor starting out. it doesn't teach you how to act, it teaches you how to be an actor in this industry. It's helpful and fun! I always highly recommend it to aspiring performers.

@MarkHEvans: Are you enjoying seeing the states and living out of a suitcase?
Yes I am enjoying the states, no I'm not enjoying the suitcase. They just keep breaking! I'm on my fourth suitcase already! Boo! 

@MarkHEvans:  Is it different working with a mostly American cast compared to what you're used to in London? 
Yes -  they all talk with weird accents! ;)

@MarkHEvans: If you weren't on the US tour of Book Of Mormon, would you have considered joining the Wicked UK as Fiyero?
Been There, done that, got the Jodhpurs!

@MarkHEvans: Is it more exciting to go on tour or be in a show in a resident theatre? 
There are good and bad points to both. What I love about this tour is that we can never really settle or feel frustrated or bored in anyway. Each city offers a new theatre, new audience and new touristy things to do which keeps us busy and means time is flying past us. I'm not far off 2 months into my run now which has gone so quickly!

@MarkHEvans: What's your 'essential things to take on tour'?!?! Hope you are still having loads of fun.
Thanks, I am having loads of fun. My essential things? Erm….tea bags from the UK, a humidifier for my hotel room and my ipad, laptop and iphone with Skype and FaceTime to keep me in touch with my family and friends at home! 

@MarkHEvans: When you come to STL, you should go to CJ Muggs. Not a question, just a suggestion. The fries are gooooood.
OK. Thanks

@MarkHEvans: Who is your favourite actor?
I'd probably say Ryan Gosling at the moment.

@MarkHEvans: I pulled my ass funky monkeying … what did I do wrong?!
This is from a huge fan of mine called JR Bruno. He spends most hours of each day watching clips of me on YouTube. He is also in the ensemble of The Book Of Mormon 8 times a week on the First National Tour of America.
Dearest JR, it takes talent to funky monkey, and unfortunately you posses very little, so give your ass a break and just quit trying!

@MarkHEvans: How many reps of the Glinda Glide must I do to look like you? #wickedworkoutchallenge
This happens to be from another fan of mine who is also in the cast of The Book Of Mormon named Marisha Wallace.
Well Marisha, I do 4 reps before my morning 10K run. Then after my third visit to the gym each day I do another 4. So you need to do 8 reps in total. Hope that helps.

@MarkHEvans: can you show me how to do some Chistery Chin-ups or Melichinamen mixed martial arts? #wickedworkoutchallenge
OK! OK! OK! -  So for those of you who are NOT in the cast of The Book Of Mormon, you may have cottoned on to the fact that my colleagues recently found the YouTube clip of me teaching the Wicked Summer Workout online and have posted it on our company Facebook page and will occasionally start doing moves of the workout for me in the theatre! However, Kevin Michael Murphy, the question above, as you know is not part of the strict fitness regime that is the Mark Evans Wicked Summer Workout, now stop using that clever imagination of yours and give me a Gravity Defyer 4 times on each side! GO!

@MarkHEvans:  how about……When are you free for dinner? Lol

@MarkHEvans: How awesome is being Elder Price?! Better than being Ceridwen Price?! 
Are you his mother? 

@MarkHEvans: What's it like to put on an American accent & do you have any slip-up stories? #bookofmormon
I like to think my American Accent is pretty accurate. There have been a couple of times when i say "spreading the word?" and I sound like I'm from an episode of Eastenders with the broadest cockney accent ever. But what you might find entertaining is listening the cast of our show attempting their British Accents, ….and believe me that happens a lot! - especially under the influence of alcohol! 

@MarkHEvans: America must b brill for u but when r u comin home??? (",)
Summer time!

@MarkHEvans: When did you first know that being a performer is what you wanted to do with your life? And what convinced you to go for it?
I knew from an early age that I loved it. I learned aged 15 that it was a possibility and then nothing was gonna stand in my way and I've never lost that focus or determination since!

