Day Five: Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative

October 20th, 2013

Well, this is it! I finished my last day on the internship and am so grateful for everything I’ve learned. It’s been a busy week, but so worth it.

Thanks to all who helped make this internship possible, especially The Broadway League and ATPAM.

-DSM Erika


Day Four: Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative

October 19th, 2013

Tonight I worked with the Company Manager, Fred, again. Emily was out of the office, so Fred had double the work load. He’s a great multi-tasker and was able to answer all of my questions while he worked.

The show is leaving Texas tomorrow and heading to Tempe, Arizona. This meant a lot of visits from people wanting to double check on housing, transportation, and other information. I met so many cast and crew members, I can’t remember their names!

He talked me through some of the paper work he was doing and I added a few words to my vocabulary.

It was all routine for Fred, and all new to me.

FUN FACT: This month THE LION KING will reach $1 billion in gross sales. This makes it not only Broadway’s #1 musical now showing; it makes it Broadway’s #1 musical ever!

-DSM Erika


Day Three: Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative

October 18th, 2013

Another loooong but rewarding day!

It all started with the annual Road Market Forum with The Broadway League. As an intern for the League, I was invited to attend.

It was a day filled with power points and new faces. I learned about geo fencing, the correct way to email advertise, and heard several big ideas brainstormed. Who knows. Maybe one day, I’ll be back at this Forum not as an intern but as an employee and contributor.

After the Forum closed, I rushed back stage to meet with Production Stage Manager, Ken Davis, and his crew. I shadowed them backstage as they performed their cues for moving set pieces, overseeing quick changes, and all other technical sides to the show. There is always something going on backstage and it takes a lot of stage hands and dressers to make sure that the show runs smoothly. You definitely need to be quick on your toes as a stage hand and always alert or you might get run over by Pride Rock.

FUN FACT: THE LION KING always has six South Africans cast in the show. This ensures that the dialect used by the character Rafiki as well as several musical numbers are authentic.

-DSM Erika


Day Two: Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative

October 18th, 2013

This was a day FULL of interviews. I shadowed Gregory Hanoian who is the publicist for this tour of Disney’s THE LION KING. He had flown out a TV personality to shoot some material for THE LION KING’S upcoming shows in Arizona.

With my background in Communications, the job of a publicist is very appealing to me. I love well planned schedules that are full of excitement, and that describes how the day went…full and exciting. Gregory said that with a show as diverse as THE LION KING there were a number of interviews he could have set up. There are so many angles to this show, that even when it returns to a city (like Dallas) for the second or third time it can still create a buzz.

Thanks to Destry Jetton of Channel 12 News in Arizona for letting me watch all of her interviews take place.

FUN FACT: Nia Holloway, who plays Nala, is only 18! As a senior in high school, Nia travels with a private tutor so she can complete her studies.

-DSM Erika


Day One: Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative

October 16th, 2013

Yesterday I had my first day on the “job” while shadowing the company manager and assistant manager of Disney’s THE LION KING. Fred Hemminger, the company manager of the show, said his job is very similar to HR. He takes care of things outside the performances including, housing for cast and crew, flight plans, payroll, and worker’s compensation. He also reports ticket sales to New York, and works with venues on contract agreements. Basically, it’s a lot of paper work to juggle while traveling across the country.

Watch the video to learn about why Fred decided to become a company manager.

FUN FACT: One of the terms of agreement when contracting a venue is that THE LION KING must have access to three on-site washer and dryers. All of them are used daily!

-DSM Erika


Broadway League/ATPAM Diversity Initiative

October 16th, 2013

-DSM Erika


FROM THE BACK ROW: Beware of Ticket Scalping

March 7th, 2013

*Ticket Scalping is the act of buying event tickets from licensed sellers, and reselling them at often higher prices

 Hey DSM Fans!

I want to share this brief story of a friend’s experience with a ticket scalper:

My friend was interested in seeing WICKED when it comes to the Music Hall at Fair Park this April.  Knowing I work for DSM, he sent me a text asking if the show is as good as everyone says it is and if I thought his nieces would enjoy it.  After reassuring him that WICKED is a must-see, I told him to click the “buy tickets” link on DSM’s website because it would take him right to our Ticketmaster page.  A few minutes later he wrote, “Wow. $150? These are expensive!  But if you say it’s worth it, then okay.  Are these good seats?”

…The seats were on the very back row in the rear orchestra section.  I was confused.  $150 was more than double the price they should’ve been.  It turns out he did a Google search instead of following my directions.  His search led him right into the hands of a scalper.  I stopped my friend in his tracks and sent him a direct link to the official DSM WICKED Ticketmaster page where he found even better seats for much less than he was about to pay.  I basked in my “I told ya so” moment, and congratulated him on his find.  I’m thrilled that my friend will have the pleasure of introducing his nieces to WICKED this April!

If you choose to buy DSM tickets from an alternative source, there’s a lot of risk involved:

  • The tickets may or may not be valid, and you run the risk of not being let in to a performance
  • You’ll probably pay much more than you should
  • There’s no way to notify you in the case of a time change or cancellation
  • If you lose your tickets, DSM won’t be able to replace them

So DSM Fans, this is just a friendly Public Service Announcement from us to you.
Buy your tickets through DSM-official ticketing outlets!

OFFICIAL Dallas Summer Musicals ticketing outlets:

  • By Phone: 1-800-514-ETIX (3849)
  • Online: www.DallasSummerMusicals.org  /  www.Etix.com
  • In Person: The Dallas Summer Musicals Box Office – 542 Preston Royal Shopping Center, Dallas – 214.691.7200
  • In Person: The Music Hall at Fair Park box office 1 ½ hours before scheduled performances

* * *

mp

 We’re looking forward to seeing you at The Music Hall this month for MARY POPPINS!

