Saturday, 20 November 2010

Blog 18!!! Oklahoma's gone GAGA!!!

Hey everyone,

Good morning,  or should I say 'Top of the mornin t'ya' - although Irish people don't actually say that to my knowledge.
I am sat in Starbucks in the shopping centre in Derry in Northern Ireland where we have been with the show since Tuesday!!! I'm actually sat here with Danny who plays Mike in the show but I told him I need to be rude and ignore him while I write my Blog! Although he is eating a  delicious looking mince pie and I want one too - it's already becoming a distraction!


So we opened on Tuesday to the most unreal crowd!!! We have never had such a reaction - it was like an episode of Friends with the canned laughter, then ridiculous cheers and whooping and applause at the end of every number, the show was about 6 minutes longer just because of audience reaction - which means the Band members were happy as they get over-time payment if the show exceeds 3 hours haha!

This whole week really has been about our end of tour party which was held at the amazing Waterfoot Hotel here in Derry on Thursday night which was also the night of the Oklahoma Golden Cob Awards! It was an incredible night full of great food, lots of drunken folk, pictures and videos on a projector screen, and lots and lots laughing!!!

I am proud to say I came away clutching a Golden Cob award. I had been nominated and won the category for 'Best Entrance/Exit' - There is a bit in the show where everybody is at the annual box social and it's the auctioning of the girls hampers - people start bidding for the hamper of Laurey (my love interest in the show) and when my rival for her affection Judd Fry starts to bid I get worried and decide to go and get the saddle off my horse Dunn to sell to bid a higher amount of money than him - you with me so far?! So there is a tense moment of silence as I pierce a threatening look into his eyes before I turn acting really cool to exit the stage to fetch the saddle- however in one venue the stage was particularly narrow and I turned and literally smacked my face and whole body into the pros arch which is the solid wing at the side which frames the whole stage and in our show it's in a light  blue colour to replicate the sky! There was no way to disguise it - the whole company were laughing as were the entire audience! So I got the award for 'accidentally walking into the sky upon my exit!'

The awards were amazing though they were made by one of our stage management guys Will Tse! He's a genius! It will be on my mantle piece as soon as I get home!!!

The highlight of the evening however was the premier of the 'Oklahoma Presents Lady Gaga and Beyonce's Telephone video'!
For the majority of this year the entire company of Oklahoma have been working hard on re-creating the entire 10 minute music video which was famously premiered and so hugely popular earlier this year when Lady Gaga and Beyonce released their great song, Telephone!!! It took a lot of time and effort and organisation particularly from Gemma Sutton and Chris Gardner, between sorting out the casting, costumes, technical requirements not to mention working out which location to use for each section of the shoot which is very difficult when you are only in each venue on tour for 5 days!!! But it was shown at the party on the big screen for the first time to everyone in the company and it exceeded everyone's expectation and really is in my opinion a MASSIVE achievement! Touring life is not easy and to achieve something like this on top of performing over 240 shows in over 33 different cities over 34 weeks is AMAZING!!! I am very proud of everyone involved and am going to post it on my facebook fanpage BUT........... BE WARNED - It does contain explicit language and also I am on there looking like what can only be described as a terrifying tranny about to drop into the gutter - I will never attempt to be Lady Gaga again!!!

Please watch the video on my facebook fanpage and if you don't get it all - YouTube the original by Gaga and Beyonce and you'll see just how accurate ours is whilst keeping the true Oklahoma style!!! Enjoy it!!! It's funny!!!

So today we lose a few company members who are not able to come to Trieste in Italy with us next week as it was an additional week to the original contract- those people will be missed and we are sad we couldn't have kept all together until the end - Gary Davis, Ste Clough, Rachel Williams, Ed Bussey and for me the biggest loss for the end of my tour personally is Laura Bradbury who is our wardrobe mistress, but she is also the person who has spent approximately 120 hours of her time this year curling my hair - she is a great gal and has been a big help to me in getting me in the mood to do the show when I'm feeling tired or under the weather just by having a laugh in my dressing room!!!
Laura is setting up her own business called 'Just Sew Perfect' which is going to be based around Manchester - she will be specializing in alterations for bridal-wear and will also be available for dressing the brides and bridesmaids on the wedding day and will be working in conjunction, if desired by the client, with her make up artist friend who will come and make the morning of the wedding very special - she's a wonderfully talented lovely girl who deserves every success so if you are getting married or know of a friend who is, Laura's website will be launched in the new year so keep your eyes pealed!!!

