Ep.73 All We Need Is A Stage (Axandre - Musical Theatre)
5:17AM Jan 20, 2020
Good day everyone you're listening to time for your hobby. And this is Episode 73. All we need is a stage. I'm your host Alex and today I have the honor to have Exxon as my guest on the show. Hi, dude. Hello, I'm good. How are you? Good, good. So this is not excellence first podcasts. Yeah, he's got experience. You didn't tell me this. So now I have to be on my best behavior.
It's fine. It's fine. It's it's a good time. I love it. So I mean, I was glad I was got to hop on.
Yeah, excellent. And I go way back. We've known each other since. Oh, oh, 406.
Something like that.
Yeah, it was like great nine. Great night. You weren't in school in grade seven in school?
No, I was. I was at semi G. And then so I think we'd probably like met in passing, but I like I vividly remember grade nine math class. So I think you sat behind me
there. I had the afro the time, right?
No, I'm completely bald. Anyways, it's not about my shiny, bald, bowling ball head. It's about axon and his lovely presence. So before we jump into the topic of today, who is axon?
I am a fundraiser. I am the occasional actor and singer. And I've been doing that for about four years now. Going on five. But yeah, I'm just a regular dude who likes movies and video games and singing and dancing and karaoke at least once a week.
Yeah, you're a man who does everything in anytime. And today, you know, little acting and karaoke comes into play and connections of what this hobby is today. And hobby is musical theater.
Yeah, it's fun. But before
we start to dive into that, do you have any social media links you would like to share with people? Ah,
I am on Twitter and Instagram at the big screen with two G's. I'm trying to get away from Facebook. So I've deactivated that. But yeah, catch my dumb tweets and funny pictures of pets I like to sit or things I like to draw
not sit on, right? No, no, no, they
usually sit there just sit on my lap.
There you go. That makes more sense. Either way. I'm going to put that in the description below so you guys can go check that out. And now we're going to dive right into the topic. Musical Theater. How did you get introduced to that? So
it goes back it actually goes back to grade nine when we took music. So we were in band. I learned to read music and I learned a bunch of the theory back then. And then I got into or at least I stopped. I stopped playing the tenor sax after high school. So I haven't picked that up again. I had a long time. But I kind of kept all of the I kept all the theory in my head. And I mean, I sing in the shower and stuff and I have I have a good ear is what I discovered in in in high school band. So a friend of mine was helping with this Disney themed musical cabaret show. We were just singing covers of songs with like a piano accompaniment and there was like a bunch of harmonies and stuff. It was really fun. So it was like you should audition and I know you like Disney songs and you like to sing occasionally. And I was like, Alright, fine. I'll do the thing. So I ended up you know, getting on getting onto the cast I saying was it was friend like me from Aladdin. And that's what sparked my love of the genie as a character. And I sang a couple songs from The Lion King some stuff from Frozen. This was back in early 2015. So it was really like my first gig. And then after that the person I met on that cast send me a link audition for hairspray, which was happening at the centerpoint theater that summer. So audition for that I end up getting one of the leads. And this is like my first big gig because Centerpoint is like the second biggest stage in the city. So walking out doing soundcheck after all the rehearsals are done, and we've moved into the theater. I'm just looking up at this thousand seat theater. I'm kind of terrified. So it was a funny way of it's a funny way of kind of getting into it because I don't necessarily have training I guess like most of like my actor and singer friends would I kind of just have a good ear and I like to rely on that, like the music is my favorite part of musical theater. Absolutely. So it's really fun to me. It's really fun to discover new shows and it's funny to try and you know, get those in my repertoire, I guess because you have to pick songs to audition with as well. So I've got kind of a playlist of all that.
Okay, so speaking of which, what song suits you like, what is the x Song Song? So,
I mean, my vocal range is tenor, which like among the man voices is like one of the higher ones. And I generally do prefer songs that are kind of like more more animated in that way. But thankfully, I do have like, I have like a lower speaking voice as well, which kind of translates well to music because I can round I can round out the lower notes and some songs too. So in terms of like, yeah, the quintessential x song, I don't know, maybe, maybe, maybe friend like me because like the genie is one of my dream roles. Like if if someone from like an Aladdin tour or the Broadway show were to call me right now I dropped everything and moved to New York, you know, so the there there there are some others like that. But yeah, friend friend like me, I think is a really good example of this stuff that I like to do for fun, but then there's like this really wide umbrella now that I know more about musical theater and I know more shows, there's a lot more that kind of, I can pick up As favorites, maybe just on the spot. All right, well, we'll
come back to that. Exactly. Okay. So actually On that note, what is your favorite musical theatre performance? Not necessarily like what you did but just in general? Is it a Latin? Or do you have another one that's on your, your, I have to be on this one or this one. I just love so much like a dream show, a dream show or show that you really love let's say the production, how it's made, the musicals, this know everything that's encompasses everything around it.
