Carolers Caught on Camera! December 7, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
Yes, video has surfaced of four merry carolers giving some very important advice to all the children out there!
Soprano – Jenelle Sosa
Alto – Brooke Bergin
Tenor – Rich McNanna
Bass – Jeffrey Fiorello
Video shot by Lespia Brandt on November 27th at Plaza 35 in Sea Girt, NJ.
Here’s that early Christmas miracle! December 4, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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I finally got around to making a professional page for people to be able to connect with me on Facebook. Just go here: www.facebook.com/jenellesosa , like it, and you’ll get shenanigans in your news feed!
I think what’s more exciting for me is I get to debut the shiny new buttons I made for all the social media sites! You can check them out on my website www.jenellesosa.com in the top navigation bar. I’ll wait…………………………………SHINY, RIGHT?!?!!
I’ll catch you all around the interwebs. I’ll be the one laughing at cat videos.
Caroler Sighting! November 28, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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We had a beautiful day to sing outside at Plaza 35 in Sea Girt, NJ. To try and catch us in your area follow me on Twitter ; I’ll be posting all our public appearances till the season ends. Feel free to share your photos too!
Workshops and Wassailing November 18, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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There are a lot of steps before a play gets to the point where you can sit in seats and watch it with the lights off. I’m very luck to have been asked to participate in a lot of those early steps on a number of plays recently!
I recently participated in a script development reading of the play, Marius by Marcel Pagnol. This play, the first in a trilogy, has been a beloved favorite in France and its characters iconic. I played Fanny, a character who continues to grow throughout the trilogy, but even in part one already knows who she is, how the world works, and what she wants.
The trap with many plays with characters who fall into the “young lover” category is that they are either written as all stars, and flower, and dreams, or they go the opposite extreme and are jaded, bitter, and “broken”. As everyone knows there is a LOT of ground in between those two extremes that most real people fall in to. What I loved about this character was that Pagnol recognized this and created someone who was attuned to the world, particularly the working-class town she lives in, but who is still a “good girl,” with a youthful exuberance to go after what she wants. Hopefully I’ll get to revisit the character!
This December I’ll be doing a lot more workshopping as part of Playwrights Theatre’s Forum Playreading Series. This is a three-week event where audiences will be introduced to new plays that have been in development and are ready to take the next step in front of an audience. Week 1 will focus on plays for young audiences, Week 2 will contain plays by New Jersey Playwrights, and Week 3 will be works from playwrights across the country. After each reading the audience is invited and encouraged to stay and speak with the director and playwright of each piece and discuss the play. It’s a valuable part of the process where the audience can really play a part in how a play becomes a full production.
I’ll be participating in 5 readings this year:
Tuesday, November 29 at FDU @ 7:00pm
Wednesday, November 30 at The Growing Stage @ 7:00pm
THE LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD SHOW
Sunday, December 4 at The Growing Stage @ 1:00pm & 7:00pm
Friday, December 9th at FDU @ 7:00pm
Monday, December 12th at FDU @ 7:00pm
SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS
Wednesday, December 14th at FDU @ 7:00pm
For a full list of dates, plays, and playwrights visit: http://www.ptnj.org/forum.php
And finally, with the weather jumping back and forth between snow and 70 degrees it’s hard to tell what season it is, but rest assured that the hoop skirt and bonnet in my closet means it can only be one season – Caroling Season!
I will be performing for my second season with The Yuletide Carolers and adding atmosphere and holiday spirit to many venues throughout The Garden State. For almost 15 years The Yuletide Carolers have taken the age-old tradition of caroling or, “wassailing” and turned it into an elegant art form. With elaborately detailed costumes, and intricate four-part harmony the Carolers are regarded as one of the best in the entertainment industry. I’ll try to post some public appearances as I get them but if you stumble upon us on your own feel free to say hello, request a song, or even take a picture! For more information on how you can book the carolers for your own private party or event please contact them through their website: www.theyuletidecarolers.com
And don’t worry; my first engagement of the season IS after Thanksgiving. After Turkey Day the Holidays are fair game.
