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  #1  
Old 06-16-2013, 04:15 PM
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Default Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Goes to show it's all about who you know! I have been off the gigging scene for most of a year as I work on finishing my Master's degree and deal with the pace of my day job. In the music business, disappearing for that long can be the death of you, so I've showed up at a blues jam here and there, sat in with a few people for one-off things on Saturday evenings... you know, just to keep my face and name out there. I also check in with my buddies at the music store and make it to other musicians' shows and events when I can.

One of these muso friends heard that a local theater producer was looking for a drummer for a local revival production of "The Rocky Horror Show". He called up the guy and recommended me, gave him a quick rundown of stuff I've done. The guy hired me over Facebook, in essence. I'll be doing the gig through August.

Odd that almost 25 years since I was going twice a weekend to yell at the screen at the Dream Theater in Monterey, I'm returning to this material, playing alongside session pros, in my new hometown. It's been a blast working through the score and dusting off my memories of this music.

Lessons that we can all take away from this:
1) Don't let your memory fade away if for some reason you are not able to play out. Stay minimally active in the scene, but make sure you are still doing the networking so that an opportunity doesn't slip by you.
2) Listen to just about every bit of music you can with an ear towards playing it someday. You never know.
3) I'm really glad I can read. Granted, there's no drum part in the score, but I'm grateful to be able to use the score to follow along and make my own notations. It's far easier than having to remember two hours of music on the fly!

Also, as far as I know, the musicians are not required to wear fishnets. Although if that changes, I'll be certain to put up pics.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:12 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Good for you - how fantastic!

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Also, as far as I know, the musicians are not required to wear fishnets. Although if that changes, I'll be certain to put up pics.
Glad to hear it. About putting up the pictures, I mean. I think you should take the initiative anyway.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Have fun. I love to do theater gigs. Wish I had one now.
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

That's awesome that we get to see you in the fishnets. Fishnets or it didn't happen ;)
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

A little bit of updating on this gig.

I've been playing through the score recording as pretty much the only playing I do for the past month. I think I could do about 90% of it from memory now, although that's what the score is for.

The producer has decided to in fact go for the "punk rock" look that was used in one of the revivals. So I'm letting the hair and beard grow out a little bit, the better to sculpt, style, and color. Pictures will obviously happen.

Right now I'm trying to decide between my two primary snare drums for the show (although I may just take them both and throw one off to the left on a stand with a towel on it for a nicknack holder and switch out as necessary). Betty, my Ludwig Standard Aluminium snare, has got just a bit more pop and snap to her, and she's proving slightly more responsive snare-wise. Veronica, my Pearl Sensitone BOB, has (of course) a bit more body, and I trust the hardware on her a scoche more than I trust Betty's P85 strainer and internal muffler that's been known to rattle a little.

Finally, check out the very cool stage setup we'll be using! The actors will be right in the middle of the audience and right on top of the VIP seats. Wish I could watch it out front once =)
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

So are you guys behind a curtain the whole time?
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

A curtain and what appears to be a projection screen.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Congrats! Rocky Horror would be a fun gig.

As for fishnets, well, I've worn some crazy things on stage, but never fishnet stockings. haha.



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Odd that almost 25 years since I was going twice a weekend to yell at the screen at the Dream Theater in Monterey,.
You know that's where the band took their name from? Never knew anyone who actually went there though.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:09 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Al, you're like Superman - a master multitasker! What's the masters in, BTW?

That friend of yours is a good 'un too, giving you the recommendation. Photos with or without fishnets would be good.
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Old 07-05-2013, 03:28 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Congrats Al! I'll bet thats going to be a fun gig. I absolutly love the soundtrack, I was actually listening to it earlier on Pandora. I haven't yet seen Rocky Horror on stage yet, just the shadow cast at the movies. It is certainly on the bucket list though.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:03 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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Al, you're like Superman - a master multitasker! What's the masters in, BTW?
Masters in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership -- fits the day job, natch.

DED, I was a faithful attendee of the Dream Theater's midnight showings of Rocky Horror all through 1990-1991. I did not learn of the band until much later in life, and I have no idea if I ever bumped into Portnoy, Sr. there, or whoever it supposedly was.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Also, I decided this was apropos for the gig.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Sounds like a great project to be involved in. Some great songs to play from the movie soundtrack. The late great B J Wilson played drums on the soundtrack.
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Old 07-05-2013, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Well,

I have tone thing to say, and that's...