Um, I was in. I was in New York back in 2016. And I got to see several shows while I was there, I think. Yeah, like, it's because it's like a show that I would love to be in. And also it's a show that just blew my mind. The revival of The Color Purple musical. I think it closed it closed in early 2017. But the production was fantastic. The music was really good. And it was that kind of I don't know, I think I think a lot of the time it's things that are kind of steeped in Black culture and African American culture where the audience is really animated. Like you go you go to you go to movies like I mean get out is kind of a bad example because that would you know strike according anybody but like you go to movies like that and you go see shows like The Color Purple, and the audience is just so into it. We're all just so much louder. It's great. It's I mean, it's it's nice, because it doesn't really do anything to affect the really intense scenes like you know, you know, when you need to be quiet, you know, when it's going to immerse you and something big is happening. But then also, like the songs, the how animated the actors are, you kind of just eat all that up. So I definitely did when I saw the color verbal, but also, the voices were fantastic. The set was like minimal. It was like a bunch of a bunch of wooden chairs that were kind of hanging from the back of the stage. And they were used in a lot of different scenes. Like it was mostly The chairs and you just imagine the rest of it, which is a really cool experience to have when you're just watching a show, like just have small set pieces and the rest is kind of built in your mind because it really it really works when you can just put it all together and block it properly. And then on top of that, yeah, who is it? I'm Cynthia areevo is the was the star of the show. She is I think like five foot something British woman who who's like her the power of her voice is something that I'm jealous of like it punched me in the face. What sometimes when she was singing, so much so that like her about her big solo at the end of the show got a standing ovation before the show was over.
Throw her off.
Oh, I mean, she was you know, she was kind of laughing after it was done because yeah, it was we were clapping for a long time.
Just let me finish.
And then the scene went on. It was Yeah. It was amazing on a It was awesome. So the color purple definitely is like one of my favorite shows that I've seen one of my favorite shows that I love to be in. I also saw Hamilton while I was there, which is another which is another funny story. I was in the cancellation line for about 15 hours.
we got there we got there five in the morning, me and my friend, because we had nothing to do that day. So we just figured, hey, let's give it a shot. So we got in line. We're behind a couple of ladies who were there since 2:45am. Who needs sleep? Right? Right now they're probably just out the previous night. Which is weird cuz it was Wednesday. So they they were able to get unclaimed lottery tickets because Hamilton still running a lottery where if you think you sign up through an app or through a website or something and if you win, you can get front row tickets for like 20 bucks, something like that. So they weren't selling for $20 but still they got front row seats. I think it was like $200 We also paid $200 My friend and I but we got a throw. So we were level with the stage. So it was definitely worth The Wait, it was just a long way. But it was for Yeah, it was a fantastic show. And I'd love to be. George Washington in that show is one of my other dream roles.
Have you ever seen a show more than once?
Not yet, but soon because I saw Mamma mia at Centerpoint. Last summer. Yeah, it was last summer. And a bunch of my friends were in it. And part of the production team as well, like a good friend of mine was the music director. So I got to sit in the pit area with the band as the show was going on. So I mean, I saw like most of what was happening was kind of like from the front of the stage. So it was like, it was really fun. And I got to hear Abba, which I'm a huge fan, that's fine. But a few other friends of mine are working with a different company in town and they're putting on Mamma mia in December. So I'm getting probably gonna go see that again.
Why not? You got nothing to lose. Right? Have a great time.
Have you seen Lion King in New York while you're there? The only reason why I'm mastering because my wife is currently in New York, she said and she saw Lion King she really want to see it man
I would love to I haven't. It was like it was on my list of if I don't see this show, I'm going to go see this show. Right last time I was there like I'm planning on going back at one point this fall, so I'm probably gonna try to go see some other things, but unfortunately, not yet. And I also missed it when it was in town here because I hadn't caught the musical theatre bug yet.
Um, you know, you're you're still young, you got a time, right? Like, I
feel like I missed a lot of good shows that were in town, but it's fine. It's fine. Welcome back.
Okay, I got I have a really tough question for you. If you were to create a musical guy, ya know, what would it be about? How would you structure it? It's a complex question. I'm doing it to you.
I don't. I don't know. Like I'm not as much as I like performing. Yeah, performing other people's stuff. I'm not much. I don't know. I don't see myself I guess as much of a creator and that sense. Like I love Yeah, I love seeing other people's content and Helping them to work on it. But like when it comes to bringing my own ideas forward, I guess it's kind of a that's kind of a weaker spot for me. I don't know. Yeah. What would I write a musical about?
Would it be like historical because there's been that?
You won't come back to that. Yeah, like, I gotta, like, I feel like after this episode, you're gonna go by He's like, you know what, this is what I want to write it right. I'm
gonna get out of here and then just write a million bars as soon as I get
it. Let's Let's rephrase that question. Let's say your friend comes up with a musical would you be the type of person that would help out, like bouncing ideas off of him to try to improve it?
Oh, yeah, for sure. Definitely. And also, like, in terms of the music itself, I feel like I could help with that as well. I'm like trying to teach myself to play to play the piano. Because the music is my favorite part and I've got a got a good ear for it. So and I like one of the shows I did. This past year. I was apprentice music Director. So I was helping out, I was helping out the band helping the music director, like make sure the music itself was properly structured, and that everyone who was singing was singing in the right place. And then there was also a barbershop quartet that I kind of took the lead on. So they were part of the show, but then I taught them most of their music. And barbershop is terrifying. Right? It's great. Like, I didn't know, I didn't know how difficult it might be to put a barbershop quartet together and teach similar music before I actually did it. So I mean, I'm kind of glad that I jumped into the deep end in that sense, but it was Yeah, it was a lot. It was fun, though. It was a really good time. So I'm trying I'm trying to do that more because I think there's like that means like in terms of in terms of theater, I think there's a lack of musicians in town also, like I want to violin the piano so I can, like accompany myself during rehearsals and stuff.