Fully Completed! – Wrapping up Fully Committed November 7, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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Fully Committed is over, friends! I am hanging up my headset, and “the 40” are fading back into the mist. I’m so glad to have been able to share this production with you; some for a second or third time! Some of you have asked if I plan to do the show again. As of right now I have no solid plans to do the show again anytime in the near future. But then 3 years ago I never once suspected that I would be doing the show for a second time so anything is possible!
Right now I’m looking forward to working on things where I actually have someone to talk to backstage! I continue to tour with Pushcart Players, and as the holiday season approaches I’m starting rehearsals with The Yuletide Carolers. We’ll be spreading holiday music and atmosphere across the entire state of New Jersey. If you spot us, say hello! I’ll also be playing Fanny in a developmental reading of a French play Marius, by Marcel Pagnol. This play was adapted and translated into English by Brian Corrigan and I look forward to being a part of it!
I’m also looking forward to seeing my amazingly talented friends perform. I’ll be attending Dreamcatcher Repertory’s production of Next Fall, which has been getting rave reviews from press and audiences alike. For tickets visit their event page on Brown Paper Tickets.
So, before I move on from October and put Fully Committed back in its box I wanted to answer a few more questions I’ve gotten and haven’t had a chance to respond to. Thanks as always for your kind emails and to the unofficial “Fully Committed Street Team” who spread the word about the show!
FULLY COMMITTED FAQ – Part 2!
(ANSWERS MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
What happens if you get sick?
Much like Sam, nothing! I drag my ass to work! I have in fact been sick during performances of the show. Obviously if I needed to be hospitalized or was nodding in and out of consciousness the performance would need to be postponed or cancelled, but anything short of that – the show must go on.
Do you ever mess up?
Of course! In that respect this play is no different than any other live theatrical experience. Of course there’s nothing like nailing a perfect performance with not a detail out of place, but me and the folks running the show are all human beings so of course we might make a mistake mid-performance. The point is to not let anyone know. And if they did notice they were VERY kind not to say anything 😉
How is the play different with a man playing the role?
It is and it isn’t. Sam is obviously a unisex name and the writer did that on purpose so that either a male or female could play the role. Sam is an everyman and meant to be the one the audience identifies with. In that respect it doesn’t really matter what sex Sam is because Sam is a universal PERSON put into a horrible situation and then getting out.
But of course there are some differences. One technical difference is that with a male Sam Jenny Miller becomes Jerry Miller. A man competing against a woman or vice versa doesn’t have the same urgency in general, and they certainly would not be competing for the same role at Lincoln Center.
Sam’s relationship with her dad doesn’t change except in the audience’s perception perhaps. There’s a father/son bond and a father/daughter bond and sometimes one will resonate over the other with some audience members.
With a female Sam we found opportunities for her to be sexually objectified by the men in the play, to add a whole other level of stress for Sam who already has to deal with so much. Hector blows her kisses, the Chef calls her from bed and sounds like a phone sex operator, and Ned Finlay’s smarmy tactics to get a table take on a new tone with a woman answering the phone.
I have never seen a production of the show so I would be interested to see it with a man to see what choices that actor makes.
Is ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ in the script or was it changed/added because a woman was playing Sam?
The Lady is a Tramp story line IS part of the original script. In our production it was a fitting end to the show because when Sam sings it as she leaves it feels like an anthem of empowerment. Like the lady of the song she’s not going to take any more nonsense! I don’t know how the song is interpreted in other productions with a male Sam but I would be interested to see!
What happens to Sam?????
I’ve loved hearing peoples’ theories on this because it means that they identified with Sam and wanted her to win which was always our goal for both productions. I was really happy that people cared so much about her!
If I had to theorize I would say in a nutshell – Sam has a final callback for Lincoln Center and does meet with Bernard Gerstein. I think that he finds Sam’s attitude and “realness” refreshing compared to someone like Jenny who has created the “persona” of JENNY MILLER. And in all fairness Sam does give a very good audition. So to keep things realistic I’d say Sam DOESN’T get the part she auditioned for because it goes to a name star. She is however offered a part in the ensemble and is made understudy to several roles including the one she auditioned for. Sam quits the restaurant and gets to be on Broadway, and maybe taken a little bit more seriously by her agent. Above all, she does get to home for Christmas with dad…and he shows her the episode of Glee he can’t stop talking about.