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: Student Rush!

February 21st, 2013

Hey DSM Fans!

We are SO excited!  Last week Dallas Summer Musicals launched their STUDENT RUSH program, finally making it affordable for STUDENTS to see some of DSM’s 2013 shows!  One hour before the show, anyone with a valid student ID can purchase the best available seating for ONLY $25!  Students: this means there’s a chance YOU could snag a great seat -front and center- for a fraction of the price…  It’s totally worth it!

STUDENT RUSH will be offered at select performances, so Like Us On Facebook to know when you’ll be able to take advantage of this sweet deal.

  • Tickets available 1 hour before performance – 6:30pm evenings / 12:30pm matinees
  • $25 tickets – best available at time of purchase – first come first served
  • Present valid student ID at time of purchase for maximum of 2 tickets **PLEASE NOTE: For the 2015 Season and going forward, Student Rush is only 1 ticket per valid ID.**
  • Only available with certain DSM shows at select performances
  • Parking is FREE when you park on Fair Park grounds

   TONIGHT IS THE LAST STUDENT RUSH FOR      CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!

sturu

Students, we hope to see you at The Music Hall at Fair Park soon!

(Follow @dsmusicals on Twitter & Instagram too!) 

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: I didn't know I'd LOVE it

February 19th, 2013

Hey DSM Fans!

 Growing up, theatre was the last thing on my mind.  I’m one of three boys so I spent my time roughhousing with my brothers and playing sports. Needless to say, there were no showtunes playing in my house.  I wasn’t introduced to musical theatre until my junior year of high school when I saw WICKED in New York City.  Going into WICKED I had no idea what I was embarking on, and by the end of the show I was blown away by the intricate set, familiar story line and especially the musical talent.  To be honest, I was shocked that I enjoyed the experience as much as I did.  From then on I was a little more open to the idea of musical theatre.

 On my very first day at DSM I was asked to make some calls regarding ticket sales for MEMPHIS the musical.  Before that day, I had never even heard of MEMPHIS and I definitely had no idea how much it would impact my life.  I saw the show opening night and I was blown away once again by the impeccable dancing, the authentic sets and most importantly the charm and talent of the leading actress. I went home that night and just had to buy the entire soundtrack. Two days later I saw the show again, twice in one day, and by the end of that night I knew all the words to each song. When the show came back to Ft. Worth earlier this month I went and saw it again, I think obsessed was an understatement at that moment for me. This was the way I felt when I saw CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. I went in not knowing what to expect and left the show wanting more.

Huey

Me with Bryan Fenkart (Huey) from Memphis the Musical.

 We are in the middle of our second week of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and I highly recommend coming to see the show!  It’s a show that everyone can love and appreciate. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is smart, clever and without a doubt the most fun you will have all year. Broadway has finally established a show that men of all ages can take pleasure in and maybe by the end of the show, you will see your life in living color.

 So remember not to let the words “musical theatre” scare you. If I hadn’t taken a risk seeing WICKED, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today and working in this industry. I am still that guy’s guy who is obsessed with sports, but there will always be a place in my heart for musical theatre. Let’s just say I have been “changed for the better”.

 -DSM Luke

 


FROM THE BACK ROW: Jet-Setting with Pat Smith

February 10th, 2013

“…on my very first flight I was stuck in Sydney for 5 days.  They put us up in a really nice hotel, gave us a per diem in the currency of the country and said, ‘As long as you’re in uniform 5 days from now, you can do whatever you want!’”                                                                            -Pat Smith

Hey DSM Fans!

In 1963, a very ambitious 22-year-old Pat Smith took a pilot’s advice and applied to work for an international airline.  She got the job, and for 3 years Pat circled the globe living the notoriously glamourous life of a 1960s Pan Am flight attendant!  Luke and I were thrilled that Pat was willing to answer some of our questions, and with CATCH ME IF YOU CAN opening on Tuesday (2/12), the timing was perfect!

Pat Smith - Tokyo - 1963

Pat Smith – Tokyo – 1963

How old were you when you became a Pan Am flight attendant?

I was 22 years of age, 2 weeks out of graduating from the University of Oregon.  It was 1963.

 

What made you decide to apply for the job?

First of all, my dad was in real estate in California and he was selling beautiful lots right outside of San Francisco with a group of Pan Am pilots.  In my senior year at school I had met a bunch of these pilots and they encouraged me to join Pan Am. I was not familiar with it but they told me you fly internationally and it just kind of sounded terribly exciting to me! So that’s how I was introduced to it. I Interviewed and was accepted, and then unbeknownst to me there were 5 other girls from the University of Oregon that were accepted with Pan Am and we all became roommates in San Francisco.

 

What was Pan Am’s training program like?

We had to have a foreign language. I spoke French so I passed that test. For me, the toughest thing was the swimming test.  Even though I could swim, I’ve always been afraid of water, and the application questionnaire asked if you could swim, so I said yes, not realizing that part of the training was jumping in a large Olympic sized pool to prove it! So all 30 of the people jumped in the pool except for me. I’m still standing on the side of the pool thinking, ‘how bad do I really wanna do this??’ So I didn’t dive in, I gently climbed in and did the sidestroke to the other end of the pool. 