Alright, so I got two questions that popped up in my head right now. The first one, how is the musical theatre community in Ottawa.
It is smaller than places like Toronto or Montreal or anybody. Your city but it is tight. Like is what I've learned you, you meet people and then you find out that they know everybody else, or at least you feel like you've met someone and you've met everybody within like within a big group. So there are there are quite a few different companies in town, both community theater and professional, professional meaning they really like the only difference really sometimes is that they will pay, they will pay the actors. And then community theater companies are mostly volunteer. There's lots of musicians willing to play which is cool. Just I guess fewer willing to direct shows like to come on as music director, but if you need a band, that's definitely something that you can put together. Yeah, it's tight. It's tight knit. Sometimes depending on the people you work with. It can get a little quickie, which I don't like I really just like being Let's all be friends. Let's work on this together. That's definitely more my vibe. And it's luckily like the vibe that I've had. Like, going through the community, I guess I've worked with several people now.
You're a very friendly person. I can't see no one not getting along with you
But no. The other question I had for you is that you said you started doing music trying to teach yourself how to play piano. What is your style of music that you'd like to create?
Well, so I took a few courses. I took a few, like a few piano classes with a good friend of mine, who's played Yeah, it was played piano for years and is played for a lot of different companies in town. And like we were, we were mainly doing like the remedial adult stuff in the beginning. And she was like, Okay, you've got all this down. This is good. So bring me something, bring me some simple stuff that you like, and we'll work on that. And I'll try to it'll try to go that angle. So I end up bringing her some music from video games. Okay, so that we can start to try and play that. So that's the thing like I really I'm interested in Piano both because I want to Yeah, because I'd love to teach people or at least to work with people on musical theatre, but also because I just want to play the stuff that's fun to me. Which is, yeah, covers a lot of different things. I have a folder in my Google Drive that's full of different piano scores. My friend and I, we started working on stuff from Super Mario and Zelda first, and then we kind of went from there. I'm definitely interested in jazz, but it's, it's, it seems way harder to me because of the the improvisational part, like the way you can kind of riff and just do whatever, and the band can follow along, or at least they can follow each other. Just seems really cool and daunting, and it's definitely something that I'd like to do.
Well, you you have you have like the drive I can see you doing doing it eventually and hear me out. If you do create a musical theater performance. Would you do it about video games? Does that exist like I do? Because you live video games?
Yeah, right. There's definitely, I think, I think there's there a few songs in in shows that, like, incorporate video games, or at least the scene is like two people playing a video game. So it's definitely something I think has happened. As in terms of making it into a full
show. Let's leave Zelda into musical theater be
had to be ridiculous.
I don't know. I don't think so. I do have, it would be odd.
Because you mean Yeah, you won't believe that the stuff people will come up with and put on stage like this. There's been a spider man musical. There's been a Lord of the Rings musical. Yeah, there's there's, there's I think there's one or two Batman musicals, stuff like that. Yeah. So
there's the possibility
right there. The market is there in terms of how long it lasts. Elena
games of the musical theater. They're both gonna go strong for a long time. Yeah, for sure. And now for you Do you like to perform with the same people or do you like performing with a new cast every time?
I do like meeting new people? Yeah, meeting new people doing a show like the show there is a level of comfort in performing with people that you've worked with before. But I think ultimately, that's kind of stifling, because that means that there aren't as many people getting into the scene, like casting new people means getting new people into the scene, which will grow the community theater or professional theatre scene in town, which is ultimately what we're all after, you know, or at least what we should all be after. So I do like performing with new people. I like discovering where people are at in terms of dance or music or theater and kind of going from there. It's fun.
And of course, so what goes into your training routine when you try to learn how to, let's say, a new performance? Do you train in front of a mirror? Do you train in front of somebody else? Do you train in your sleep? Well, sleep singing? And that's a little exaggerated, but I mean, what's your routine?
I think rehearsal is definitely where I train the most. Which depending on who you ask is not like like, you definitely need to supplement that with your own home training, like home homework, essentially. Just Looking at and listening to the music and the lines as much as you can outside the rehearsal space will absolutely help. Because depending depending on who you're working with, you'll have rehearsals twice a week, three times a week on the on the weekend, stuff like that. So sometimes you're going to have if you're not looking at stuff outside of rehearsal are going to have several days where you're, yeah, where you won't have anything, you won't be able to commit it to memory. So then you go into rehearsal with people who have who have done the work and you'll feel kind of lesser than because you should have this doubt or at least that's that's how I look at it. So yeah, rehearsal Absolutely. Like I cherish those Yeah, those three hours three times a week to put stuff together is a lot of fun. And then I don't really train in front of a mirror, not that much. If it's a musical and I can find it online like it's usually one that's been done before, right. I use Spotify for a lot of that. I will listen to it quite a bit. I will try to plunk out the notes on my keyboard like the Ones that I'm singing. But a lot of the time, it's it's, it's easy for me to pluck out like, if it's a harmony, it's easy for me to pluck out what I should be singing and kind of work on that. But it's Yeah, it's it's it's easy to do it in rehearsal or at a keyboard or with my headphones,
I guess. And speaking of which, do you have any inspiration? So like, when you're listening to the songs, you're like, I want to be like this person, I want to sing like this person, or you want to be yourself original x song?
Wow, there are there are a few. There are a few actors that I kind of hold in high regard. So there's definitely in terms of in terms of inspiration. It's not like they're on my mind every single time I'm working on a song or something like that. But they're definitely actors that I think I aspire to be like, it's like, wow, yes, I want to be as good as this guy. Who was at Christopher Jackson, who was George Washington in Hamilton, because that is a dream role and because he's an amazing singer, and a really cool dude. Same with James Monroe. I go hearts who was the original Genie on Broadway. I think those are two guys. Really Yeah, love lemon, Mo Miranda, who created Hamilton as much as, as well as a bunch of other stuff. He's just really cool and really creative. And he's got a million ideas, which I feel like I don't right, going back to that whole. I'm not much of a creator thing. He's definitely, like, it's like, it's like he's got it all in. He's willing to he's willing to write it all down. So like, I think he's got another show on Broadway now, which is kind of ridiculous. Yeah, I try. I mean, I try to be myself as much as possible. But then it's really it's really cool to kind of see, to see the greats and to hear them because yeah, their music is available everywhere. So it's good to have. It's good to have that kind of lean on as well.
Okay, I like that. I like that idea that you try to pull inspiration from everywhere and anywhere and you make it work for yourself.
Oh, yeah, for sure. Absolutely.
No, I don't know if this is an actual thing. But do you have like a secret ritual for yourself to pump yourself up before a show like dislike say certain words. I don't know
everything like that ritual. Yeah, rituals are definitely definitely a thing. It depends on the person. Like a friend of mine always try like she wanted to hug everybody before the first show. Like before we open so she was just running around dressing rooms. She was like, Okay,
I'll give you a
hug. Give me a hug. Oh, hey, yes, have a good show. Give me a hug. Which I like, which I like I like hugs. There was one funny thing that a friend of mine and I did before every show while we were doing hairspray. Who was it? Was it was it Randy Savage? Was it I forget his name? No, it was a damn you want to get back to that one famous, famous, famous wrestler. He went Whoa, well out of the time. Oh, the name escapes me too. Right. Exactly. So we kind of did that when he was like calling people out. Except we kind of tailored it to the lines in hairspray. And we had the whole cast is yelling out. Wow. When it was I was so fun. So that got everybody really pumped. And then I guess it just depends on the show that people you work with Yeah, I don't have I don't have a ritual I kind of sometimes for a minute I kind of like to just sit by myself before the show starts and kind of just collect myself but otherwise Oh, as I'm open to anything really?
Could you just imagine the people in the audience just waiting and all the years? Wow, what is going on back there? Oh, God.
Yeah, thankfully. I mean, I've been on both sides, the center points and thankfully it is pretty pretty soundproof from the seats to backstage but Yeah, that'd be that'd be hilarious. Like, we can't do that. We can't do that on stage.
Just after the curtains go down. You do. Whoa. Yeah,
right. Or it's like, Oh, snap. The sound guy forgot to turn off our mics.
Wow. Everybody goes deaf. Fantastic show. I can't hear anything. Thank you so much. It was so good. No, it's been about so good. What was your best performance in your personal opinion? hard with these question.
Oh, I know. I'm trying to think I'm I think Mary Poppins was up there. Yeah, I was in a production of Mary Poppins that went up a couple years back in the winter. And I was one of two guys who played Burt. So I was bird for four out of the eight shows. And it was one of those companies where we rehearsed, I think, yeah, two or three times a week, but the rehearsal period was over like five or six months, like the audition in May, started rehearsing around August September and the show was in February. So it was Yeah, it was a it's a longer it's a longer cycle than I think most people in town are used to. But it definitely worked because it was a huge show like me and the other guy we weren't we weren't the only guys double cast there were two Mary Poppins is there was just one Mr. Banks, the dad but there were two Mrs. Banks's and two sets of kids. And they alternated two families, essentially. Yeah. And then on top of a big ensemble made, I think just over 50 people onstage at the same time, it was mostly like it was like closer to closer to 40. But it made for an absolutely huge show. And everyone was really tight despite the huge number, I think because of all the time we spent together and because of the the familial nature of the show, like it gets, it gets really like heavy in some parts. And like I really, I feel like I really felt that and I feel like it came forward a lot during my performances. And then at the end of my last show, I was a puddle of tears. Like, I could not stop crying after the curtain went down. I just like I hug Mary who was next to me for the bows. And then everybody else came in for a group hug. And that was it was over. So I think I think my favorites are the ones that really touched me in that way. That one and I think Ragtime was really good too. That was with a different company, but it's so musical that's essentially in in three parts. It involves A, like a black musician, a white family and a family of immigrants at the turn of the century. So it said in like the early 1900s. And that also got really heavy in some parts. But it's like it's really like the it was like Mary Poppins in that the score is really classical. Like lots of strings. Lots of Yeah, lots of strings and piano and horns and it sounded gorgeous, which also got to me pretty hard,
man, I could just imagine you being like one of the most passionate people on stage. Yeah, I mean, I
No, that's what I love about you. You're such a great guy. You're so friendly. You're so passionate and I feel like you bring that energy no matter where you go on what you do in life. Anyways, I'm sorry, I just got lost in like that story. I'm like, Damn, I'm like tearing up inside a little bit too. But yes, what are this is a weird question. But what is the strangest thing that that's ever happened to you or you seen on stage during a musical?