Kudos All Around! October 24, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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October is winding down but things are still pretty busy. Fully Committed plays for one more week at the NJ Arts Incubator in West Orange. Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets or at the door, though getting them in advance is the safer bet to guarantee a seat.
I’m also very pleased to share our reviews with you below. We’re all so proud of the show and I’m so very thankful to the entire production team for their hard work in bringing the show back better than ever!
If you’ve seen the show you can leave a comment on any of our reviews, or on our Brown Paper Tickets page, and of course any “likes” on Facebook and Retweets are always appreciated! I’ve also gotten some very lovely emails from people about the show, thanks to all who took the time to send them. I can’t always meet everyone after performances so you can always feel free to email me. I do read every single one!
Click on the banner to read the full review online!
And since we’re on the subject of Kudos I have one of my own to give. This past Saturday I was very honored to participate in a special performance at Papermill Playhouse of Let Freedom Ring! with Pushcart Players. This play has been a staple in Pushcart’s repertory for many years and on this particular fall morning was adapted to be sensory friendly for families who have members on the Autism spectrum. After the performance there was a meet and greet in the courtyard where the audience could meet the actors, ask questions, or take pictures.
Pushcart Players first offered a special sensory friendly performance last year for Autism Awareness month and has expanded this year to two. For those who missed this Saturday’s performance there will be a performance of Red Riding Hood and Other Stories in April, also at Papermill Playhouse (see site for details). I’m very proud to work with a company that believes that all people deserve to be entertained and inspired by live theater. They have worked tirelessly to expand programming and from meeting the children and families after the show I have seen first hand that their hard work is appreciated and invaluable.
If anyone would like to learn more about Pushcart Players or how to bring programming to your venue or organization please contact them via their website – pushcartplayers.org
Fully Committed FAQ October 18, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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Greetings from Arizona!
Fully Committed opened last Thursday and West Orange was introduced to Sam and company! Our audiences grew every day and by Sunday we were adding seats. We had some repeat visitors who remembered the first production, some new friends who wanted to see what the buzz was about, and through the maverick spirit of Theater Project managing director Gary Glor we even got some people off the street. It’s hard to say no to a man in a red ringmaster’s coat.
After Sunday’s matinee I was thrown into a car to the airport to make a flight out to Arizona where I’ll be performing with Pushcart Players. A few days out here among cacti and then it’s back on a plane to re-open Fully Committed for its second week.
It’s been a whirlwind, but I’ve had a moment to get caught up on things including some emails and comments about Fully Committed. I’ve been getting a lot of questions from people about the show and I decided to post some of the answers here for easy access.
Thanks so much to everyone for their comments and kind words! If you haven’t seen the show yet you can still get tickets through Brown Paper Tickets. If you have seen the show feel free to leave a comment on our event page and help spread the word!
WARNING: SOME OF THESE ANSWERS CONTAIN SPOILERS
Some folks want to know…..
- How did you memorize the entire play?
This is probably the question I get asked the most and I’m sorry it doesn’t have a more interesting answer! Overall I’m very fortunate to have been blessed with a very good memory for memorizing text, lines, blocking, and other things that go along with being an actor. It was especially helpful for this play, but there was really no extra “trick” or “secret” to memorizing the entire show. It was just rehearsal and time spent in rehearsals going over the material. It had been about 3 years since the last production, so once we got the green light that it was going to be closing the season I took out the script and re-familiarized myself with it briefly while I was working on other projects. Most everything was already in place, the only thing that I really had to nail down was the order in which everyone called and that came back after about the first week or so of rehearsal.
- How long did you rehearse for?
This production rehearsed for 3 weeks starting in September. The amount of days varied depending on the availability of director Rick Delaney, stage manager Stephanie Simons Neal and myself, because we were all working on other projects in addition to this one. The week before we opened we had two days of rehearsal before I had to leave for four days to go to North Carolina to do a show, and then the day I returned we put in all the technical elements of the show which the crew had been working on while I was away. It really was a team effort!
- Are you the only woman to ever play this role?