We also practiced with life rafts, we did customer relations, we had the white gloves and silver trays, we were told never to take a silver coffee pot out into the isle without having it on a silver tray with cream and sugar on the tray. And in 1st class we cooked! I mean, we literally cooked. And that was hard because it was like a 7 course meal. They’d start off with a beautiful fish course, they’d have caviar, a salad course, the roast with vegetables, and then cherries jubilee.  One of my biggest nightmares was when I forgot to take the ice cream out of the dry ice and it was hard as a rock.  It was easy to forget when you’d have 20-25 people in first class and you’re preparing food for all of them.

 

Did you fly with the girls you were living with?  

A couple of times, but very rarely because we were junior. I don’t know if you saw the Pan Am series where those girls all flew together, but it wasn’t like that. Pan Am hired a majority of their flight attendants outside of the U.S. because they had to speak the language fluently to operate a foreign flight carrier. They hired a lot of French, German, Japanese, and Chinese gals – they’d hire a lot of Icelandic gals because they were so multilingual, which I thought was interesting. So in most cases I was the only American girl on a flight crew of 6.  To me, at 22 years of age right out of college, this was a totally new experience to be talking with all of these girls from Norway and Germany and Tokyo….

 

What was the average pay for a Pan Am Flight Attendant in the 60s?

I think when we started… I wanna say, annually maybe like $7,000 or $8,000 dollars

 

Did Pan Am pay for your living expenses in San Francisco or NY?

No, you had to pay for all of that on your own.  In New York, the apartments were so expensive that there were 5 or 6 of us in a 1-bedroom apartment! So we had bunk beds in the bedroom, and another little twin bed, and a rollaway in the living room.  You didn’t really want people to come in and open the kitchen drawers because they wouldn’t find knives and spoons and forks, they’d find all of our clothes!  But with our different flight schedules we were never there at the same time so it worked out.

 

Did they always put you up in the nicest hotels?

Yes.  It wasn’t ever second rate. And at that time Pan Am owned the Intercontinental Hotel chain, which was a very first-class hotel, and if we got into a city that didn’t have them we stayed somewhere of that same caliber. They took very good care of us. I mean, here we are all over the world, you couldn’t read this in books, it was just a marvelous experience.

 

When you made the choice to become a flight attendant, did you realize what you were getting yourself into?

I had a goal. My goal was to see the world.  And I flew for 3 years because I was pretty ambitious and I had other things I wanted to do, but I knew I couldn’t pass this up.  I was hardly ever home when I lived in San Francisco and New York because I’d be gone for 2 weeks at a time.  I’d bid, I chose to go on these trips. I wouldn’t always get my first bid but I knew exactly what I wanted and that was to get as much travel as I possibly could.  

 

Who were some of your most memorable passengers?

I had Yul Brynner – he was very nice, and very quiet. 

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. 

Jean Simmons, the movie star – she and Mayor Joseph Alioto were on my flight from Tokyo to San Francisco.  It was November 22 1963, and I’m in the first class galley cooking eggs when the pilot came on and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re about an hour outside of Honolulu, but I wanted to let you know that President John F. Kennedy has been shot.”  And that’s where I was.

I had the Rolling Stones!  They were in coach where I was working and they were so entertaining.  They were up and down the aisle, one of them – I don’t remember who it was because I don’t think they were really famous yet – came back and asked for my sweeper, and he swept up and down the aisle.  He kept coming in and actually bothering me because I was trying to get the scrambled eggs out, but they were hysterical!

 

Did you know anyone at Pan Am who crossed paths with Frank Abagnale, Jr.?

My friend Sylvia’s roommate actually knew Frank, and he arrived one night in uniform and asked to borrow $200 from her.  She gave it to him and never saw it again! 

 

Frank Abagnale, Jr. was not a trained pilot, so when he made it on to the plane, what would he do?

He’d come on and posed as a deadhead, so he was never actually flying the plane. His whole imposter was wearing the uniform and riding as a passenger, that’s how he traveled. One time they told Frank he could sit in the jump seat because the plane was full, and he walked into the cockpit and couldn’t find the seat because he had no idea that you were supposed to pull it down.

 

How is flying today different from when you were a flight attendant?

Oh, so much! The food especially. We’d pride ourselves on the presentation, I mean we had orchids on all the displays, and the best champagne and best wine.  But I think #1 would have to be customer relations.  We were told those passengers were like our family.  Smiles, how can I help, if there was a baby on board we’d warm their milk, it was all about being proactive – not waiting until someone asks for something.

But we also had height and weight restrictions, your hair couldn’t touch your shoulders, you reported an hour and a half before your flight and your grooming supervisor would weigh you, and check your uniform, and if you didn’t look right they’d pull you off the flight! But I loved the quality – I think that’s what made Pan Am so special – we were hired, but by golly we better live up to that Pan Am image. 

 

 Do you still keep in touch with the girls you used to fly with?

They’re my best friends. 8 of them were just here a couple years ago.  They’re in San Francisco, Connecticut, Arizona, etc… but I keep in touch because they are my best friends.  There’s definitely still a bond.

“Spring comes to Maiden Lane” in San FranciscoBarbara Longnecker (left) and Pat Smith (right) with  the District Sales Manager from the Pan Am sales office on Union Square

“Spring comes to Maiden Lane” in San Francisco
Barbara Longnecker (left) and Pat Smith (right) with the District Sales Manager from the Pan Am sales office on Union Square, 1963

 

Today, Pat Smith owns her own trade show management company.  She is also President of the DFW chapter of World Wings International.  Currently, there are 40 chapters all around the world, and they each support a local charity.  Pat and the DFW chapter work hard selling cookbooks and calendars, and doing annual fundraisers all to raise money for the local charity, SafeHaven.

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: AP Membership Party

February 8th, 2013

Hey DSM Fans!