There was oh, there was one time where I missed my entrance. Or at least where I almost missed my entrance like coming on stage. It's It was a musical based on the who album Tommy, about this deaf and blind kid who is really good at pinball. And I honestly couldn't tell you anything more about the story. It's kind of ridiculous.
But it was fun.
It was fun. I loved it. So I was part of the ensemble. And so I had a so I had a duet to sing as I was coming on stage. No, no, I was supposed to already be on stage. That's what I messed up with. Yeah, with with a friend of mine. Same dude who played Burt with me because he's, yeah, he's been all around town. He's performed it everybody's Great. So I was supposed to be on stage for this song. I was chilling backstage, changing, getting ready for it. So I was like, Okay, I got some time. I'm just gonna chill for a little bit. So then, like, Oh, God, I want to say, like 30 seconds before I'm supposed to be on I hear the song and it comes before mine. I'm like, oh snap. I should probably be ready already. So I double time it. I try Get ready. I'm too late by like, five seconds. So what ends up happening is that I'm singing my first line, as I'm coming on stage,
okay, which is definitely not
what is supposed to happen. So afterwards the director pulled me aside and was like, I mean, good save, but also
so I think, yeah, he was sitting with the choreographer in the audience. They were watching that show, and they kind of, they apparently kind of panicked a little bit when they heard me singing from backstage. It's like, Oh my god, what's happening? What's wrong? Meanwhile, I'm just like, I'm putting on like, this big trench coat I'm supposed to wear on top of my costume. And like, I kind of just improvise. Okay, I'm singing I'm singing as I'm walking on. Everything is fine. Okay.
So probably probably that
uh, yeah, like me I have to think maybe maybe some some other weird stuff, but that that kind of that definitely stood out.
Oh man. I like I like how you did that smooth transition and people in the audience wants to be like, Oh, this is part The show exactly, yeah.
Like, I thought about it afterwards. I was like, Okay, if they haven't seen the show, if they haven't seen us rehearsing or whatever, then they won't know because they'll hear me. I was still like, on beat and everything. I was still like, you know, singing what I was supposed to sing at the right time. I just wasn't in the right place.
So I'm sure you you're a fan of the office, right? Yes. Do you remember that one episode where Andy does the music musical theater?
Yeah, he does what he taught and he
taught his phone went off and try to play it off like it was a bird. It's
like no as anything like that happen, not necessarily a cell phone, but like something in the audience on stage happen and you guys try to work around it. I'm not not anything that disruptive. Thankfully, yeah. And I think that I can remember. I mean, I think at one point when two actors kissed and it was a show with someone had brought their kids to like, you could hear a kid in the audience yelling. Yeah, you know, but nothing. Yeah, nothing ridiculously disruptive. Like someone Phone going off on stage because I think I don't think anybody would have their phones on them thankfully because, man, they would get an ass whooping. Yeah, I mean, I have Yeah, I've heard phones phones go off. And then thankfully, people are smart enough to be like, Oh, shit, and kind of just turn them off. But yeah, that's the that that's the extent of it, thankfully.
And have you ever forgotten a line? And if you have, what do you do to recover? Like, do you improvise a little bit or you? Yeah,
yeah, you're on you're on your own. If you forget a line and like, I like when directors kind of establish this from like, the end of rehearsals on Wordle as we get closer to when we move into the theater and like, get ready for Showtime. It's like for the last few rehearsals, if you forget a line, figure it out, as opposed to yelling line, because it gets you It gets you ready for the stage because yelling line is I mean, not yelling, but also just asking for a line is definitely a thing that you can do as people memorize the lines and stuff. It's kind of Yeah, it has Sometimes, but then later on, you should have your lines down, you should be ready to go and no one's gonna give you a line when you're on stage. So it's, it's, it's happened to me a couple of times and I've kind of improvise my way around it. It hasn't happened during songs, which is good because I mean, there's a difference between improv and freestyle. I'm not good at that. I can try Yeah, I can improv with my we're on the line. And if I noticed that someone else's flubbing line I can try to like jump in, jump into the next one, and then so they can get back into that cadence. There have been times when friends of mine have skipped entire scenes, like, it happens and it sucks. But you just try to make it as seamless as possible. Well, speaking of which I've
mentioned this story back on a few episodes ago, our mutual friend Johnson. I can't say what's his last name john. from high school. I saved myself. Yes, he used to he took a Japanese class back in university right and then he did a presentation at the Japanese embassy when I was gonna win a prize for something so entation and his Japanese teacher help him prepare the presentation. My wife speaks Japanese, so she helped translate. And john said, I don't need cue cards, and he went up on stage did the presentation, and then he comes down, people are giving that awkward clap and the awkward like, could No, the teacher sat down and she's like, john, that was good. But you had an introduction. You missed the middle, and then you had a conclusion. So basically, he said, Hi, my name is john and I am from Ottawa. Thank you for listening. This has been so seamlessly that it looked like it flowed. So it looks like it was on purpose. Oh my god.
So he didn't win. No.
Oh, no. It was that like that smooth that it looked like it was on purpose.
That's good. That that's what you do. That's what you do. Except, hopefully, there's something in the middle. Yeah, something in the middle that you can use. But yeah,
it's a Yeah, it'd be pretty different for a musical theater that you just have the introduction and
the end. Yeah. Right opening finale,
it was kind of remembered like the office that episode were and he's like, you're the killer, but I don't know that yet.
My character doesn't know that.
