Fast Times in Philadelphia

If you had asked me a year ago where I'd be, I never thought I'd say singing Edward Rutledge in 1776 in New Jersey and playing the violin in between scenes.

And yet, here I am…

Approximately 7 weeks ago, I stumbled across a posting for 1776 on backstage.com. I auditioned (after juggling multiple responsibilities in the process) and was given the role of Edward Rutledge, the representative from South Carolina.

This production was “The show that almost wasn't.” It was a lengthy rehearsal process due to the schedule limitations of the theater (located at a Jewish Community Center, no Friday rehearsals or shows to observe the holidays) and the numerous adult males in the cast who were juggling their day jobs and their life responsibilities and needed to be excused from multiple rehearsals. I, too, had my own set of conflicts that prevented me from being there at all call times, so no judgement.

This show demands a lot of it's actors. It's a musical that has very few musical numbers and extensive dramatic scenes. The show requires a LOT of older male actors, which if you're familiar with this business, you know that that particular bunch is slim pickins. We had more than a few people who had to drop the project or enter into the process at a much later time. We didn't even have a full run through with the entire cast until opening night! So, at times the process was stressful...but, in the end, this production was a lot of fun.

This group of guys and gals were a bunch of rag tag misfits who had hearts the size of Manhattan. Truly wonderful people that always found a joke in everything, were eager to rehearse and enjoyed each others company. Just a lovely bunch of people.

Now...why am I playing the violin?

Two days before opening night the pit was starting to assemble. And to my surprise there was no violinist (the show had a small budget...to say the least). In the show is a song entitled "He plays the violin" and it has an extensive violin solo. Without the sound of a violin the number loses a bit of it's authenticity, which is a shame considering how great the actors were on stage. So, I offered my abilities to the musical director and that evening I had the book in my hand.

The Violin part was...much harder than originally anticipated. But I was grateful for the challenge. Edward Rutledge has one of the hardest songs in the show "Molasses to Rum," but for the most part he has very little stage time. I had frequent breaks between my scenes and picking up the violin in those down times allowed me to have a much more interesting evening of performing and allowed me to regain some of my former chops with the bow and fiddle!

Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best Doing It.

Kasey (Ol’) Yeargain

LIFE in New York City

Shaking Hands, kissing babies, and making moves.

Life in New York City moves fast, and if you're going to make it you've got to hustle even faster. Carly and I each have multiple jobs and sometimes our jobs require us to commute. I'm very fortunate to have a handful of performing opportunities. But performances require rehearsals, and rehearsals require TIME!

These past few weeks I've been bouncing back and forth between New Jersey and Manhattan. I'm currently rehearsing for 1776 at The Palisades Players and I also have a church job in New Jersey. Carly works on the upper west side in the city and we bounce between Hudson heights and midtown. A tremendous amount of time is spent booking it from one location to another while making moves online when we find ourselves with an open minute.

Work. Work. Work.

But, Carly and I are finding the joy in everything and loving the "rise." We're not where we want to be financially, artistically, or set in our dream apartment yet. But, we've got each other. That's what's most important. That can't be earned or worked for, that's a gift from the universe and I'm grateful to receive it.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best doing It.

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Too Many Things

Don't Create, Document.

There have been way too many life events, professional and otherwise that have just blown by over the past few weeks. I hate that I must begin this blog post with regret, but unfortunately the act of living the moment frequently overshadowed the documentation of said moments. This combined with my anal retentive means of documenting has stunted my ability to just SHARE! So, forgive me if the quality isn't always on par - I'm attempting to document, not necessarily create.

Career

I have projects coming up. Specifically two readings of New Musicals and a few performances of an old "War Horse" musical.

On October 3rd I'll be performing Michael Finsbury in a reading of a musical adaption of the Robert Louise Stevenson Farce The Wrong Box composed by Kit Goldstein. We have two shows at the Opera America Center here in Manhattan!

On November 11th (my birthday!) I am performing Maximo in a reading of a new musical called "Ciao, Bambino" by Liz Turner.

And lastly (but not leastly) I am singing the role of Edward Rutledge in 1776 with The Palisades Players in Tenafly, New Jersey. I role that was championed by John Cullum, a vocal legend!

In between rehearsals I am constantly scrambling for auditions, scrambling for performance opportunities, submitting for anything and anyone who cares to look or listen. I average between 1-3 auditions per week, some big some small. All of them I give 110%.

