So, I was just goofing around, and this happened.
"Bringing music to life!"
So, I was just goofing around, and this happened.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while, but I just haven’t found the time.
Ah, theatre. Don’t we all love it? Perhaps the most exciting part of theatre is the thrill of a live performance. Things go wrong, and in my experience as a high school performer, things go wrong often.
Once upon a time, during a cabaret-style fundraiser for The Muses, I performed a piece that included kicking a chair. I was supposed to throw the chair, in actuality, but the space we were using was so intimate that my throwing the chair in rehearsal came thiiiiiiiiiiiis close to sending one of the stage-hands to the hospital, so I was asked to kick the chair. Well, I kicked the chair with the wrong part of my foot, and it ended up swelling to the size of… I don’t know… my dad’s foot. I kept performing as if nothing had happened, and that night, I slept on the couch with my foot elevated and iced. I woke up in the middle of the night to find that my foot had turned completely black. I was freaking out. I had no idea what to do, so I decided to go back to sleep and pretend everything was okay.
In April, I was involved in a little show called Cinderella. That was the show from which I received the most injuries so far. As you know, there is this huge scene where the clock strikes twelve and Cinderella’s dress turns back into rags, yada yada yada… Anyway, we had this huge balcony set piece with stairs on both sides and all that I would run up in my ballgown, and as I quick changed back stage, the prince and royal family would run up it too. Then, the set piece would rotate and move across the stage while they ran across the balcony, and they would run down the backside offstage. Once they were off, another set of stairs would come out with a smaller set of stairs for me to climb on backstage, and I would run down the main set and across the stage in my rags. Complicated, right? Maybe I’ll find a video for more clarity. This all happened in less than thirty seconds.
This was a stressful set change for all of us, especially the tech crew, and they did not care if I was on those back stairs or not when they rolled the grand staircase onstage. I do not blame them for it, but this usually resulted in me doing superhero style leaps onto moving staircases and dodging a number of obstacles, including low-hanging door frames. Not only was I hit in the head or face with that staircase at least seven or eight times during the rehearsal process, but during our final dress, my hand was hit against the side of the stairs and began to bleed profusely. Due to my adrenaline rush, I didn’t even feel it. It wasn’t until about two scenes later, when I was singing “My Own Little Corner Reprise” that I realized I was dripping blood all over the floor. Because of the blocking in those scenes, I ended up getting blood on every single one of my costume pieces. After rehearsal, I was told I had to lick all of the blood off of each one of my dresses, because the best way to get rid of one’s own blood is with one’s own saliva. It was pretty disgusting, I’m not going to lie to anyone.
I also received a large bruise on my neck during that production when my stage manager had to change out my mic pac and ripped the mic tape from my neck. Everyone thought I received said bruise from the boy I was seeing at the time. Little did they know I actually received it from my true love (theatre, not the stage manager).
This story, however, takes the cake. Back in October, I was playing Ouiser in our school’s production of Steel Magnolias. Now, we don’t do a lot of full-length straight plays at my school. We’ve got some incredibly talented singers, so we usually put on big musicals that are almost always sold out. Our director was concerned about the attendance at our straight play, so she decided to have us perform part of a scene at our all-school assembly for promotion purposes.
We were onstage at places. The entire upper campus was crammed into the auditorium. I was sitting in one of the beauty-parlor style chairs in front of the sink, just behind the curtain. The rest of the cast was scattered about the set.
The curtain began to rise. I noticed that the bottom of the curtain caught onto the arm of my chair. Oh, no. I tried to discreetly pull it off, but the curtain was rising, and it would not budge. “Okay,” I thought, “worst case scenario, the curtain rips. It’s not the end of the world. There’s nothing I can do.” I began to hear a ripping noise, “Okay, there we go. It’s almost over. Act like nothing happened.” Suddenly, I realized that I was flying. Yes, I was flying. The curtain was lifting my chair off of the floor with me in it. “Okay, okay,” I thought, “Bailee, you’re going to end up on the ceiling. When you get to the top and the scene begins, you’re going to say, ‘Dang it, Annelle, how the heck did you get me in this mess?!'” I don’t know how in the world I thought that was going to work, but I was panicking, and trying to save the scene.
Next thing you know, I heard a loud crash. Turns out, stage left, the curtain had picked up two make up carts and lifted them into the air, and they had just fallen. Water, scissors, and hair accessories were all over the floor. Well, I did what just about any logical person would do at that point, now about four feet in the air, and screamed. I screamed and jumped out of the chair and onto the stage. Next thing you know, the chair dropped from the curtain. I don’t know how, but Katie (a.k.a. Annelle) and I caught it and put it back in place.
The stage manager were already at work cleaning up the carts and getting everything back in place.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I said, recovering, “that was a sneak preview of our spring musical, Peter Pan.”
After that, the scene went on without a hitch.
My point is, sometimes, crazy stuff is going to happen to you. You might wake up with a black foot or have to lick the blood off of your ball gown, but theatre leaves you with exciting stories that will last a lifetime.
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October 23 and 24 at 7pm
Bailee will be playing Ouiser.
Industry night on October 22 at 7pm. Free for all working theatre professionals and ITS members.