Oh, God. See, ya
know, I wouldn't know how to handle that.
down. It's a recipe for disaster. So, do other people's opinions have an impact on your performance?
Sometimes they're I do have a lot of friends who don't like to read reviews until after the show's done, because they think that might affect their image that might affect the way they do their stuff. I personally don't really care, which is nice, like I do. I do like hearing good reviews. And if people have constructive criticism, then fine. And if it's not constructive, then fuck them.
You know, it's just
yeah, right. It's not not that it doesn't. I don't
like your ear lobes.
Yeah. Not that it doesn't matter. It's just that I just I try not to let it affect me too much. But I do like I do like to hear about it. And then I just I respect like my cast mates who were like, Don't tell me just read just the Read it off your phone, but like reading your head, don't tell me anything. And uh, yeah, I mean, I respect that because they're just they're trying to be their best on stage and I'm doing the same. Yeah, like, and also like, I like hearing what my friends think, you know, I like when they're candid with me, because he like a friend of mine told me that my Ragtime performance I was too young for it, which I absolutely agree with, like a few other guys audition for the same role, which was the black musicians. It was like one of the stars of the show. Yeah, few a few few other guy friends of mine audition for the same role. I just ended up like, I guess like the music director like me better because we performed like his big solo near the end or for part of it. And then he made a decision. But yeah, I definitely like I definitely agreed with him when he put that forward because like yeah, I guess I'm alluding I was a little young for it, but I had a really big beard at the time. So it kind of that kind of helped as well.
Yeah, like I'm
so yeah, I like I like to hear people's opinions. Really no I don't want to get too dark but is there any type of like jealousy or envy Enos that happens have you encountered not let's say none you per se but like other actors or performance that had between you on you
Well, I mean a lot of the time if people are salty about not getting a role sometimes they just won't talk about it whenever there's a show that I'd like to be a part of if I don't get it then yeah, I try not to dwell on it too much it is you know, it does suck to not get cast in a thing. Thankfully, my record is pretty okay
I've done pretty well which is good
Yeah, like you the the generic stuff I guess. Like I've never seen anyone like go overboard and be like,
what the hell
I was a shoo in. This is bullshit. Yeah, that that that hasn't really happened thing.
So you told me the movies exaggerating.
A little bit from what I from what I've seen. Yeah, a little bit. It's sometimes it doesn't happen sometimes the the directing team has a different vision and you can't really do much about it once they make their call right so
that's no that's fair that's fair. Now for you what was what not what was but what is your big objective with musical theater? Now if you have one
yeah I just I just want to get better I just want to I want to get better at it I want to perform in more shows my objective for Ottawa would be to feature shows that like to to put on shows that can feature more people of color either the show kind of focuses on that or features Yeah, like like something like something like the color purple, which I don't think have rights to do are out yet because I think it's on tour But anyway, somebody liked the color purple something like them. One of the mental Miranda spurs shows In the Heights is set in Washington Heights. And it's like the the entire cast essentially is Hispanic. Stuff like that. I would love to see in Ottawa like a lot of the time you'll hear people saying that there are no singers of color in Not like singers or actors or like musical theater performers of color in Ottawa, so you can't put that shit on. So I think the alternative to that is to just okay let's put on the shows that we can put on just cast more people to color. You know, representation matters.
Well, in that case, if you need an object to just stand there, I'm here you know, I could, I'm bad with memory but man of color here and tree. Bam, limbs, limbs, need extra limbs. I'll be like, a community like fake snow.
Throw that throw that salt Bay kind of guy.
know for sure. Now, what would you say is the best part about musical theater for you on a personal and emotional level?
I think I think the way the way the music makes me feel. I think that's the best part for me, is just discovering discovering new music. And yes, seeing seeing what works for me. What doesn't seeing how I can push myself and just try to make myself better is I think the best part on on on a personal level and I do love just hearing it sometimes, you know, hearing myself which sounds ecosystem or hearing or hearing the music because a lot of the time you're going to have during a show you're going to have a sits probe, which is essentially a rehearsal, a music rehearsal with the full orchestra just to kind of figure out levels but it really is just really is more for the orchestra to see if they need to work anything out within the music itself. But then to hear the orchestra for the first time while you're singing or while you're listening to other people saying like you get chills, it's nuts. So it's definitely Yeah, the the music is my favorite part. And that's definitely that's definitely why I do it. And then everything else has been a bonus.
You're you're doing it for the love of theater.
Yeah, essentially. Yeah. And without I really should take like a theater course at one point.
You're a self made man. That's that's what it is at this point. Yeah. And that's like how I learned how to do podcasts and how you teach yourself how to do piano Yes, it's kind of rewarding to know that you know what, I did this with the help of a YouTuber friends and didn't have to take classes. I tried taking music classes, I still can't read music and I produced music in the past but yeah, not about me all about you. What was your biggest challenge when you first started musical theater?
Yeah, everything but the music
to like when you when you have when you have lines when you have choreography, all that stuff comes a little slower to me. And then recently, I also started I also was in my first play like non musical theater play, which was an entirely new thing. What do you mean I just have lines and I don't have anything to sing afterwards. This is ridiculous. So yeah, the the challenge is definitely trying to trying to find that nuance because within musical theatre, you're you're you're definitely still acting but it's it seems a little exaggerated, especially depending on the kind of show you're doing. So to try to try to find try to find that nuance and to try to, like be a skilled actor, as well as a skilled singer and a skilled dancer, is a challenge in and of itself. And then to try to, like, yes, you can use music to make people feel things, but to have everything else as well, I think is the challenge.
And has that challenge, like still stayed relatively the same? Or has it changed these days?
I mean, it's definitely it's gotten, it's gotten easier. It's gotten a little easier, as I've learned, like, I tried to pick up as much as I could, while doing all of the shows, especially having done like quite a few over a relatively short period of time. I think I'm up to like a dozen in four years. Yeah, like I try to I try to pick up something along the way. Every time I'm doing a show. I try to learn as much as I can. Um, so it's gotten a little bit easier. I mean, I'm not a master anything. But it's been fun. It's been fun and I love Yeah, I love the learning experience that I get. I love learning from a new people. Yeah, it's always about growing always about learning always about improving. Yes. Now has musical theatre ever helps you relax when you feeling stressed? So
let's say you got a long day, you know, you know what? Screw it. I'm going to go just do practice my lines or go and enjoy this.
Oh, yeah, definitely. I think more like rehearsal is definitely like when I have a show rehearsal is the best part of the day, no matter what we're doing, if it's like a big choreo rehearsal, or if we're just working on music the whole time with the music director and the accompanist or if we're like later on in the or later on and working on a scene. Like it's just the whole thing, the whole thing is a really happy experience for me. It's kind of I've kind of always been that way in that if I'm interested, then I definitely will put like 110% into it. Like through school and all of that. It's fun when it's more it's fun when it's more interesting and it helps me relax to even just to listen to the music itself. Like I listened to a lot of musicals on Spotify, so I can put those on. Whenever I'm at work. I can put those on on the commute stuff like that. I can just have them on in the background and sing along. So that's that's a more relaxing thing. I have a playlist called cry but do it on key, which is just really moving songs from musical theater. Sometimes I listen to that, but not so much at work because I don't want to be a mess in front of all my coworkers.
Somebody just put some onions on the spreadsheet.
I just I love this Word document.
Now on the flip side, has it ever stressed you out let's say like you couldn't get a line or if somebody is doing something that annoys you or anything like that?
Yeah. Difficult harmonies kind of stress me out.
The vocal harmonies like when they come together. Yes, amazing. Absolutely. Oh my god, I could sit in this harmony and bask in it for the rest of the day. But you need to get there, right. Like I've sung I've sung music from I've sung music from Hamilton and limonium limits Miranda is like, kind of controlled chaos and the way he writes some of the music with his collaborators. There's a lot happening at the same time. So sometimes it's hard to find your line and kind of pick on to that. And then everybody comes together for a few bars. And it's absolutely huge when everyone gets it. So sometimes sometimes it's hard to get there both for the music and the acting and everything else. So that's, that's, I think that's the main challenge. But otherwise, I try not to.
Yeah, I try not to stress too much.
Excellent as a Down to Earth person. He's chill. He's children. Yeah, yeah. So darker side again. What are some misconceptions about people who are doing musical theater?
I guess like, the snobbery. Like, yeah, sometimes sometimes it gets a little quickie, but I think that's really just like, friends working with friends. So I mean, I'm hoping people people will open up more but yeah, A big misconception is about how there's this huge barrier to entry. Like you have to be at a certain level in order to be able to perform with all these other people who are really just other people who live in Ottawa. And like musical theater, like I've, you know, I've been lucky enough to perform a so many different people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different levels of knowledge. Yes, some people were classically trained, and that's great. Absolutely. You got a Bachelor of Music, you played piano since you were six, that's great. Or like you've been studying voice. Since you were a kid. That's awesome. For sure. There's always room for improvement. And I think that's a good way for people to stay humble. And I really hope that I really hope that more people start to see that because it's really just, everyone's just out here having fun. If you're looking to get into the professional scene, especially in a bigger city, like Toronto or Vancouver, that's fine. Absolutely. You gotta have your shit together. You gotta have your resume together. You gotta you know, take some workshops, take some classes, but Otherwise, if you just want to do some dope theater within your community, there's absolutely a place for that, too.
Yeah. And as you said, the community is pretty friendly, pretty open. And it's not cutthroat. Nobody's trying to go for each other. Is that right?
Yeah. I mean, something. Yes. Sometimes Sure. Sometimes people disagree. Sometimes companies will try to get the rights to a show before anybody else can do it. Because it's a fun show. And they definitely see the potential within Ottawa to do it. And a lot of people want to come and see it, and a lot of people want to audition. But like,
Fuck that, man.
Yeah, just do the thing. If you can't do this one show that you want to do. That's, that's, that's fine. Just tell that other company. Great. I'll come and see it. I'm sure it'll be awesome. And look for something else. Like I'm sure it's more complex than that trying to license the rights to a musical to sell tickets and everything but
like, it shouldn't be. Yeah, yes,
it will cost 10s of thousands of dollars or mean you know, maybe just a few thousand depending on the show, but Like,
just do the thing. You know? And yeah, don't worry. Don't worry so much about what other people will think.
is I think something that people can benefit from. And for you what has musical theatre taught you in life? Hmm. deep cut question. Yeah.
