Filtering by Tag: The Fantasticks

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

Who Did It???

With one show closing, two more BEGIN!!!

As sad as I was to say "goodnight, sweet prince" to El Gallo and The Fantasticks, It's been an absolute pleasure breathing a new kind of life into the show Violet: The Musical here at Festival 56. This show is an absolute blast.

In Violet I play the aptly named "Father" who is the unfortunate parent who accidentally scarred his daughter's face with an axe. This show, although given a few chances in the spotlight with Broadway and large scale presentations, I truly believe is best delivered in the manner we're doing it here at Festival 56. Most of the actors are musicians and sing in the ensemble and play in the pit. The evening becomes a story telling concert that seamlessly moves from image to image while keeping true to the musical styles of the people involved with the story.

I've truly come to appreciate this show. I still believe it has some flaws, but it's got true heart and depth that really resonate with people, and honestly it's an immensely enjoyable performing experience.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

That's How you CLOSE a SHOW!!!

This Past Weekend we CLOSED The Fantasticks here at Festival 56

Yeah, I'm pretty bummed to be saying goodbye to a show that I've truly grown to adore...fortunately for El Gallo it's merely a see you later. But, in regards to THIS Fantasticks, this cast, this set, and this unique dynamic, the chapter is ended. But, while we had time with quill, ink, and scratch parchment, we told some wonderful stories and made some incredible memories. I feel a deeper connection with several other human beings in the world now that I did not previously. The art enhanced our happen stance meeting and I'm forever grateful because of it.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

A Tornado Stopped Our Show!!!

In ALL my time on stage, not ONCE has a live show been halted to a complete stop...until Wednesday night.

This week started off with a blitzkrieg of Violet: The Musical. We put a LOT of work towards getting Violet ready for the space/tech once The Fantasticks closes. This show is going to be very different than the usual presentation. The actors are frequently also the band and we are utilizing a lot of different props and set pieces to create numerous atmospheres without flying in obvious things like a bed, bus seats, and the usual scenery.

I'm really enjoying telling the story of Father in Violet. He's very human. His story is very tangible, and I think a lot of people see much of their own fathers in his words and story. Plus, I get to revisit my old passion of playing the strings. Remembering how to navigate the fingerboard, positions, fifths, harmonics, slides, all sorts of style induced by vibrato. Really cool stuff.

 

Now back to Tornadoes.

Wednesday was our first day back to The Fantasticks after two days away from it. We had a brilliantly packed matinee, a crowd bused over specifically for our show. They loved every bit of it. We were all giggly with happiness from the highly spirited show, but that led us all to feel a little under-energized for the evening (something that was cured by energy drinks and ridiculous backstage antics.)

Already a strange show, a Wednesday evening crowd is usually not the most vibrant, yet we were prepared to give them our very best regardless! The weather that had been brewing over the past few days swung between a little too cold for summer, boiling heat, and a heavy rainfall. This evening was no different, but the dark clouds promised some specifically eventful happenings.

We were just about to complete Act 1. El Gallo (me) had just "died" by the hand of Matt when the sirens started to leak into the theater. With much comedic flair I had laid my 6'4" 200lb frame on the ground when the stage manager called the show to a halt. Unfortunately we were put into a position where it was a bit difficult to maintain character and composure, a few of the actors and audience members were genuinely concerned. Being a native Oklahoman, I've lived out similar scenarios (although never during a show) all throughout my life. I wasn't concerned and was kind of hoping that we'd just continue on with the show. But, the siren was rather loud and I'm sure it was quite concerning to the audience unaware of the severity of the warning.

When we returned from intermission I could frequently hear weather alerts going off in the audience and backstage, sometimes for neighboring counties and of course the pending Flash Flood warning...

In the end, everyone was fine...but it was a rather interesting evening/show that created a unique experience for this wonderful group of people.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Opening of The Fantasticks at Festival 56

"IT'S THE DAY OF THE SHOW, Y'ALL."

This past weekend has been a hell of a ride. A lot of rehearsals, a lot of long nights, early mornings, and finally - an opening night weekend for one of my absolute favorite shows: The Fantasticks.