@MarkHEvans: favourite disney movie? :)
Old school, I'd say The Lion King, but recently I'd say 'Tangled' cos my nieces love it and I have a video on my phone of one of my nieces in a long blonde wig singing the healing song that Rapunzel sings from it and she's full on in character with her eyes closed and everything! I watch it most minutes of most hours of most days of most… get the picture!!! PROUD!

@MarkHEvans: Had you practiced and American accent prior to BOM? Did you know much about Mormonism b4 or how did you research for Elder Price.
I'm sorry I just thought that was a good question and thought it would be funny to give a really crap answer!
I have had to do an american accent on many jobs in the past so it's no big deal to do it for this show. I'm a little more aware of it here as I'm performing to Americans obviously but no-one ever seems to be able to tell that I'm British which is good.
As with every role I have ever auditioned for, I did A LOT of research for this show. Thank goodness for wikipedia and the internet. I read copious amount of literature, really researched the show and it's background as much as possible, listed all the notes I was given at each audition, downloaded Mormon movies and watched YouTube clips. Basically the only thing I didn't do was read actual The Book Of Mormon itself because……well just because…….!!!

@MarkHEvans: What do you miss most about Ghost? ;/
I miss telling that amazing, touching story the most I think. 
I miss Siobhan (my bunny) and the rest of the cast. I miss my guitar. I miss the script. I miss the songs and I miss my Sam Wheat shoes (I don't really cos I stole them on the last night mwahahaha).

Thanks for all your questions everyone, even the ones that weren't questions.

Sending you all super smiley Mormon love (predictive text corrected that to MORON but I had too much self-respect not to change it back) from the US. Thanks as always for your continued support.

Keep On Believing!


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

BLOG 117!!! Mevans The Mormon!!!

Hi Everyone,

Yup, it's been a while!!! Happy New Year to all of you. Let's make 2013 a good one eh?!

I've a feeling this blog is gonna be a long one as I've a LOT to fill you in on!!!!!!!

A lot has changed since I last post, which was upon my return from China two months ago. The reason for my lack of blogging was because lots of what I have been working on since then was not able to be announced publicly so I would have been blogging about random pointless stuff instead of what I was actually up to.

So as I'm sure most of you who are followers of my Twitter and Facebook pages are aware, I am no longer living in London.....far from it!

I am gonna take you back to April 2012, when I'm sure I mentioned that I was having meetings for future projects...well having gone through many auditions and being flown to New York and back I was officially offered the lead role of Elder Price in the MASSIVELY SUCCESSFUL musical comedy The Book Of Mormon, which has broken numerous box office records and received countless awards including 9 Tony Awards.

I knew that I was going to be working on this show while I was still in Ghost The Musical and many people were questioning me about rumours they had heard but as far as I am concerned, until it is announced publicly, the job is not yours.....or actually, until you open on your first night, it can still be taken away from you so I wasn't telling anyone but close family and friends!

I was thrilled when I was asked if I wanted to join the First National Tour of the show in the America. I have said for years that I wanted to see more of the States, as the only place I'd been was New York City, but I knew that the only way I'd ever be able to tour the states was to do it whilst working, because it would be impossible for me to take a long break from my career to go backpacking around the states. Having said that, I never really thought the opportunity would arise to actually do it, so I'm thrilled and this is the perfect show to tour with.
The company are amazing and the cast are phenomenally talented and this is no disrespect to any show or anyone I've worked with in the past but as a complete production, I have never worked with a group of people on and off stage including creatives who are this talented.....and as a lot of you know, I have worked with some INCREDIBLE people so I'm just trying to point out how great they are here!

My preparation for the show all started in November in New York....

I was in the city observing the rehearsals of the company of The Book Of Mormon who are now playing in Chicago. It was a great way to be immersed into the Mormon world and do my research.

I then returned back to London for a couple of weeks to sort my life out as I'd only had a couple of days after Shanghai before having to fly to NYC. So I needed to attend my visa appointment, sort my flat out, sort my car out and many other boring, responsible adult type things, but most importantly, spend some quality time with my family and friends, a lot of whom I'd not seen for months!

I headed home to Wales for 10 days and it was amazing. We had a few family nights which included an early Christmas as I obviously wasn't able to be there for December 25th! It was quite emotional saying goodbye to them as this is the longest time I will have gone without seeing them. Thank goodness for Skype eh?!

I had a great leaving party in London with my friends before jumping on my flight, kissing goodbye to London on December 4th and heading to San Francisco (via Chicago for one night to have a costume you do!)

I arrived San Fran and settled into my really cosy, apartment which had so much character and was nicely spacious and I thought, "yup, Christmas here will be just fine!".

After that, I headed on down to the Curran theatre to meet the people I would be sharing the next 7 months with. What a great group of people....clearly that was just first impressions cos I've since learnt that they're a bunch of assholes!.....I'm joking, obviously!
I am so fortunate to be working with an AMAZING group of lovely, kind, welcoming and TALENTED people! Did I mention they're talented? 

I watched the show that evening and was absolutely blown away by it. I had seen it a couple of times in New York, but the touring cast are incredible and I just thought to myself  "Mevans, you've got your work cut out if you wanna keep up with these incredible people!". I was not intimidated in the slightest though, it was an inspiring evening and I felt so hyped to be given this opportunity and was excited to get cracking with rehearsals.

Chris (who I play opposite) and I started rehearsing the next day - we learnt the whole of act one that afternoon and the whole of act two the next afternoon. It had of course helped that we had watched some stuff in New York but my goodness we worked at a speedy pace!

Our rehearsal schedule was amazing, we worked a few afternoons a week (because the rest of the time the stage wasn't available because of the show's performance schedule) and the rest of the time we were just able to enjoy all the splendour that San Fran had to offer, and it certainly has lots for visitors to do and see. I loved the city, particularly the Golden Gate Bridge and actually during my stay, I crossed it three times, once on foot, once cycling (in the pouring rain) and the other time on the top of a bus tour! I loved it!

So to avoid this being the longest blog in the history of blogging I'm gonna by-pass Christmas and the other couple of weeks - which were all amazing) and head straight to my opening night.

We had an incredible work session with Trey Parker (one of the genius writers and co-directors of The Book Of Mormon and co-creator of South Park) It was one of the most inspiring, amazing and fulfilling afternoons I've ever experienced in my professional career so far. The man is a genius! Seriously! If you wanna see him at work, watch the documentary 6 Days To Air which is about how they put an episode of South Park together in 6 days. Amazing!

I felt so prepared for opening night and was thrilled that one of my best friends from London, Callum was able to be there, just as proof really that I am actually working over here and not just on my holidays for a few months!

There is no show that I have ever performed which has the audience in the palm of its musical theatre hand from the very opening and doesn't let up as far as making them laugh is concerned until they walk out the door at the end! It is without a doubt the funniest script of a musical I've ever seen or read or watched, and to perform it is an honour!

The first show went really well and I was really happy - but there was no time to celebrate as it was time for Chris and I to adjust to a weekend schedule American style which means one show Friday night, two shows Saturday and two shows Sunday. It was a bit of a challenge for us to go from working on things a couple of afternoons a week to then performing the entire show 5 times in one weekend, but we got through it and instead of going out and getting drunk to celebrate, I went back to my apartment to celebrate by attempting to eat as much of the left over food in my kitchen as I physically could fit in my stomach because the next day was our travel day to Portland and I sure as hell wasn't putting cheese and crackers in my luggage!

The flight to Portland was smooth and pain free, although I was feeling pretty tired, and our one day off before starting our first full week of 8 shows happened to be our travel day and New Years Eve. No rest for me then! :-)

New year was hilarious....I had food at a restaurant with a few of the company members which was nice and then got in a taxi to the club that was hosting a private party area for The Book Of Mormon cast....but our taxi got stuck in the New Year celebrations which caused road traffic chaos so my midnight moment was spent with our head of the wigs and hair department who makes me look like a mormon every night and a lesbian named Janet in a bowler hat who was on speaker phone with her wife saying (*cue American accent*) "happy new year doll, I'm stuck in this f***in intersection with some Mormons, don't ask, I love ya honey, Happy Noo Year"...... She was lovely and she broke the law a few times trying to get us to our party....needless to say I gave her a big tip cos that was one New Years I will not forget in a hurry. Haha.

The next day we opened at the Keller Auditorium in Portland and the first show took a bit of getting used to as it was close to double the audience capacity than San Francisco. They were great audiences all week though and I really enjoyed my stay there.

I've just arrived at my apartment in Seattle and can't really believe I'm about to start my third theatre venue on the tour already. This time is gonna fly. I love Seattle already! Although feeling as tired as I am right now, I can't imagine I'll be sleepless just has to be referenced doesn't it?! *Lame Joke*

I miss London and Wales and all my friends, family and all you loyal readers/followers, and want you all to know that the messages I've been receiving recently have been overwhelming and I really appreciate them and your constant support. Please know that I am having an amazing time here in America and I am doing my upmost to represent UK actors in the best way possible on that stage every night.

I thank whatever is out there in the universe for giving me this opportunity and am so happy to be experiencing this amazing country in the best way possible.....with an incredible show!

Sending so much love home to you all from a very proud and patriotic Mormon named Mevans! Thanks for reading! 

Believe!!! (I can still type that even though I'm no longer in Ghost, cos I sing a whole song about Believing in this show!)



Thursday, 1 November 2012

Blog 116!!! Ni Hao - A Welsh dude in China!

Hey Everyone,

Happy Thursday, (and for the past three weeks too). I am in fact writing this blog on the plane back from Shanghai as it is a loooooong flight and there is a lot to write since I last blogged which was my final week of Ghost.

Ghost feels like it ended at least 4 months ago, it's not even been 4 weeks.

I don't even know where to start with this blog about my time working on Ultimate Broadway..... I suppose I should start at the beginning....

I woke early (very early) on the Monday morning, October 8th to get in a car to Heathrow Airport. I wasn't feeling too great, I had to cancel a concert in Cardiff the night before on doctors orders. I had fought like a demon to manage to get through the last week of Ghost and so he insisted I just had vocal rest.

So it wasn't ideal to be heading to do a job for three weeks where I'd be belting my man tits off the whole time, but I was on my way and was thinking positively that it'd all be fine.

The set up of the show was as follows: a huge orchestra, twenty Chinese ensemble singer dancers from Shanghai, 10 professional ensemble singer dancers mostly from London and four principals headlining,  which included myself, Ria Jones (another Welshy, woop woop!) Josh Young from America who was recently nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway and the fourth was Kerry Ellis who I'm sure most of you know from Wicked etc.

I met up with  Kerry at the airport and we flew over together, not really knowing what to expect, apart from the fact that we each had 9 songs to learn, which was a whole lot of lyrics.

We arrived Shanghai after 20 hours of travelling and it was 11am local time so our first challenge was to try our best to not sleep until that night, which is the best way to avoid jet lag! My goodness it was difficult.

We were driven to our hotel to settle in and then headed to the theatre for some costume fittings and to have a look around, basically trying to keep us busy to avoid sleeping!

The Culture Square Theatre in Shanghai is the most ridiculously impressive theatre I think I have and will ever see.
It's huge! Everywhere is just huge. The auditorium, the rehearsal spaces even the corridors are unnecessarily big. You could fit a whole herd of Elephants down some of the corridors, what's the point?!

The auditorium was designed perfectly so that no where was a bad view of the stage, it held about 1700 and the decor was incredible. Marble floors throughout - yes, in the auditorium, under the seats it was real marble, again I ask, whats's the point? (Really impressive though).
The foyer was amazing. A huge stained glass window dominated the main wall as you walk in, and by huge I mean like 50ft squared, it was beautiful and at night it was lit perfectly.

The most impressive part of the theatre though was the stage. It was enormous, and the whole thing could move backwards to let another stage raise up to replace it, exactly the same size but this one had three hydraulic circular platforms that would each revolve in different ways. Also, BOTH of those stages were removed to reveal a THIRD enormous performance space - a fountain which covered the size of the entire width and depth of the stage and shot up numerous jets of water with camp multi coloured lighting and while all that was happening in our show at the top of act two, we had a small Chinese fella doing arial acrobatics on a couple of ropes, (while I sang a song from Spiderman The Musical!)
There was also a FOURTH performance space which could be hydraulically installed (which wasn't used in our show) which is a giant ice rink!
So the theatre is camp to say the least!

The song list basically consisted of the biggest show-stoppers from the most popular musicals through the ages. Everything between Memory from Cats to Defying Gravity from Wicked. It was all about the amazing sets, incredible choreography, dazzling costumes, a phenomenal orchestra and ensemble, fronted by us four belting as many money notes as we could possibly squeeze out from within!

I am now continuing this blog from my flat on Wednesday evening as the plane landed, which was pretty bloody typical, travelling for 26 hours and then I decide to write my blog and the bloody thing goes and arrives Heathrow!

So that first day, whilst trying to stay awake, Kerry and I were introduced to the performing company, most of whom had already been there rehearsing for a week.
The amount they'd learned was insane! They were a really talented group.
I also had massive respect for the local Shanghai ensemble who learned about 10 numbers, most involved singing, and they didn't even speak English. There were literally translators there to pass on everything the creative team would ask them to do, so to learn all those English lyrics was seriously impressive! I mean, it's not as if English and Chinese are the most similar of languages!

Learning all the songs and staging had to be done within two and a half days for us principals as we were then starting to rehearse on stage with all the technical elements.
It all came together ridiculously quickly but it was hard work!

Opening night was great and then we had a four show weekend before a well deserved day off.

The days off that we had during our three weeks there were personally spent just making the most of having the opportunity to see the city. I visited most of the things that are suggested online - I experienced both the built up, impressive financial district with its huge buildings and expensive atmosphere and then enjoyed visiting little markets and tiny little side streets with stalls and little shops run by the nicest, kindest most welcoming people- which was very different to a lot of what you'll see in Shanghai.
The roads are dangerous, drivers are fearless and stupid, people will happily spit on you if you happen to walk where they have decided to hawk up a greenie and spit out in the loudest most disgusting way - and that happens indoors and out!
Parents carry children around in crotchless pants so they can go to the toilet anytime, anywhere they wish.
You'll think nothing of a Scooter racing by on the road with a family of 5 hanging on, or a mass of cages containing bunnies and budgies on the back of a tricycle, or the largest amount of chopped wood you could ever imagine one old man to handle on one little push bike.

The extremes between the wealthy residents and others who are less fortunate are hard to believe and the cultural and social differences within one city is so hard to comprehend. But everyone just gets along with their own lives no matter how big or important they may be in other people's eyes.

Everyone seems to always be busy and hard working.
The pollution there is pretty shocking. I actually felt like I was inhaling  pure oxygen when I arrived back in London, which is really saying something eh?! The atmosphere was dry often muggy and hot but the whole pace had a natural smokey haze to it and breathing felt a little uncomfortable at times!

We went to some incredible gardens and walking by the Bund river was amazing. One side feels like London and the opposite side of the water feels like you're staring at down town Manhattan, New York with all the new and modern high rise buildings!

It's an incredible city to visit and I know that personally I would never have really chosen to go there on a holiday and so I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to work over there and experience such an interesting place!

It's been crazy busy since I've been back getting a few bits and pieces sorted and catching up with friends before I head to New York tomorrow for three weeks which should be good fun!

If I don't manage to blog whilst in NYC I'll certainly pick up again when I'm back!

Keep loving your lives folks!