I can't believe we only have 9 performances left - It only seems a couple of weeks ago when we were all discussing how we were entering single figures with how many WEEKS we had left!!! It's gone so quickly  yet still been a lot of hard work so the fact that after today we will only have 7 left to perform and that those will be in Italy fills me with mixed feelings I suppose - I have loved this opportunity to play such an incredible role and one that's iconic in musical theatre and is one of the most famous roles written by Rogers And Hammerstein but I am also absolutely cream crackered and have been ready to get back to London and stop being on the road for a good few weeks now so the way I look at the end of this tour is that it was an ideal length of time, I'm so glad it happened and I shall miss it but am ready for a change!!!
And what a change it will be too- once I have tried on my complete outfit for 'Marcaroni' I will post a picture on my facebook page - it's a 'slightly' different look to Curly in Oklahoma!!! Haha!

Right I'm off to work - I imagine this afternoon some of the cast will be attempting to play a few pranks on other cast members as it's an old musical theatre tradition (within reason) to have a little fun on the last matinee of a long running show and attempt to make the other people on stage laugh, or look silly or change something for comic effect etc providing nothing is different as far as the audience who are seeing it for the first time is concerned! I have nothing planned personally but am pretty certain there'll be a few jokes played today - it's not our official last matinee but it's our last one in the UK so I'm looking forward to a good fun show!!!

Anyway I think people are waiting for me to leave Starbucks as it's busy here and I finished my Frappuccino ages ago and can feel people giving me evils from the counter - what a welcome!!!

I hope all is well with you wonderful people who are reading this,

Keep smiling because this life is too short and we should embrace each moment as much as possible!!!

Love your lives


Monday, 15 November 2010

BLOG 17!!!!!

BLOG NUMBER 17!!!!!!!
So I am sat on a train back to North Wales and making the most of the downtime to write to all you lovely people!!!
Apologies for the lack of blogging this week – I’ve had loads to say but no internet to actually upload it! As I’ve written before, my folks live on a farm in the middle of no-where in North Wales and I can’t even get phone signal there let alone reception on my internet dongle!!!
Last time I blogged I was sat in the hotel room in Cardiff feeling very refreshed and ready for a good days recording – and that it was too. I arrived Caryl’s house (she’s the writer of Marcaroni) and she was running late so ended up spending a couple of hours with her lovelydaughters making peanut butter cookies which was great – I ate about 6 then got on with the recording before being driven by Tony (good ole Tony my driver) up to my folks place ready to start the week with Oklahoma in Rhyl!!!
SO THE WEEK IN RHYL!!! Where do I start!?!?!?
We opened on Tuesday to an incredible reception. I really felt like I was being welcomed back to the home land. I walked on stage for my first entrance singing ‘Oh What A Beautiful Morning’ and got a huge cheer and entrance round from the audience – I was so overwhelmed, all I could think was “for god’s sake don’t trip over the box” ‘cause I jump up on a box to sit on a water feature thingy near the beginning of the song, and believe me I have tripped up on it numerous times trying to look cool and do it without looking where I step – it’s even been mentioned in a review in one of the venues “Mark Evans  as cowboy Curly resisted the urge to corpse after he absolutely stacked it on a bit of the set” (or something along those lines-ha). Anyway, I digress, they were a wonderful audience and it remained that way for the entire week. It was a real pleasure to perform to such wonderfully warm crowds in the Pavilion and to see the theatre so busy!
Thursday I spent in silence to try and rest a very tired voice. I was given another Zac Efron film to watch by Alex in the cast after I told her I’d enjoyed his performance in ‘The Death And Life of Charlie St. Cloud’ – It was ’17 Again’ where he plays a 40 year old guy (acted by Matthew Perry) once he’s been transformed into a 17 year old to revisit that part of his life. It was very good and yet again I thought Zac Efron did a great job!
I then went to pick up my niece Ellie who is 4 from school which was amazing! Spending time with kids is like someone giving you a lesson in life- if only we could all be as innocent and carefree as 4 year olds I think the world would be a much happier place – Clearly I understand that is impossible and would get dull but I like the thought at least!!!
On Thursday after the show the ‘Friends Of The Rhyl Pavilion’ group (about 60 people I’d say) held a reception for us all in the bar of the theatre and I can honestly say we have never had a reception like that. You would not believe the amount of food that was on the buffet table and so many genuinely lovely people who were so kind in what they were saying to us and had seemed to really enjoy the show and really appreciated us being there which is lovely, particularly having been touring with this show now about 8 months visiting over 30 different towns – It’s nice to be welcomed in such a way (even better that it was my local theatre-good ole Welshies eh?!?!?!)
Friday daytime we had rehearsals for our replacement ‘Andrew Carnes’ in the show – Gary Davies who plays the role can’t come to Italy with us to finish the tour as he has other work to go onto so we needed to have rehearsals – it was quite fun actually because everyone was in a bit of a giddy stupid mood. Ha.
So then Saturday came and I had to give the car back that I had very kindly been allowed to borrow from the minister of our local chapel in the village at home. It was very handy and nice to have that feeling of independence you get when you have your own car. The two shows on Saturday went well. Mum watched the show for the 6th and final time with my Dad and auntie and uncle!
I was picked up by good ole Tony on Saturday night to go down to Llanelli (about an hour west of Cardiff) to stay in a hotel ready to get up Sunday to record the final 13 songs for Marcaroni. It was a very productive day and we have now finished recording my vocals on all 52 episodes now I won’t be in until I start filming on December 13th!!! I have 52 scripts to learn in the mean time!!!
Then last night good ole Tony drove me back to London which took a lot longer than it should’ve because of traffic but I didn’t mind as it gave me time to study and do some research for a couple of meetings I had  today.
I am now about to arrive Rhyl on the train so my Mum can pick me up to take me home for the night. I am over 90 minutes delayed but I don’t care as I have had a good day and delays are not going to ruin it – however the bottle of red wine I have waiting for me at home will make it a lot better!!!
I fly to Derry in Northern Ireland tomorrow. Thursday night is our end of tour party. It’s a big one – we’re having an awards ceremony which we’ve all submitted nomination forms in for which include as an example – best mishap on stage etc! The next blog will be after the party next weekend and I shall give you the lowdown on who won what and if I have an award to put on my mantelpiece in London!!! It’s going to be a great party!!! I will also post the link to our lady Gaga video which I think I have mentioned before. Gemma (Laurey in the show) decided when we were in Sunderland to take on the challenge of recreating the Lady Gaga/Beyonce 10 minute music video to their smash hit ‘Telephone’. The entire company have worked on it all year since then and it was finished last week and will be shown for the first time at the party next week!!! BE WARNED: There is footage of me in heels as Lady Gaga!!!
Anyway I’m getting tired of typing. I think you’ll agree it’s been a busy week and weekend – but a very productive exciting one!!!
13 more performances of Oklahoma! left!!!!!!!!!!
Keep messaging me folks. Love hearing from you. Hope you’re all well.

Keep smiling.


Monday, 8 November 2010

Blog 16 - RHYL!!!!

Hi everyone,

Hope you're all having a good Monday morning so far.

Last time I blogged was Wednesday last week before two shows at the Alhambra theatre in Bradford. It was a good week there in general. The audiences seemed to enjoy it and we were all relieved by the end of Saturday as it was our last 8 show week of the tour. We realised also that it was also our last English venue. Funnily enough our last 5 venues of the tour list are in 5 different countries - Edinburgh (Scotland), Bradford (England), Rhyl (Wales), Derry (Ireland) and Trieste (Italy). Lots of traveling!

WE OPEN IN RHYL TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday night last week I headed over to Leeds after the show to stay with Haley, Daniella and Charlotte, my good friends who I worked with on The Rocky Horror Show as they were performing in Leeds last week. It was great to have a good old catch up whilst eating pate on toast and garlic bread and crisps and Haley's special birthday cake with a picture of her face on it (all about the carbs that evening). I really miss my Rocky Horror people. The Rocky tour finishes exactly one week after I finish Oklahoma! and so I'm going to go see the show and catch them all before it ends in Aylesbury. Any Rocky fans reading this - I'll see you there!

Saturday night I got a lift back to North Wales with Alex and Beth from Oklahoma! and dropped my case off at my parents farm (The Ranch as we 4 kids call it!) had a few hours sleep before getting up and heading down to Cardiff - two words, NIGHTMARE JOURNEY!!!

My wonderful Mum dropped me off at Rhyl station to get a train to Crewe to get my connection to Cardiff Central - oh nooooo, someone somewhere decided that Sunday the 7th of November was not a day for easy travel as far as Mark Evans was concerned.
Long story short, I was told I had to get a rail replacement bus which ended up being 35 mins late and the driver confessed he didn't know how to get to Chester railway station, "brilliant" I thought. So myself and three random guys I've never met squashed ourselves into a taxi and split the fare to Chester to then get a later then planned train to Crewe. I then had to get a train from Crewe direct to Cardiff Central - funnily enough I only ended up being 70mins later than if the journey had gone to plan!

So then I got picked up and went straight to Acapela Studios to record a new radio programme with the Welsh opera star/TV & Radio presenter Shan Cothi (I adore her). It's basically a new series for Radio Cymru (Welsh language Radio Wales) called 'Cyfle Cothi' which is like an opportunity knocks type thing. They announced on the radio a few months ago that people should send in demos of themselves basically doing their performing party piece so either singing a musical theatre song or playing the harp or belting out a bit of opera etc etc and then the demos would be whittled down by a professional panel and the top 6 would each get to work with a mentor in their specific genre. So I was the mentor for the musical theatre programme which is apparently going to be broadcast on New Years Eve and New Years Day.
So yesterday is was a pleasure to meet and 'mentor' if you will a girl named Laura Blundell. She was a joy to work with and I hope she found the session helpful and will benefit from the advice and tips I was giving her on her vocals, performance and about the entertainment industry in general.

So it ended up being a lovely day and to top it off they gave me a room at the St David's hotel in Cardiff Bay which is just beautiful - I stayed here a couple of years ago after the Welsh BAFTA awards but didn't have time to enjoy the spa or room service or breakfast back then. It did me the world of good to be able to relax last night. I feel refreshed!

So after a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast I am about to be collected by Tony -Remember him?, he's in charge of driving me around from one place to another for anything to do with the Marcaroni programme - (He's a bit like royal mail that way, although he always makes sure I arrive on time!!!)
I am recording the second batch of songs this afternoon as we actually start filming in about 4 weeks - EXCITING!!! I have my first costume fitting before heading to the studio so I shall let you all know what a fool I look in it when I write the next Blog!!!
After I finish recording Tony is driving me back up to North Wales to The Ranch!!!

All that's left to say is "Any North Wales folk - see you at the Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl some point between Tuesday and Saturday this week!!!

Keep your comments coming. Only three more weeks of Oklahoma! so catch it while you can if you're Welsh, Irish or Italian. All English people, you had your chance and if you missed it, SHAME ON YOU! Obviously I'm joking!!!

Have a good day everyone.

Love your lives no matter what

Much love and positivity


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Blog 15!!!

Morning everyone.

So it's Wednesday morning and I am in my digs in Bradford. It's a cute little self contained two bedroom apartment about 3 miles from the town centre and I'm staying with Gemma this week. It's very nice here.

I had a great weekend. Travelled back from Edinburgh on the train on Sunday morning which went quickly considering it was nearly a 5 hour journey. I then went straight to my good friend Haley's 30th Birthday celebrations which which in Holborn in London at a place called 'All Star Lanes' which is a bowling alley but it has a private hire room with it's own bar and waiter and two bowling lanes - it was a lovely day!!! Lots of really nice people there to celebrate the birthday of a very special girl!!! And I got a few strikes so all in all, a successful afternoon haha.
Then I went home to sort out loads of boring stuff with paper work etc which I always end up doing on a weekend - dull (the joys of owning a property)

Monday I had to go into London for a meeting which went on a bit longer then anticipated. Haley and I were going to drive up north together on monday afternoon but we decided as that was her actual birthday day we didn't want to spend 4 hours of it in the car. So I headed down to where she was staying and we had a lovely night in with good food big laughs and birthday cake! Brilliant.

So then we headed up here in the car yesterday. She's in Leeds this week with Rocky Horror which is only about 20mins away from Bradford. I arrived the theatre dropped my things off and headed straight to the Vodafone shop to get my new phone as I have not one that works for the last week! I now have an iphone4 - AN IPHONE4!!!!!!!!! HURRAY!!!!!!

I don't care what anyone says, it's probably the best technological invention ever (clearly being dramatic but it's amazing!)

So as well as learning loads of lyrics and script for different projects at the moment I am now glued to my iphone learning all the amazing things it does!!!

We had a nice audience last night in Bradford. After this week we only have three more weeks which is a little overwhelming really having performed it SO MUCH over the past 8 months and now we only have 28 shows left! Wow!

RHYL NEXT WEEK!!! Looking forward to being at home with my family. I have to say, I know I keep going on about Christmas but I realised yesterday that if I feel slightly tired or rundown I eat drink or think of something christmassy because it makes me think of the 10 days off I get at Christmas with nothing to do but eat, drink and enjoy my family and time to relax!!! I CAN'T WAIT!

Anyway I'm off to do two shows.

I hope you're all well.

Keep in touch because it's good to hear how you all are and what you're up to.

Love your lives and remember everything is easier when you smile.

Speak soon