Shows are created by lots of individuals, and due to the requirements of being an actor I'm not necessarily aware of all the factors that go into a show. This weekend I finally feel like I have an idea of what kind of community it takes to truly put on a show, and it's amazing to see how invested all of these people become in a production.

For The Fantasticks at Festival 56, it has become truly a heartfelt adventure. I adore this story and I truly believe it has the power to move people from all walks of life. It's universal and timeless. It's a masterpiece. And when you perform a show like this, you feel like you're a part of something bigger than yourself.

I've loved walking and talking in the diverse and transformative skin of El Gallo. Narrator, magician, showman, salesman, poet, romantic, bandit. But, most of all, a loving and understanding teacher who does what is necessary to help us all grow - casting off his own real desires in the process. These past 4 performances have given me just a taste, I'm so excited for the 5 coming up next week and the production I'll be performing in Connecticut later in the summer.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

The Tech Week Grind

Tech Week is a Grind

This past week has been a never ending stream of 13 hour days. That means 4 hours of rehearsal in the morning, three hours in the afternoon and 4 more to cap off the evening.

There are a LOT of pieces to the puzzle that is a full production. The actors, singers, dancers, and people in the pit are simply one part. There are costumes, lights, amplification, and dozens of individuals who make up a show. Many of which you might never know of. Everything leading up to tech week belongs to the actors and directors. BUT, tech week belongs to the people who make your set, lights, and costumes shine like diamonds.

At times the tech week grind can get gruesome. I've had some shows where tech feels like it never ends and you're unable to move past the first scene without the light board. Fortunately for this production of The Fantasticks, tech week has been immensely productive.

Tonight, Friday - June 17th, at 7:30 is opening NIGHT! I'm very excited to give this show to the audience. I can't wait to hear how they respond to this beautiful story.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

I Am So Sorry

A Snap in Time

In times of suffering, one must look towards the positive things in life and count each and every blessing that is bestowed upon them. Life is a short burst, and sometimes things happen that make that burst a snap in time.

I do not know the answer to why such horrible things happen, nor am I interested in pointing a finger at a religion or a belief. I can only offer my sympathies and condolences to those who are suffering beyond anything I could ever know. The only other thing that I can offer is the abilities that have been bestowed upon me and the ones I have been crafting for years to give people an escape: My art. I hope someone can find value in them.

 

"You go ahead, Henry. I'll be right there."

The past few days have been extremely productive and progressively overwhelming. It's hard to feel like a part of the same world where events like Orlando occur when you're immersed in your craft. Yet the two coexist.

While working diligently on The Fantasticks here at Festival 56, we've already begun work on our next show - Violet: The Musical. The progressing work load has led me to feel like I'm playing a perpetual game of "catch up." But, having just performed a full run through of The Fantasticks I have so much confidence that we're going to put up an AMAZING show...this week is Tech Week and Opening.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Better LATE than NEVER

Friends, Romans, Countrymen...Ya boy, Ol' Yeargain has been a VERY Productive fella.

Today (6/12/2016) the cast of The Fantasticks at Festival 56 did our first ever full run of the show. I'm so VERY proud of our cast and crew. They are so smart, so dedicated, and eager to bring an INCREDIBLE product to the stage. We're in such a great place artistically. I have a lot of pride in this product and I'm EAGER to give this story to an audience as we start adding more and more elements to the process in the coming days.

That being said, a great deal outside of The Fantasticks has occurred. The majority of the cast and crew of Festival 56 has arrived in Princeton, nearly doubling the company as a whole. Lot's more people to meet and learn from. And while half of them spend the majority of the day preparing for the production of Winter's Tale, we are all meeting up in the evening to rehearse Violet: The Musical.

So, now that we've locked in a fairly solid Fantasticks, our adventures with Violet and her bus ride to Tulsa, OK has just begun! But having heard all of these wonderful artists sing at our first cabaret, I'm positive that we're going to have some EPIC shows this summer. I hope you all will continue to follow THE VLOGS to see all of the great backstage happenings!

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

This Was Unexpected

I'm a week in here at Festival 56, and it's a jam and a half.