Dammit, Janet.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

UPDATE: Well we had two band rehearsals for the show, and for a total of an hour and change of music, spending 6 hours on it together was probably about right. For those of you familiar with the RHS, it's all pretty much straight-ahead 50's and 60's style doo-wop and rock; the complexity (as with all theater gigs) comes from the stops, the cues, the integration of the actors and their choreography and lines, and the non-intuitive phrasing that has to take place to make the whole thing work (i.e. a 7-measure or 9-measure verse instead of an 8-measure verse).

The show will be done in the "punk" aesthetic, and as in the 2001 Broadway revival (as you can see from the above diagram) the band will be behind a semi-transparent scrim for the show (with the scrim lifted for a couple of numbers such as "Hot Patootie"). So the band is supposed to also dress "punk". Well, I had been growing out my hair to spike or mohawk or some such, but I can't think of anything less punk than a bald spot (see pictures below), so in a few moments my wife will be shaving it all back off.

Now is when my high score on the "drum nerd" quiz thread actually pays off, as the 2011 score requires a mark tree, cowbell, tambourine and bell cymbal -- all of which I have, as a card-carrying geardo.

As of right now, Betty (the Ludwig aluminum Standard snare) is looking like the main snare, with an Evans G-Plus on there for a meaty thwop; Veronica (the Pearl BOB Sensitone) is in reserve in case Betty has a blowout.

Full everyone rehearsals begin tomorrow, with opening night on Thursday next. I'm pretty stoked -- this is going to be a LOT of fun!
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Wow. I thought you guys had already started the gig and you've been doing shows all this time. Where have I been? Rehearsals? You don't need no stinkin' rehearsals ;)
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:19 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

All bets are off on drum nerdness for pit orchestra work. Frequently lots of "toys" are needed. I have acquired most of mine over the years because I have gotten tired trying to borrow them.

Sounds like it's going to be fun. Have a good time.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Nice gig to get. and nice rig.
Is that a old Slingerland Aluminum snare I see? I just got one off ebay, as an alternative to an Acrolite sound. It sounds good but has bizarre construction (knife sharp bearing edge), haven't dialed it in yet.
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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Nice gig to get. and nice rig.
Is that a old Slingerland Aluminum snare I see? I just got one off ebay, as an alternative to an Acrolite sound. It sounds good but has bizarre construction (knife sharp bearing edge), haven't dialed it in yet.
Nope. It's a Ludwig Standard in Aluminum -- their non-Acro aluminum snare. I had been looking for an Acro for a dryer 80's pop sound, and when a local kid told me he had one, I was shocked to find out that he actually had a Standard -- much harder to find. I traded an old steel piccolo for it (which I picked up over 10 years ago for $75). I find myself coming back to this little gem; even though my Pearl BOB is a great-sounding snare, the Standard has a very Acro sound to it that I love.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Set up, running through rehearsals... what a talented cast! Wanted to post a YouTube vid of our lead actress, Alix, doing Janet's solo that leads off Act Two, but in a very cool unplugged way. Take it away, Alix!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZUF3APtuU0

And here's the set in place in the pit, miked up and ready to be abused for three straight weeks. Never been so happy to have an IEM setup -- except when the sound guy doesn't mute the actors' headsets when they go to the loo. (Yes, happened today. He routed it to the house as soon as he realized what was happening.)
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Old 08-04-2013, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

A local photog who covered the show caught this pic of me in full Rocky Horror-esque regailia -- totally worth using for local promos for rock or metal gigs. And apparently people are interested already from what I hear... (Courtesy Big Fish Media)

Two shows down and the third tonight. Only a few hiccups, mostly cues for in-ear feeds being off and actors doing what actors do. But what a great time!

Betty is on the side now, as Veronica got dialed in for a lower, chunky sound that says "classic rock" to me. Plus which, I think we can all agree that Veronica was probably the dirtier girl in any case...

Theater is about twice as demanding as any other type of performing, IMO, with all the varied components that have to work in tandem at any one time. I love it, it's walking the tightrope every night!
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Great photo, Al. I am glad you are enjoying your theater experience. I imagine you gotta be on your toes, fully focused and observant in a different way than a regular band gig.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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Great photo, Al. I am glad you are enjoying your theater experience. I imagine you gotta be on your toes, fully focused and observant in a different way than a regular band gig.
I remember Anton Fig talking about how doing the Letterman gig was about 76 straight minutes of watching and listening intently to catch every little cue. It's just like that, except with a script. And it's a blast.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:54 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Having played in a pit once or twice, I can attest to how exhausting it is! At least you're not on stage doing half the scenes as well (that was an entertaining couple of weeks)!