Phillip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread
SPC Clearwater, District Thespians Competition
Bailee will be playing The Baker.
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Bailee McQueen performs What I Did For Love as part of The Bailee McQueen Talent Hour.
Bailee performs “I Remember” by Stephen Sondheim for NYU Steinhardt’s Summer Study in Music Theatre Showcase.
Tomorrow begins my second week at NYU Steinhardt. I have learned so much from this experience already, not only in the weeks leading up to it, but also from my first week here. I really love this program. I almost went off to the races and started a really disorganized paragraph about the school, the classes, and the surrounding area, but I’m going to try to control myself and make this post followable. Here are a few lessons I have learned so far that I would like to impart on you.
1. You get out what you put in. Steinhardt’s program already does a pretty good job of keeping you busy. They pack in a ton of rigorous courses and master classes, each ranging from one hour in length to three hours in length. I am loving this program! You don’t really have time to focus on frivolous things. It’s all work and no play, but, when your work is your play, it’s so much fun! However, there is still free time to be found in the schedule. For example, we are divided into two dance groups, Dance I and Dance II. When Dance I has class, Dance II does not. Therefore, because our dance classes are 90 minutes long, that’s an extra 90 minutes of free time to hang out with friends, explore the area, or get food. Now, that may sound great, but are you really getting everything you can out of the program just sitting around? I decided to take Dance I and Dance II. Dance I is more technique based, and Dance II is for singers who dance really well. I took both classes so that I could work on my technique and continue to challenge myself with faster paced classes. I am really pleased with this decision. It has allowed me to really take a lot in. Because of this, I usually have three straight hours of dancing in the mornings. Thursday, I had five hours of dance. My legs were sore, but I didn’t regret my decision at all! Yes, free time would be nice, but I want to get everything I can from the program. My dance teachers are extremely pleased. I definitely suggest taking as many classes as you can at programs like these. You can only get better!
2. Do your homework. Before the start of the program, we were asked to read William Wesbrook’s book, Dramatic Circumstances, which is all about the acting through song technique that we’re using at NYU Steinhardt. I suggest that everyone read it! It is very informative, and I have already seen great improvement in my own acting since applying it (not to toot my own horn). Anyway, back to the point, some people didn’t read it. They’ve openly admitted to not reading it to the other students, and it shows. Almost everything we do here (singing wise) is based in the dramatic circumstance technique. If you haven’t read it before coming into this program, that’s a problem worth singing about. (Haha – That’s a dramatic circumstance joke.) Frankly, I don’t think it is wise to skip reading the book before coming to the program because that demonstrates a lack of responsibility/dedication in my humble opinion. Even if I were to disregard that fact, I have to admit that it makes everything progress much slower. Now, the basics have to be re-explained for an alarmingly large amount of people, so we can’t move on as quickly as I would like. My suggestion would be to always do your homework. Is reading a technique book my idea of a thrilling way to spend your weekend? Heck no. Still, I learned a lot from Wesbrook’s book, and I think that not doing your homework will deprive not only yourself, but all of your classmates of a more enriching experience. That’s just my opinion.
3. Unfortunately, there is no escaping the clique mentality. I had really high hopes for the social dynamics of this program. I believe that I am working with some of the most talented high school performers in the nation, and I thought that, with the level of dedication it must take to become one of the most talented in the nation, there wouldn’t be any concern for social groups or cliqueyness. I am sad to say that that wasn’t the case. Even here, there is a very exclusive clique. It’s disheartening to see that we all can’t just focus on theater and working to become better performers. Some people just want to form something exclusive. That’s fine. If you ever experience this, my suggestion is to just ignore it. This is going to sound a lot worse than I intend it to, but I didn’t come here to make friends. Of course I want to, and I have! There are 42 of us and a lot of really nice people. What I mean is, my primary goal in participating in NYU’s program was to become a better performer. Making friends comes after that. In the end, everyone at this program could ostracize me, and, yes, it would be a little lonely, a little upsetting, but I would still be okay because that’s not my primary focus. Choose what you put your energy into wisely. Clique mentalities distract from learning. You came here to learn. You came here to be better. Be nice to everyone, and focus on becoming the best performer possible. 🙂
4. New York City is really safe. The NYPD is everywhere all the time. In the case of Greenwich Village, where there isn’t NYPD, there is NYU’s campus security. Besides the fact that it smells like urine all the time, NYC is a very beautiful place with a lot to see and do and a lot of lovely, talented people. Washington Square Park is home to a lovely baby grande piano, and there is a pianist who plays there everyday. People all gather around to listen to him. I think that is so poetic and pretty. My one warning is not to talk to strangers. Being from the south, I always respond to people when addressed, and I can sometimes be overly polite in situations that don’t call for politeness. Up here, there can be a lot of crazies. Don’t respond. It’s really hard not to; you feel really bad, but don’t respond. If you follow that simple rule, you’ll be fine!
5. College programs are fun. Don’t let my above statements scare you or make these programs seem really hard core… Okay, I won’t lie. They can be a little hard core, but I honestly expected a lot worse. These programs are actually really fun and educational. They are a fantastic way to see if colleges are compatible for you and to work on your craft. I recommend trying a college program if you want to go into musical theater. Just remember to have fun and take advantage of every opportunity.
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