Yeah, God, it's taught, it's taught me.
humility. It's taught me attention to detail. Focus. Yeah. Because I used to, I mean, in high school, I used to not be that focused, which I think was like, that's, that's what my IEP was. It's like, yes, he can realize his potential if he just focuses which I think was like the teacher way of saying he doesn't like it. So he's not going to do much is kind of how I've coasted through life. But then I've learned just yeah, maybe you don't like this part as much. But some people absolutely do. And you know, you're part of a team so it would be better For you to put in your best, because everyone, everyone gets what they put into the work, right? So if everyone, if everyone puts in if everyone puts in the work, then we're going to have a great product at the end of the day or at the end of the run of the show. So yeah, it's definitely it's, it's, it's taught me, it's taught me to focus a little more. And I mean, I do I do like being attentive to details. I just need to stop correcting people so much. You can correct
me during this episode
if you like, right, but it's like if someone doesn't have if someone isn't singing the right notes, or someone is slightly off. It's like, no, that's the music directors job. They should be able to pick it up, stop talking.
You're like, Oh, no, I'm May I might be over exaggerating, but like there's like doing a great job. Like in the face of I like a job.
If you're asking me I'll be candid.
Yeah, for sure. I can definitely try to you know, teach music to my friends. Like teach them the notes that they should be singing you know, on our off time. That's so that's something I've done in order to help help friends of mine who worked on a show with me. But like, yeah, I need to stop turning into Hermione Granger and all the music rehearsals. Just wait,
Your hand just keeps going up. Actually On that note, because you're giving a lot of advice, what would be a good piece of advice you would give to anybody who might be interested in starting musical theatre? At the
scenes definitely there just have a look around literally just google auto musical theater or ask any of your friends or friends of friends who know people or who have done it. And like a lot of people are happy to just tell you about it. Tell us about tell you about the people that they've worked with the shows that they've done how well it's gone. How badly it might have gone. like yeah, I think I think like a lot a lot of a lot of people who do musical theater are willing to tell other people about it. Because a lot another misconception is that we don't shut up.
What No, you see you don't you don't interrupt me so
conversation. Yeah, of course. Not. Just People not want this podcast, we're just people around the world. So go check out your community, wherever you're from the US, China, South Africa, anywhere you are. There's musical theater I guarantee though Yeah, find someone there and build on that community for
damn sure. That's why you've got like the most famous shows are translated into you know, every single language. And you can find Yeah, you can there's there's, I'm sure there's like a Chinese recording fairy popping somewhere. Like it's toward like, you got the huge shows have toured all over the world, you know, and, and appealed to millions upon millions of people. So I think it's up to the communities within those cities to kind of put them together if they want to.
You were saying famous shows get translated. Now I'm not related to musical theater, but if my podcast becomes famous, you're telling me that somebody's gonna translate it to a different country. Let's say there's a Russian version of you.
Oh, geez. Wouldn't that be nice? Russian version of me just like,
word for word and then having the laughter is like, right there.
That's That's how Jimmy Fallon does it.
My brother in law's Russian so he can confirm whether that's true or not
solid. Yeah, that's that's a really bad Jimmy Fallon impression.
Now, you mentioned this at the beginning of the episode, but I'm going to ask again, what are some social media links that you would like to share with people so they want, they can learn more about you,
right? I am on Twitter and Instagram at the big screen with two G's. So the big screen, I tweet and post about a bunch of random shit. I like watching movies other than doing musical theater. I like playing video games. And if I'm in another show, I will tweet about it.
Well, he was on another podcast as a guest. You gotta give a shout out loud. Yes, yes, yes,
shout out to the pod cavern. They run ranked top five lists of stuff that don't matter where everybody presents three nominations, and then they narrow it down to a list of top five and The topic has ranged from top five things to do in the summer, to top five things that should be turned into a musical to top five interesting people you've never heard of. And really everything in between. It's a lot of fun. And they've got a couple other podcasts as well. Perfect. So axons going to send me those links. I'm going to put in the description below so you can go listen to those episodes. And of course, learn more about axon
and by following him on Instagram and Twitter. And yeah, he's a delightful guy. He's not gonna bite you. Don't worry. you're into that kind of thing. I don't know. We'll see. Exactly. Now for the last question. Do you have any questions for me about musical theater?
I'll be an expert, but I'm ready. I mean, when are you going to hop on stage bro?
Dude, remembering lines is like my kryptonite. I'm more like an improv guy. But I would love to give it a try. Like you should see me doing presentations. I use a lot of hand gestures. I got the face down so I got the voice hopefully. I can't my wife says I'm tone not tone deaf, but I can't She said, Everybody can sing it. Thank you, Bonnie you listening you listening? Anybody from my professional that I can sing? But no, I'd like to give it a try. And if you think I have potential a god given shot with you, you could criticize me all you want. It's fun. It's a good time. There you have it another body with the hobby. Thank you so much for coming on. This is really a wonderful episode almost going on for an hour. Oh, dang, time flies by okay. And if you want to learn more about axon and go check them out on Instagram or Twitter. He's very entertaining, very friendly. And of course, if you like to be on my episode, or have any questions at all, you could send me an email at time for your hobby at gmail. com. And of course, if you think this episode's gonna be helpful for anybody, let's say they're going through a hard time and need that like energy to just let it out on stage. Maybe musical theatre is a thing for them, share with them because you can create a big community you can meet new people, you can let that inner voice out. You can do a lot of things. So once again, thank you so much axon. Yes,
no problem, man, I got you. Thank you for having me.
So Until the next episode, you make some time for your hobby.
Make some time. Take care.