I love it. Maybe for the final performance, fishnets, a skirt and a dinner jacket/bowtie combination would work.

Love it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:13 AM
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Gee Al, and to think I imagined you a respectable young man. You have a fine steampunk look going on. DMC would be proud. It's a cool, butchy drummer spin on the drag theme ... unlike the cliches poor Duncan's rolling out (of course he can't help it, he's British :).

Congrats on the gig BTW. It's always nice to see contemporary works being performed ;)
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:17 AM
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Having played in a pit once or twice, I can attest to how exhausting it is! At least you're not on stage doing half the scenes as well (that was an entertaining couple of weeks)!
After over a year of shadowcast work, i probably wouldn't suffer too badly on this particular show, although nobody should have to pay to hear me sing -- quite the opposite in fact.

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I love it. Maybe for the final performance, fishnets, a skirt and a dinner jacket/bowtie combination would work.
Since I'm generally not seen below the waist, I'm preferring some cargo shorts and my trusty Chucks -- punk and sensible at the same time. The handmade T-shirt I'm modeling is really popular among the cast and crew and they might revolt were I to change it up now. And I have it on good authority that wearing fishnets is like a hundred little cheese graters on your feet after about an hour.

Oddly enough, out of the four of us band members, two of us dress up pretty extensively for the show -- the MD plays a sax solo during "Hot Patootie" onstage, and so must be in costume, and I am highly visible anytime the projection screen/shim is moved, and so I felt it important to be in character as well; not to mention it really motivates me and gets me in the game mentally for the show. The guitarist and bass player -- great guys and monster players, mind you -- are simply in black, no makeup, and not as much "into" the show. Listen for cue, play, sit back, wait for next cue. Meanwhile, I'm cracking up at the lines as if it's my first time (not missing any cues, though!)
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Dammit, Janet!

The trick with fishnets is to shave extensively. Take this on good authority.
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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Gee Al, and to think I imagined you a respectable young man. You have a fine steampunk look going on. DMC would be proud. It's a cool, butchy drummer spin on the drag theme ... unlike the cliches poor Duncan's rolling out (of course he can't help it, he's British :).

Congrats on the gig BTW. It's always nice to see contemporary works being performed ;)
Respectable? Never! Young? Always, at heart! And I struggled with how I was going to punk out. I don't have any stereotypical punk clothing, really, and the bald spot directly atop the back of my head ruled out any mohawking or spiking of hair (nothing says punk less than a bald spot). So it was obvious I needed to shave it to the scalp. Not pictured in this shot is how I've been drawing stuff on the side of my head with an eyeliner pencil every show -- a lightning bolt, a skull-and-bones, different every night so far.

My wife happened to be telling me I needed to bin this old ratty white t-shirt at the same time I was wracking my brains for what to wear. A Sharpie attack later, and it's become a favorite among the cast and crew. Several want their own copies for after the show. I figure I'll have a Sharpie at the closing week and the after party for signatures, then I'll frame the whole thing in my home office.

Thanks for the congrats, a very fine time being had. I think some bootleg video is going to surface ere long. Saturday night's show was a complete killer, and I noticed our Criminologist had a Flip camera nestled near his chair onstage...
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Old 08-06-2013, 12:25 AM
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Dammit, Janet!

The trick with fishnets is to shave extensively. Take this on good authority.
Gor blimey. I will not ask.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:56 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

And so, week two of three is in the can. I am happy to report that life is good at the Rocky Horror Show, and I'm getting some very lively nibbles from potential next bands-slash-playing sitches. And of course, the gig is about as fun as playing naked Twister with a bevy of supermodels coated in Crisco.

Thursday's run was a bit shaky. The gremlins got into the tech part of the show pretty badly, and the show has two guys playing Frank; this was Frank #2's first night. There was a bit of stumbling, and unfortunately, I had a bit of stomach bug. When that happens, boys and girls, you eat an entire roll of Tums, drink a triple shot of Pepto, and pray to high heaven you don't shardle yourself in the middle of the Time Warp. Which I didn't, but I managed to screw up sufficiently to be thankful I had a great excuse. On top of which, the hex bolt on my slave beater hub came loose somewhere during Act One, and my doubles were off all night.