No, but I’m one of very few. When we first mounted the production in 2008 we did research to see if any women had ever taken on this role because it is traditionally performed by a man (including Rick Delaney himself!) At the time we couldn’t find any news stories online about a woman having done the role so we just shrugged and said, “Well, that’s neat!” With this revival we looked again and did get a few more hits. There was a production at Madison Rep starring a Chicago actor, Amy J. Carle, as Sam, and Amy Stiller (sister of Ben Stiller and part of the Stiller acting dynasty) also performed Sam in Nantucket. But there still aren’t that many instances of women in this role (at least, it seems, not named Amy) and I’m very proud to be able to say I’m one of them!
- Where did you come up with all the characters?
The play was published with a list of each character and a brief line or two about who the person was in the world of the play and sometimes how they had been characterized by Mark Setlock in the original production. When I first did the play in 2008 director Rick Delaney and I sat down together and went through each character and discussed “who they were” and how to characterize them. Though Rick had done the show himself he really let me find and create all the characters myself, and guided my choices or offered suggestions based on the text and the relationships rather than what he had done. I really had a lot of artistic freedom and I was very grateful for that because it made me feel like I really had ownership of all these people. As for the voices and mannerisms, some are based on people I know/have met, (or an amalgamation of several people), and some were invented by me based on how I thought a person like that would act and sound based on their description.
- Who is the hardest character to do?
I’d say vocally the two hardest characters for me are the Chef and Jean-Claude. Chef because he yells A LOT and he doesn’t really show restraint when he does, Jean-Claude because I have to walk a fine line between having this outrageous French accent and annunciating so the audience can understand what he says, and also making him believable as a character. His voice is also a little on the rougher side which is hard on my voice towards the end.
- Who is your favorite/least favorite character?
That’s a very hard one, because as an actor you’re not really supposed to play favorites or judge the characters you play. If I were to take a step outside myself and just look at them as people I would say that one of my favorites is Dad. He’s so sweet, and he means so well. Even though you know he doesn’t quite GET what Sam is going through as an actor and working at this job, he tries! I think the two people that crack me up the most are – Bryce, because he’s so energetic but you know that Naomi Campbell probably has a gun to his head just “off screen,” and most of his energy comes from Red Bull and fear,– And Mr. Decoste because he really just comes out of nowhere and seems like he belongs in a whole other world where men tie you to chairs and ask you, “Vere is ze microfilm?” I’m particularly proud of his characterization because in the character list is just said, “a mysterious stranger,” and the rest was up to me! Least favorite person – Jenny, hands down! I just find her character so loathsome! Whereas someone like the Chef yells at Sam and Bob outright takes advantage of her, Jenny pretends to be Sam’s friend while giving her backhanded compliments and flaunting her own success in her face as an intimidation tactic. I find most actors who see me after the show feel the same way. Everyone knows a Jenny! (or sometimes a “Jerry”)
- Does your voice ever hurt after a show?
When we first started rehearsals I had to get my voice back in shape to be able to sustain the 90 minutes of talking, and switching, and screaming required for this show. It was hard at first because I was also working on multiple projects at the time that required the heavy use of my voice, including singing. I couldn’t “save my voice” for Fully Committed by giving less than 100% vocally to those other projects because they were just as important and deserved my full effort. Thankfully the voice, like any muscle, can be worked and strengthened and get stronger with training. Now I can get through the entire show without pushing much or losing my voice entirely. But don’t ask me to do it twice in a row!
- Has the play changed much from the first time you performed it?
Not too much. We are obviously in a new space and new surroundings and we’re very grateful to the New Jersey Art’s Incubator for housing us this year! There are some technical elements that have changed from the original. For example, the set is more abstract in that it’s not a completely built room but rather pieces of a room that exist in the space. The sound effects that aren’t the phone rings have also changed, and the lighting was also redesigned by our creative team. Also, to keep the show as current as possible we had to go through the script and update certain things like companies that are no longer in business or people who may have passed away in the years since the play was written.
- How do you make the phones ring?
I don’t’! That is the monumental job of our stage manager Stephanie Simons Neal! Most of the time sounds in shows are put on CD and played when the stage manager gives the call. This show requires a bit more precision because the phone rings are so integral to the story. The phone rings are done live by Stephanie using a “tele-cue” which is a device that is actually hooked up to the actual phones on stage, causing them to ring. The sounds of the Chef phone, and the intercom buzzer are also done live by Stephanie.