We've been working really hard on putting together The Fantasticks. I'm very proud of the work I was able to put in prior to coming to Princeton, but the one thing I couldn't anticipate was how physically demanding the role of El Gallo was.

When I saw the Off-Broadway Production in New York I knew the role required a lot of physical acting, and the man playing El Gallo had a lot of physical similarities to Jim Carrey - so the bar has been set high!!!

So, despite getting restless sleep and still putting in the hours in the gym, I've been doing my best to bring my absolute best to the physicality of El Gallo. I feel that it's going to be a dynamite product. But, make sure you stay tuned and keep watching The Vlogs to keep abreast of the Situation!!!

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Not a Typical Work Day

Most People don't get what Actor's really do. And I admit before I made the step towards being a singer/actor I had no clue as well. The complexity of rehearsals, the long days that seem to disappear within minutes. The days fading into nights, the sleepless hours you lay in bed thinking about the previous day blending into the next. Thinking how you're going to work hard and be better at your job. How you want to be the best, sing beautifully, act honestly, nail the choreography, be early, be attentive, be present.

But not for a promotion. Not for a bonus check. Not for your mom, your dad, your granny or your friends. Most of the time it's not even for the director or administrative staff.

In the end it's for you, the art, and the audience.

The Holy Trinity.

I love my job. And Here at Festival 56, my job's not only fun, it's easy, it's invigorating, it's EXCITING! And I'm surrounded by some super stars. Good Times, team.

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

New Pastures for an Old Cowboy

After driving 11 hours in my 2008 Dodge Caliber, I landed in the beautiful community of Princeton, IL. Thus has begun my season at Festival 56.

Last night we had our first music rehearsal for The Fantasticks. I'm so happy to be WORKING. Singing this rich, beautiful show that has so much substance and history, yet packaged in such a simple, sweet tale.

I've met my cast mates, the company who are constantly working to produce this stage magic, and I've found my gym (anytime fitness) so I'm feeling rather balanced here.

This place reminds me a lot of Indianola, IA and my two summers at Des Moines Metro Opera. Very similar landscape, but Princeton has got even more little town charm. And I'm also a different guy. More muscles, more experience, but also a lot more cuts and bruises.

I'm going to have a blast. Here's the first installment of The Illinois Vlogs...

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Learning SKILLZ for Roles

I've learned to NOT back down from a challenge.

As an actor you're asked to perform characters that have traits, skills, or talents that you may NOT naturally posses.

The movement makes the man. After all, often times a person wraps themselves in their talents, and it influences how their body mechanics work. So, it's imperative that you're very familiar with patterns, the lingo, the things that your character has practiced for hours on end.

It's tradition in The Fantasticks for El Gallo to enter during the Overture and juggle 3 oranges. When I accepted the two contracts that are coming up, I did NOT know how to juggle 3 oranges. Nor did I know how to juggle three scarves, or tissues, or whatever. But, I did know how to use YouTube and I had time and a lot of patience. So I learned the patterns and I practiced, practiced, practiced.

And yeah, I Learned!!!

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Digging Deep into The WORDS!

I'm so deep into learning The Fantasticks that I'm practically losing myself!!!

But in all seriousness I feel like I've been eating, breathing, and sleeping the sights, sounds, and visceral touch of this piece. Lately I've been digging deep into the text of the show and the style that it's written in.

At the time The Fantasticks was written everyone was trying to recreate the monumental powerhouse Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt originally tried to make The Fantasticks one of these recreations. But, the product just didn't work. The Fantasticks was meant to be it's own special animal. And it clearly sets itself a part from most musicals with the manner it chooses to communicate!

Tom Jones borrowed literary techniques utilized by Shakespeare in the form of blank and rhymed verse. This dialogue elevates the simplistic events taking place and reinforces the mythic and fable like storytelling. And because verse is based so much on rhythm, its as if the music never stops and the energy continues throughout the piece!