Friday was a great improvement, and then tonight, my wife used her comp ticket and saw the rockingest show that we've put on yet.

There's a few points in the show when the scrim and curtains go up and reveal the band as we're playing. I'm front and center, and as such, I go a bit... crazy. I figure that this is my contribution to the theatrics. And the audience has been effusive in their praise.

For tonight's photo gallery, let me share some backstage and stage photos with you. We're having such a freaking BLAST, let me tell you!
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:44 AM
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For tonight's photo gallery, let me share some backstage and stage photos with you. We're having such a freaking BLAST, let me tell you!
Go Al - party party! Maybe ease up on the crap food ...
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Old 08-11-2013, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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There was a bit of stumbling, and unfortunately, I had a bit of stomach bug. When that happens, boys and girls, you eat an entire roll of Tums, drink a triple shot of Pepto, and pray to high heaven you don't shardle yourself in the middle of the Time Warp. Which I didn't, but I managed to screw up sufficiently to be thankful I had a great excuse.
I feel your pain! I did a run of The Music Man many years ago. We were doing matinees and evening shows on Sundays. Well, I decided to grab some Chinese food (General Tso's chicken IIRC) between shows. Not the best decision I ever made. By intermission of the evening show I was "shardleing" to beat the band. Delayed the second act by a good 20 minutes. Matinee breaks are thought out much more thoroughly these days.
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

So.

The show is in the can. And our closing weekend was monstrous.

I can't even begin to tell you what a great time it was. I can only hope I get my hands on some video at some point.

Now it's the afterglow and dealing with not playing that music three times a week!
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Old 08-18-2013, 04:44 PM
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So.

The show is in the can. And our closing weekend was monstrous.

I can't even begin to tell you what a great time it was. I can only hope I get my hands on some video at some point.

Now it's the afterglow and dealing with not playing that music three times a week!
Very happy for you that you had this experience and enjoyed it, Al. Great addition to your musical resume. Would love to see some video footage and hear some of the music.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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So. The show is in the can. And our closing weekend was monstrous.
Wonderful job Al, Prepare the transit beam!

I'm guessing the bald guy with the tall boots was Riff-Raff, who was the hefty fellow with the gas mask? He looked like Bane from the new Batman movie.

Did the cast end up signing your shirt?
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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Wonderful job Al, Prepare the transit beam!

I'm guessing the bald guy with the tall boots was Riff-Raff, who was the hefty fellow with the gas mask? He looked like Bane from the new Batman movie.

Did the cast end up signing your shirt?
That's correct on Riff-Raff. The gas mask fella was a stock Transylvanian.

Indeed, the cast ended up signing the shirt! And the crew, and the rest of the band... Now I'll be sectioning it in half and framing it for display in the home studio.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Also, my makeup evolved a little bit by closing night...
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Old 08-19-2013, 07:46 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Sounds like a great gig all around.

And the t-shirt is excellent! (Let’s just not ask about the “Describe your balls” comment on it.)
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:06 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

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Sounds like a great gig all around.

And the t-shirt is excellent! (Let’s just not ask about the “Describe your balls” comment on it.)
That's a callback line. If you are not familiar with "Rocky Horror", the script is a parody of the awkward, overwrought dialogue and situations common in 50's and 60's science-fiction "B" movies. In similar fashion to "Mystery Science Theater 3000", audience members yell out sarcastic comebacks to this cheesy dialogue -- except, given the risque nature of the story, they tend towards the profane and obscene =)

NARRATOR: It's true, that the storm clouds that night were --- (pauses)
CALLBACK: Describe your balls!
NARRATOR -- heavy, black, and pendulous, and towards which they were heading.

Several versions of the callback script exist. (See this link for an example.) Rather than rely on the audience to provide all the callbacks, our production had a couple of cast members playing audience members, seated strategically to "heckle" the performing cast members. As such, you can see quite a few of these callback lines on the shirt.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:21 PM
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Default Re: Got a theater gig for this summer... looks like fun!

Ah, now it makes sense. I was never in deep enough to learn all the callbacks.

But I did play “Time Warp” a few million times back in the day with a top-40 band.
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