Have a question about Fully Committed? Feel free to write a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall back? Ha! September 22, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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The industry ebbs and flows but you can never quite tell WHEN. You can estimate that things will be busy in the summer because it’s a time when people want to be entertained. But you can also make the case that by the time summer is here all the projects have been booked for months, and unless you’ve already been booked in advance summer will be slow. Same with winter – you can’t throw a rock without hitting a production of A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and if you find a particularly large rock you can probably hit, A Child’s Christmas in Wales – but it’s never really an exact science.
Fall is proving to be a really busy season for me. Since closing Penny Penniworth with The Theater Project I’ve been working on several overlapping projects. Last year I worked with Pushcart Players, an acclaimed group that tours locally and nationally bringing musicals to young audiences and families. The plays range from traditional fairy and folk tales to original works about history and social issues. This will be my second season for them and I was asked to be in two more shows in addition to the two that I already do. I spent about five rehearsals with the cast and we just opened our first show this past Friday with a two-show day. We have one more show to get on its feet and then we’ll be set for the season, which runs in rep from September till about June. I’m really excited to be touring again and getting to visit states that I’ve never seen. So far in October alone I’ll be heading to North Carolina and Arizona! It’s definitely time to invest in some better luggage.
I’m also pleased to announce that Fully Committed (first performed in 2008) is being revived by The Theater Project as the final show of their 2011 Season. For those not familiar with the show, Fully Committed takes place in the basement office of the most exclusive restaurant in New York City (though it is never officially named). Sam works in said leaky basement taking reservations, and offering customer service to the elite, the famous, and the infamous. The play takes place on the one day her co-workers don’t show up to work, and the universe decides to throw the entire restaurant and Sam’s personal life into chaos. The play was written by Becky Mode and based on her own experience as a coat-check girl in a similar environment, along with her friend Mark Setlock (an actor and server at the same restaurant). Together they collaborated to create Fully Committed as a play written in a traditional style (linear plot, dialogue between characters, an overall story arc), but meant to be performed by one actor. Sam and the 40 or so people that bombard her life will be played by me for 90 minutes Thursday through Sunday starting October 13th! Rehearsals began this week, and I’ll be posting more details as we get closer to opening.
I’ve also been sent out on some interesting auditions including an Independent film yesterday, which was a nice change of pace after working exclusively in Theatre for the past several months. On-camera work is an entirely different beast!
Hopefully this catches you all up, and explains why I had a lull in updating. And now that I’ve used up my spare moment of the week, I’m going to head back to work!
Published Praise for Penny Penniworth July 25, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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I don’t care if the alliterative P’s are getting old, it’s my blog and if you don’t like it get off my lawn!
We’ve gotten four rave reviews for the show and it’s been an unbelievable ride each week hearing how much audiences love it. We’ve been running for two weeks now, and every day we perform the houses are multiplying; between the reviews and word of mouth we’ve even had to add seats at performances.
I feel really blessed that people are so responsive because I am having the BEST time. I don’t care that I’m losing 15 pounds weekly in water weight – actors get to go to work and play with their friends.
Here are our reviews – if you’ve seen the show please feel free to comment either on these reviews’ pages or on our Brown Paper Tickets site – Penny Penniworth – Brown Paper Tickets – if you haven’t seen it yet we run for two more weeks and we’d love to have you!
Penny Penniworth Promos! July 16, 2011Posted by Jenelle Sosa in Uncategorized.
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We’ve had two performances of Penny Penniworth and the reaction has been overwhelming! People really seem to connect with the show, and all of us on the acting/production end are so overwhelmed by the comments and in-person feedback we’ve gotten! We’ve also gotten an amazing review from The West Orange Patch (Side Splitting Laughter at Penny Penniworth).
When I think about how this show almost didn’t happen and then I see how much people love it and how much fun I’m having doing it, I really do get emotional. I hope as many people as possible see, “the little show that could.” As long as people are still laughing I don’t mind wearing 3 layers of tweed!
I’ll leave you with some promo pics from the show:
The cast of Penny Penniworth (Rick Delaney, Terri Sturtevant, Jenelle Sosa, Harry Patrick Christian)
Here’s…it’s easier if you just see the show…
It’s not a show unless someone dips me aggressively!