Wednesday night’s Membership Party seemed to be a great success for DSM’s Associate Producers. The very charming Sunset Lounge was brimming with current AP members, led by President Lauren Smith, and plenty of fresh faces eager to join the 2013 crew.  We were happy to welcome all of the returning members and excited to meet so many new ones!

The Sunset Lounge offered their signature drink, The Caipirinha and 3 specialty cocktails, themed for each show AP will attend as a group this season: WICKED, FLASHDANCE and THE LION KING. Baskets of Plantain Chips were available to each table and trays of delicious Chicken Tinga Tacos floated around the room.

As some guests made their rounds and others gathered at tables, the evening’s energy never lulled.  AP has a lot to look forward to this year, and everyone was buzzing about DSM’s 2013 season!  The party came to a close with some enthusiastic words from AP President Lauren Smith and Membership Chair Miranda Bond, and a drawing for tickets to opening night of SISTER ACT.  All in all, the event was wonderful and we’re all looking forward to the next one!

If you couldn’t make it Wednesday night, no worries! CLICK HERE if you would like to join AP or to renew your current membership. *FYI: The deadline for ordering your AP-event WICKED tickets is Feb. 24!

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: Why YOU Should Join DSM's Associate Producers

January 31st, 2013

Hey DSM Fans!

Calling all young professionals!  DSM’s 2013 Season is top-notch and this is your chance to get involved: Associate Producers (AP) is a dynamic group of young professionals who share a passion for theatre and a desire to support the arts. Associate Producers aims to make Dallas Summer Musicals a treasured piece of the city’s culture in the eyes of its young adults.  The group is easy to join and a membership comes with exclusive privileges and one-of-a-kind experiences that make it worth every penny!

“I love the opportunity not only to support the arts in Dallas but specifically Dallas Summer Musicals, where I’ve been seeing musical theater productions since I was a kid. I love that I now get to be an actual part of DSM.  I also love the people I’ve met through Associate Producers.  As President and former Membership co-chair of AP I’ve gotten not only to meet and get to know so many of our awesome members but also the great people we work with at DSM. This is such a great group!  If you like theater and you are interested in meeting other young professionals that enjoy theater and supporting the arts then this is the group for you.  Not only do we get discounted tickets to the shows and preferred block seating in the theater but there are networking and social opportunities throughout the year.”    -Lauren Smith, AP President

FYI:

  • Currently, AP consists of approx. 120 members (under age 45)
  • AP offers annual memberships that run January – December
  • $100 per membership -or- $50 per person in a shared membership
  • Memberships include exclusive benefits
  • AP is governed by its own Board of Directors
  •  AP gives back with various philanthropic projects
  • AP serves as a platform for grooming future leaders within the DSM organization

BENEFITS:

  • Ideal Networking Opportunities
  • Membership Party
  • 2-3 Show Events per Season
  • Holiday Party
  •  Premium Seating
  • Discounted Tickets on AP Group Nights
*For a complete list of info & benefits, visit the AP Homepage

With a season of Broadway blockbusters ahead of us, including fan-favorites WICKED and THE LION KING, 2013 is sure to be a great year for the Associate Producers and the perfect time for prospective members to join!

According to AP Chairman Robert Ivey, members have a lot to look forward to this season:

“The Associate Producers offers one-of-a-kind access to the Dallas Summer Musicals. 2013 will be a very strong year for the Associate Producers.  Our members have the opportunity to attend WICKED, FLASHDANCE and THE LION KING at discounted rates and enjoy complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres at our invite-only events associated with each of these shows.  We will kickoff the year with a membership event next month, where new and returning members gather to learn more about the organization and our plans for the year.  In addition to these and other social activities, we expect to partner for a fourth year with Jubilee Park for our annual Associate Producers philanthropy event this fall.  Jubilee Park is a community center near Fair Park, which provides a variety of services to community residents.  Through our partnership with Jubilee Park, the Associate Producers help to strengthen Dallas Summer Musicals’ ties with the South Dallas community.”  -Robert Ivey, AP Chairman

As a fly on the wall at a few of these AP events, I can tell you this: there’s always a good turnout, smiling faces and enthusiastic personalities fill the room with high energy, and on one occasion a couple of cast members even stopped by to say hello before taking the stage.  DSM works hard to make AP events worthwhile, so check it out!

                        Try something new this year – Support the arts! – You won’t regret it.

-DSM Haley

IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO JOIN!

BECOME A MEMBER TODAY:  Download the Membership Form Here

FOR MORE INFO: 

Click here to visit the Associate Producers website

Like Associate Producers on Facebook!

-or-

Contact Mark Chambless at mchambless@dallassummermusicals.org

cmiyc

 2013 Season Flyer


FROM THE BACK ROW: A Perfect Pugsley

October 19th, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

13-year-old Cleveland native, Patrick D. Kennedy, is just a normal kid who happens to be part of the National Touring cast of THE ADDAMS FAMILY. As the not-so-normal Pugsley Addams, Patrick gets to play with explosives, embrace an iguana and enjoy the Addams’ torture rack on a nightly basis!  In his dressing room, Patrick shows us Pugsley’s cigar and receives a quick visit from Pippa Pearthree still sporting her Grandma Addams makeup.  He’s practically Pugsley’s angelic alter-ego.  Attentive and sincere, Patrick is nothing short of professional both onstage and off.

Haley and Patrick D. Kennedy

Haley: How old were you when you started performing?

Patrick: I guess I got my start when I was about 8, in a high school production of LES MISÉRABLES.

H: I heard your sister recommended you for the part, is that true?

P: I guess… I don’t know, I just went in to audition! They were already in rehearsals and stuff and I was sitting on the couch watching TV and she was like, “Patrick you’re gonna audition for a musical.”  She knew I liked to sing by myself, but I didn’t like singing in front of people.

H: So the audition was your first time to sing in front of people, was it scary?

P: At first.  But then I realized you can’t see anyone because the lights are so bright!

H: Do you have a favorite part of your show, THE ADDAMS FAMILY?

P: There’s a scene in the beginning of the show when I’m on a torture rack and Cortney Wolfson who plays Wednesday is singing a song called “Pulled” about how her new boyfriend is pulling her into a new direction but she’s not sure if she likes it or if her family can accept it. So during the whole thing when she sings “pulled” she pulls a lever, and my arms and my legs get stretched out.

H: And how exactly does that work?

P: There’s a bicycle seat.  I’ll be sitting on the bicycle seat and my arms and legs are attached to the chains and the chains have weights on the back, so as soon as I move my arms a bit, the weights just take over.  And the weights aren’t that heavy they’re just heavy enough to move my arms and then I can pull them back in.

 

H: I’ve noticed that your song, “What If” is kind of a crowd favorite. What’s it like to be onstage all alone singing that beautiful song?

P: I think it’s strange, but it’s really fun because my character is singing about IF his sister will ever torture him again. And then half way through he realizes that he can do all that stuff himself, but it wouldn’t be the same without his sister.

H: And you have sisters, so you understand…

P: Yes, I have three older sisters.

 

H: I know you like basketball- if you could play in the NBA, what team would you play for?

P: Cleveland Cavaliers

 

H: Have you been across the street to the State Fair of Texas yet?

P: I went to get a Fletcher’s Corn Dog.  It was good.  There was a big, huge line for it though! And I ate some fried food- try the fried smores!

 

H: What’s the most played song on your iPod right now?

P: Umm… I have nothing but musicals on my iPod!

H: Do you have a favorite soundtrack at the moment?

P: I like BONNIE AND CLYDE and I like CARRIE

H: BONNIE AND CLYDE is my favorite right now too, so we have that in common!

Do you have a dream role?

P: There’s a lot!  BOOK OF MORMON, maybe…  playing Elder Price – that would be fun.  Or maybe something in BIG.

 

H: Do you have any idols or role models?

P: I guess some of the [Addams Family] cast members because of their previous history with shows.

H: I bet you learn a lot from them…

P: Oh yes.

 

H: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

P: I have handshakes with people before the show.  And Blake Hammond, who plays Uncle Fester, he teaches me stage fighting.  So before every show we fake-slap each other.  And Pippa Pearthree and I try to scare each other… the score now is 7-me 4 ½ -her.

 

H: Okay, I have to ask… Were YOU in the “Being Part of Newsies” video? Because I love that video!

P: Yes, I was.  That was all done by Jonathan Ritter and Victoria Huston-Elem. They started it when the tour first opened in November and they came up with the idea because when we were in New York rehearsing, the cast of NEWSIES was rehearsing downstairs from us and so we got to know them. That was so much fun to do!  The main part of it that was set backstage was done at the Kennedy Center because we were there for three weeks.  And other parts were shot in Atlanta and Pittsburgh so parts of it were shot all over and pulled together in the video. It took a lot of organizing!

 

H: And finally, do you have any advice for young actors looking to follow in your Broadway footsteps?

P: Just try! There’s always a chance at everything.  Just do your best, you never know what’s gonna happen.

 THE ADDAMS FAMILY is on stage now through October 21st!

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: The Ghost Light

October 12th, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

Ghost Light:  A single bulb that stands onstage and remains on at all times.  It’s a safety precaution for the first person entering or the last to leave a dark theater.  While it serves a practical purpose, the ghost light gets its name from a popular theatrical superstition.  Legend tells us that every theater has a ghost, and the ghost light wards off these spirits known for causing mischief in the dark.  Some say this ritual dates all the way back to the Shakespearean era, when a candle was left burning to rid the theater of spirits from a previous performance.

In honor of the 2012 State Fair musical, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, the Music Hall is currently home to an exclusive display of original props from the set of the 1960s TV series, The Addams Family!

I’m a sucker for a good ghost story, so all of the spooky décor just adds fuel to the fire of my ghostly thoughts.  It’s hard not to consider the possibility of supernatural activity here in the 87-year-old Music Hall at Fair Park…

I wanted answers.  Although my expectations were low, I asked staff members if they had any tales of a potential Music Hall Phantom.  Surprisingly, the response was better than I had anticipated!  Some employees shared word-of-mouth tales and others brought up unusual cases of moved or missing desk items. However, I received two very creepy (and very genuine) first-person accounts of paranormal encounters here at the Music Hall.

DSM President, Michael Jenkins:

[It was 1:30 in the morning, and Michael was working late.  The bathroom adjacent to his office has two doors, one in his office and one out in the hall.]  “It’s around 1:30 am and I heard this bathroom doorknob turn. …Keep in mind these are pretty heavy doors…  Since this door in my office was closed, I stepped into the hall and went around the corner to check the other bathroom door, but it was closed too.  Initially I thought, ‘Well, I can’t just open the door to check it out… there might be someone in there!’  So I walked back down the hall, into my office and I sat down at my desk.  Seconds later, I heard that heavy door SLAM shut. I immediately said to myself, ‘I’m out of here.’ And I left!”

DSM’s IT Manager, Shawn:

The servers were down, and Shawn was working on them in the wee hours of the morning.  He heard the sound of a door and thought it was an engineer.  Shawn peeked out of his office and saw a short, bald man dressed in white rounding the corner at the end of the hall.  Confused, Shawn called out to him but the man didn’t answer.  He just passed through the doorway at the end of the hall, closing the door behind him.  Shawn followed the man and tried to open the door, but it was locked.  He quickly unlocked and opened the door, only to find a dark hallway and no sign of the man in white. Shawn assured me that he was never a believer in the supernatural until this moment, and after this encounter he found himself walking a bit faster through the Music Hall’s sometimes too-quiet corridors.

At this point in time, Dallas Summer Musicals does not have a ghost light but it certainly sounds like we could use one!

Planning to attend the State Fair? Don’t forget to pay DSM a visit!  If you enter through the fair’s Front Gate, just make a sharp right and come by the Music Hall to check out our FREE display of The Addams Family props and to purchase your ADDAMS FAMILY tickets.  If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Music Hall Phantom!

THE ADDAMS FAMILY is on stage now through October 21st!

Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: THE STATE FAIR BUZZ

September 21st, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

As many of you know the State Fair of Texas opens one week from today. I know for myself and like many of you, we’re all excited to see all of the new and wonderful things that are coming to the State Fair of Texas this year. When I think of the State Fair of Texas I think of the Fried Foods, The Auto Shows, Big Tex and of course Fletcher’s Famous Corny Dogs.  This year the Fried Foods are bigger and better with tasty new treats such as Deep Fried Mac-N-Cheese Sliders, Chicken Fried Cactus Bites, Fried Mexican Fire Crackers, Fried Bacon Cinnamon Rolls, Fried Cotton Candy, Fried Sugar, Fried Kitty Kat (Kit Kat Bars), Fried Cow Patty, The Cup of Trash Plate, Picnic on a Stick and The Big Tex Choice Award Winner for Fried Foods….Deep Fried Jambalaya. If none of those sound appetizing, don’t worry because I’m sure a Deep Fried Red Velvet Cupcake, a Deep Fried Chicken and Waffle, a Deep Fried Baked Potato or an El Dogito on a Stick will do the job.

During the State Fair, The Chevrolet Main Stage will be hosting free concerts with fair admission for musicals artists such as Kevin Fowler, Uncle Kracker, Bridget Mendler, The Commodores, Kellie Pickler and Kevin Costner with Modern West all month long. Other events include The Chinese Lantern Festival, Creative Arts Shows, Celebrity Kitchen Shows, The Starlight Parade, Illumination Sensation, Birds Of The World, The 2013 State Fair Auto Show, The Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic Football Game, The Livestock Show and Auction, The Agriculture Show, The AT&T Red Rivalry Football Game and of course The Addams Family showing here at The Music Hall at Fair Park. Also, if you buy a ticket to The Addams Family you will receive free admission into the State Fair for that day.

The State Fair of Texas is one of the most delightful and entertaining places for people of all ages. I hope to see all of you in line for a corny dog and then off to the Music Hall at Fair Park for The Addams Family…there goes the neighborhood. Don’t worry we’ll keep the lights off for you.

 

-DSM Luke


FROM THE BACK ROW: Catching Up with Michael Williams

September 20th, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

I finally had the pleasure of officially meeting DSM’s Michael Williams!  After being crowned Best Actor at DSM’s High School Musical Theatre Awards, Michael flew off to New York City to follow his dreams of becoming a big Broadway star.  Between competing at the Jimmy™ Awards and training at CAP21, Michael found some time to come back to Texas and he was kind enough to stop by the Music Hall at Fair Park to give me an update on his summer in the city!

Michael Williams and Haley

* * *

Haley: So how does it feel to be DSM’s very first Best Actor?

Michael: I’m very lucky and blessed to have this “title.” It’s also a lot of responsibility. But to be the first… it’s very special.

H: What did you like about competing in DSM’s High School Musical Theatre Awards?

M: I love working with kids who share my goals. I love the camaraderie.  When putting something together in such a short amount of time: if the quality of the outcome is great it’s because everybody wants it to be great.

H: When did you find out you were nominated for Best Actor?

M: It was early in the morning when they announced it on TV. We had a 5am watch party, with a nice bowl-o-oatmeal. Then my face flashed on the screen. Of course with DVR we had to pause it to take a picture… you know, for a new Facebook cover photo [laughing]…

H: And what was it like to win?!

M: It was surreal. That’s the best word for it. But also, there was so much support from all of the other nominees.  There was never a feeling of harsh competition, everyone really supported each other.

H: This award qualified you to compete on a national level at the Jimmy™ Awards in New York City!  What was it like to work with kids from all across the country?

M: Well when we first got there we had a big get-together with everyone. I was nervous, everyone was.  Everyone was walking in kind of… carefully.  BUT, being musical theatre kids, it didn’t take us long to make friends!  You warm up to everyone really quickly.

H: Did you get to work with anyone special?

M: I got to work with Leslie Odom from SMASH! I also met Christian Borle who plays Tom on SMASH.  That was really cool.  What I love most about that is how the Broadway community supports high-schoolers.  For us, it really validates what we’re doing in our art, to have support from people like Christian and Leslie.

H: What was it like to perform on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre?

M: Stepping on a Broadway stage was……… there was magic, energy, everyone was taking pictures. It was like stepping on to our future. It was amazing.  It was also reassuring- it made me think, “I’m gonna be back here.”

H: I read in your daily blog, ALL IN A DAY’S WORK, that you met some fellow Texans…

M: Yes! I met some nominees from the other high school musical award shows in Texas. Texas was heavily represented at the Jimmys™.  We all sat together at lunch, you know, it’s that Texas bond.

H: Did you face any challenges or overcome any personal obstacles that week?

M: Hmm… Well, in my solo coaching room I sang “Go the Distance” from Disney’s Hercules. Yeah I sang, and everything was great, but on the final day of coaching Leslie Odom just pulled something out of me, and – I hate to say it but – I cried. The song really says everything I was experiencing.

Michael then sang me a few of the lines he was referring to:

“I will find my way / I can go the distance / I’ll be there someday / If I can be strong / I know every mile / will be worth my while” …It was a really big moment for me that week.

H: What was the most important thing you learned from your National HSMTA experience?

M: Overall, you learn how to work with different people. You already know the types of people you can and can’t work well with, but through this process, you really learn HOW to make it work with anybody.

H: I heard you stayed in NYC after the Jimmys™ – what were you up to?

M: After I finished with the Jimmys™ I went RIGHT into the summer intensive musical theater program at CAP21.  It was every day, 10am to 6pm, Monday through Friday, working on dance, acting, singing, performing- it was intense and it was difficult, but the program made me such a better performer. I learned SO much in those 6 weeks. Now, I’m probably going to do their industry practicum.  It’s a semester long and at the very end we put together a showcase where we perform in front of industry people- managers, agents. It is a great opportunity because in New York, it’s REALLY competitive.  Just to get an agent you have to be top notch.

H: Any college plans?

M: There’s a full two-year program at CAP21, but honestly I’m ready to work!  I’m living in New York, I’m gonna make something happen.

H: If acting wasn’t an option, what would you do instead?

M: I would be a music engineer.  I love recording and mixing and all that stuff.  I do… of course a lot of musical theater stuff, but I also like the slower blues, jazz kind of stuff.

H: Any special hobbies or personal favorites we should know about?

M: I have a morning ritual: Iced coffee and a cinnamon-raisin bagel with strawberry cream cheese. Every morning.

H: What’s your dream role?

M: I’d love to play Elder Price in THE BOOK OF MORMON.

H: Now that you’ve made it through high school and you’re pursuing your dreams, what advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

M: Be really nice to everyone.  Treat everyone with equal respect and kindness, because it will be a major advantage in the end.  Believe in yourself. Always commit to what you’re doing, whether it’s one role or your life-long dream. And always be honest.

* * *

A huge thanks to Michael Williams!  He is a kind young man with a great head on his shoulders and a promising future ahead of him, so remember his name. He will be onstage pining for “Orlandoooo” in an Elder Price nametag before we know it!

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: Meet the Marketing Team!

September 14th, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

Ever wonder who promotes the shows, puts on events or operates social media for Dallas Summer Musicals?  Well, we think its time for you to meet the brains behind DSM’s Marketing Department.  As marketing interns, it’s a privilege to work with these talented individuals every day.  They are constantly teaching us valuable lessons that we could never learn in a classroom!

PAULETTE HOPKINS

Director of Marketing

Background: Paulette started out in sports broadcasting, and actually worked at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta!  After the Olympics, she was presented with the opportunity to develop DSM’s marketing department from the ground up.  Since Paulette grew up attending DSM’s shows, she just couldn’t resist!

Favorite thing about working for DSM: My interns! [Awww] But really, there’s never a dull day here.  Every day is different and it’s always a challenge.

Hobbies:  Wakeboarding, Boating, Reading, Piano

What would you title your autobiography?  It’s Been Fun, That’s For Sure!

Piece of advice you like to share:  Stay focused and have integrity in everything you do.

TONY JOY

Advertising and Promotions Coordinator

Background: Tony was required to have 2 internships before he could graduate from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Sport & Entertainment Management, and they were both marketing related: event planning for a country club and merchandising/marketing for NIKE.

Favorite thing about working for DSM:  I get to see Haley and Luke every day! [haha, aren’t our mentors the greatest?]  The industry.  I truly enjoy Broadway, so I have a real passion for what I’m selling.

Hobbies: Traveling, Snow Skiing, Running, and Happy Hour with Friends!

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive: Mother Theresa. I just think it would be cool to have a conversation with such an amazing person.

AMANDA FARROW

Marketing and Social Media Coordinator

Background:  Amanda was a DSM intern, just like us!  And it didn’t take long to realize that this organization was a great fit for her.  After completing the internship, Amanda was thrilled to hear that DSM wanted to keep her on their team!

Favorite thing about working at DSM:  I’m never bored.  There’s always something for me to do!  If things happen to slow down, then I use that time to think ahead and brainstorm ideas for the future!

If you could see any original Broadway cast, which would you chose?  I would have loved to see Julie Andrews in MY FAIR LADY.  Not many people know that she was the original Eliza Doolittle – not Audrey Hepburn.

CHRISTEA WHITELEY

Marketing Promotions and Special Events Coordinator

Background: At 8 years old, Christea was already assisting and composing ads for the  weekly circular at the company her mother worked for, and just before joining the DSM family, she  worked for CBS Radio as the Assistant Promotions and Marketing Director for 103.7 lite fm- KVIL

Favorite thing about working for DSM:  I love the excitement of it all! It keeps me on my toes, allows me to come up with creative ideas and learn new ways to overcome the sometimes challenging landscape of marketing and advertising.  With the variety of shows DSM brings, this job definitely does all of that!  Another thing this job has taught me, is how non-profit organizations operate, and how important they are to the community.

Hobbies:  Karaoke! At the moment, my go-to song is “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys

What song(s) would be included on the soundtrack to your life?

“What I Cannot Change” by Leann Rimes, “Win” by Brian McKnight and “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson

DEEDE SIGNORETTO

Group Sales Representative

Background: Deede has a background in sales.  Her family is in the life insurance business and she sold life insurance for most of her adult life.  Deede got her start at DSM when there was an opening in the group sales department and after interviewing, Mr. Jenkins asked her to join the team!
Favorite thing about working for DSM:  I love helping my groups have the best experience possible. Whether it’s a teacher trying to inspire their students, a family reunion or a corporate event, they all have unique desires and I love helping them make their dreams come true.  It’s very rewarding to see the joy on their faces.

Hobbies: Reading, Walking her Dachshunds, Tennis, Italian Cooking

If you could be in any Broadway show, which would you chose and why?

THE SOUND OF MUSIC – It was my mother’s favorite so we watched it a lot! – and I’d obviously have to be Maria!

– – –

Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook | Follow Us On Twitter for all of your DSM updates!

-DSM Luke & Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: Music Hall Photo Session

August 15th, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

I took a little stroll around the Music Hall at Fair Park and I snapped some pics just for you guys!  Here are a few photos of the Music Hall’s beautiful scenery and exclusive Broadway memorabilia. Next time you’re here, be sure to take a closer look at these unique features!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-DSM Haley


FROM THE BACK ROW: BRENT BARRETT

August 7th, 2012

When the Cathy Rigby is PETER PAN tour stopped in Dallas, Haley and I had the distinct privilege to sit down with actor Brent Barrett who plays the mischievous Captain Hook. He not only gave us all the details on the show but on the iconic character as well. Needless to say it was quite an adventure listening to all the incredible things going on within this show and now it is time for the DSM fans to learn more about Brent Barrett and this remarkable show.

 Where did you go to college? Started at Fort Hayes State University, but transferred to Carnegie Mellon University

You opened Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular, starring in the title role for two years.  What’s it like to perform for Vegas audiences?

It’s great, it’s funny…  Everyone is sitting out in the audience with their sippy-cups or their really tall drinks [the drinks people buy out on the strip].  The production was so elaborate it was amazing to be a part of it.

*Boris [Brent’s dog] runs in*

What is your dream role / show to perform in?

I’d still really like to do Man of La Mancha

 We love you as Captain Hook, was there any specific inspiration for your take on such an iconic character?

Well, I just did Hannibal Lectorbefore this, so I think it was a progression [laughing]

Who is your Favorite director that you have ever worked with?  Michael Blakemore – Kiss Me Kate

 What’s it like to be terrified of a ticking crocodile?

Oh it’s silly and fun, so much fun.

*Boris is curled up asleep on the couch*

What made you want to be an actor?

Growing up in Kansas, I didn’t even know you could be an actor as a profession.  One night, the Ed Sullivan Show was on.  Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet were singing selections from Camelot, and I think that’s when I knew.  My aunt also owned a movie theater so I got to see movies all the time.

 

Pictured above are Brent Barrett and his dog Boris doing tricks in the auditorium.

 Brent and Boris were an absolute blast to hang out with and we were so thrilled for the opportunity to meet and chat with such an amazing actor. Have a great day DSM fans!!!

-DSM Luke

 

 

 


FROM THE BACK ROW: Haley's Hall History

August 6th, 2012

Hey DSM Fans!

As I have said before,  it’s time to wipe the dust off of our star-studded past and bring it out into the spotlight!  I’ve lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area my whole life and I never knew about the rich history behind The Music Hall at Fair Park and Dallas Summer Musicals, so I thought the DSM fans might enjoy a brief history lesson!

The Music Hall at Fair Park opened its doors in 1925, but the Starlight Operettas (which later became Dallas Summer Musicals) originated in the Fair Park Band Shell.

A series of ten shows were presented that year, and another ten in 1944.  The State Fair Association decided the Starlight Operettas needed a full-time executive director, so they turned to the legendary, Charles R. Meeker.  Meeker was responsible for transforming the summer musical series into the organization that would become Dallas Summer Musicals.

Charles R. Meeker

Meeker oversaw the move into the music hall in 1951.  Throughout the 50s, Meeker kept the stars marching across the stage of the Music Hall – Debbie Reynolds, Jack Benny, Judy Garland and many, many more.

A tall, bronze statue stands in the lobby- watching over the Music Hall and grinning at passing guests.  Any vintage Summer Musicals fan will immediately recognize the lifelike figure of Mr. Tom Hughes.

Tom Hughes

Tom Hughes had stars like Liza Minnelli, Ginger Rogers, Carol Burnett and Robert Goulet marching across the stage! Although Hughes followed in some giant footsteps when he took over for Charles Meeker, he left a distinct and enviable legacy behind.  For more than three decades, he was considered to be nothing less than “Mr. Summer Musicals.”

In 1994, DSM season subscriber, board member and executive committee member Michael Jenkins, was the first person called to help Dallas Summer Musicals following the untimely death of Tom Hughes.  His interest was simply to get the Musicals back on firm footing, then leave the operation to others.  Instead, he quickly found himself devoted to not one, but two full time careers!

Michael Jenkins

Like Meeker and Hughes, Michael Jenkins continues to bring stars to the stage:  Tommy Tune, Cathy Rigby, Stephanie J. Block, Norbert Leo Butz, Lea Solonga, Diana Degarmo, Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, and the list goes on!

One last thing – Check out all of the nominations and awards DSM has received – WOW!
There’s  more information on our website.  Take a look at DSM’s extensive Show History, and check out the List of Stars who have graced the Music Hall’s stage.   I’m constantly fascinated by the stories I hear about Dallas Summer Musicals and I have discovered that The Music Hall at Fair Park is quite a magical place!

-DSM