The question of "Who El Gallo Is" still lingers. But, having looked and poured over The WORDS, I feel like I've come to a conclusion:

El Gallo, with the help of The Mute, are exactly what and who are needed at any given time. So, he moves in and out of the scene like a chameleon. At the beginning he's the narrator, but more importantly he's the bridge between you (the audience) and the story and the actors. Then he's the salesman, The human farce to help sell the cardboard moon. In Act II he's the god like father figure teaching each child a lesson...despite "hurting himself" through the process. He's always what is needed, but not always what he wants. I

hope you guys enjoy The Video!!! Leave a comment or a thumbs up if you do!

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Who is El Gallo?

Ever since I became a full time actor I've had to expand in my mind what it truly means to WORK. There is the auditioning side of an actors life that is constantly being honed and perfected. And once you've booked a job, the preparation for the role begins.

Before, When juggling multiple jobs (delivery, personal trainer, chorus member) at times I would short change some things. Don't get me wrong, I always show up knowing all of my notes and rhythms and having them as close to memorized as possible. But sometimes I wouldn't delve past what was in the show's libretto.

I wouldn't be too upset with myself if I had not read the source material. Or if I hadn't read all of the online sources available for that role, that show, that time period, or whatever may be available for the expansion of my knowledge for that project.

Fortunately I've been lucky enough to work with many directors who are not only knowledgeable, but very accommodating and eager to educate their cast. I have yet to perform a show without feeling well acquainted with the material as a whole. But that doesn't excuse the fact that sometimes I didn't do my homework.

This changes NOW!

In an effort to not only educate myself, but also give you guys a look into what an actor thinks, sees, and breathes into a piece I've decided to continuously film my explorations and findings.

I'm currently in LOVE with telling stories through film and my skills as a video editor are growing by the day! My goal with these videos is to educate. To motivate. To innovate. And (most IMPORTANTLY) to Entertain. So please enjoy the videos!

The first videos in this series centers around my upcoming performances of El Gallo in The Fantasticks with Festival 56. You can watch the first video that explains the show and the character in depth RIGHT HERE! The Second episode can be watched here:

 

If you're not already, please SUBSCRIBE to The YouTube Channel. If you liked a video, please show it some love with a "thumbs up" and/or a comment!

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain

Post Concert Musings and Pre Gig Preparation!

Welcome to the very first blog post of my singing website! I've had lots of practicing typing up a storm on my fitness websites (TheOperaBro.com and OperaBroTraining.com) but I had yet to type my thoughts on this - my virtual presentation of my singing resume!

I have two current thoughts that I feel compelled to discuss: My Concert Last Week and My Upcoming performances with Festival 56.

 

"That's When I Miss You."

While singing Magaldi in Evita with Broward Stage Door in Florida I found myself with ample amounts of time to practice and a hunger for some new repertoire. I had been given some new song suggestions by my coach in New York City and was singing up a storm. But my belief is that without a performance looming, songs practiced will never become "performance ready."

Knowing that I would have some time between gigs in my hometown of Oklahoma City, I set out to put together all of this new repertoire and perform a concert for the peeps at home.

Learning notes and rhythms is only part of the equation. Putting together a concert takes a LOT of work. You need a venue, you need a pianist, and you need butts in seats! At times I was so stressed and preoccupied putting together logistics that I had all but forgotten that I had to SING the show!

All that being said, the show was a huge success. I could not have been more pleased with the turnout and the response to the music and stories from that gorgeous crowd.

 

Walls, Dolls, Buses and Beaches.

Now that I've completed my concert I've got LOTS of really cool stories, music, and creativity to work on for the SUMMER!!! You can see the list of shows I'll be performing by going to my NEWS page on this website.

It's been a while since I've had to prepare this much repertoire all at once. And although it can be intimidating, it's a labor of LOVE! When I was in Human Anatomy they described learning a sizeable amount of information as "eating the elephant." They would say "the best way to do it is just one piece at a time." And although I failed that class HORRIBLY, the lessons learned have STUCK!

That being said, I'm WAY ahead of schedule. And I'm so excited about the rep I'm performing that I've gone full tilt. And I'm doing my best to take you guys along the journey! I'm putting together a YouTube series on preparing one of my favorite roles this summer: El Gallo in The Fantasticks!

Until Next Time,

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

Kasey (Ol') Yeargain