 

Training

Training has been consistent, I never miss a day. However, the training has become increasingly more difficult. It is tremendously difficult to progress your strength in the Squat and Deadlift when you are walking everywhere or are required to stand for hours on end. And with my Bench Press continuing to be my weakest lift, the big three are suffering.

However, I've recently changed up my training split to allow for me to develop in other ways since strength progression isn't coming in the manner I'd prefer. Before I was doing an Upper, Lower, Rest Split. Now, I've moved to a Push, Pull, Legs split. If you don't know what that is, I suggest you google it.

The results have proven positive thus far. I'm already seeing small improvements, which is difficult considering this is my third year of consistent training. Gainz don't come easy, yet they are coming.

 

Life

Life is glorious. I'm in love, I'm healthy, and I'm living in the most magnificent city in the world. But, living in the city is hard. Everything here is expensive. It takes a long time to get anywhere. Everyone wants the same thing you want and they want it before you do. It's the biggest pool of talent in the world. Everyone is a big fish here. The small fish were eaten long ago...or, they lasted past all the other small fish. Avoided getting eaten, got stronger, ate as much kelp and micro animals they could hunt down. They grew from small little fish, to medium fish, to being a big, bad-ass fish. Their secret is simple: Survive. Work hard and survive.

 

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best Doing It.

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

"I've Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua"

I love revisiting old performances. Especially when someone else recorded them and sends me the video footage!

This Video was taken from a live performance at the "Late Night, Cabaret" at Festival 56 in Princeton, IL. This Features Nick Towns (Pianist/Back Up Vocals) and Shannon Hill (EMCEE and Artistic Director of Festival 56)

"I've Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua" - Kiss Me, Kate

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best Doing It.

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Goats and Barbells

Things in Connecticut are definitely different...I've been spending a lot of time with Goats and Barbells

I've just began rehearsals for The Fantasticks here in Bethlehem, CT with the Clay and Wattles Theater. It's like wearing an old hat. I haven't forgotten a word, a note, or the feelings that come from singing these songs and reciting this poetry. I love this show and feel that it's an exceptionally important piece of art. I hope that I can share my joy of it for years to come.

The most interesting part about life here in CT is the cast housing. It's on a beautiful piece of property that also serves as a farm and houses two giant, beautiful Swiss Mountain Dogs. There are lots of sights and sounds that I haven't seen since my time in Upstate New York. Amazing place!

But, just because I'm rehearsing in CT doesn't mean that I'm not in New York City...because I am. Every other day I'm driving, living, sleeping and WORKING in the Big Apple.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best Doing It.

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

My New Life

I've always considered myself a bit of a Vagabond. And this past half of a year I did just that. I went from gig to gig, contract to contract in different states, going wherever the job and wind blew me.

But that was my old life...this is My New Life.

In Princeton, IL while performing with Festival 56 I met a beautiful gal. We fell for each other in the kind of way you only read in books. So, when our contracts ended and she went back home to New York, I had no choice but chase after. So, here I am back in New York City. I'm auditioning, doing readings and gigs, and beginning my contract with The Clay and Wattles Theater at The Gary The Olivia Theater in Bethlehem, CT...which just so happens to be only 2 hours away from the big apple...

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best Doing It.

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

"Before and After You / One Second and a Million Miles" from The Bridges of Madison County

"Before and After You / One Second and a Million Miles" from The Bridges of Madison County

I remember the first time I had ever heard this song. I was so impacted by the storytelling, the beauty of the music, the incredibly diverse and lush orchestration.

My last week in Princeton, IL at Festival 56 was mostly focused on performing Brighton Beach Memoirs, but I knew that I wanted to make this performance of this piece very special.

Anna Dvorchak and I had already developed a wonderful working relationship during our time as Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls earlier that summer. I knew she had a gorgeous legit voice but also a tremendous contemporary sound. When she's aged into the character, she'll make an exquisite Francesca, she already sings the hell out of the music.

Lauren Wainwright is an excellent actress, singer and a fantastic violinist. We played together in Violet (her more so than me!) I asked Lauren if she'd be interested in playing with me and Anna on this song and I'm so happy I did. She played brilliantly and so amazingly bold. It was the perfect addition and it truly enhanced the experienced for all involved.

Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Your Absolute Best Doing It,

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain