Friday, June 26, 2015

Opening night tonight of Guys and Dolls

 I've been too busy to blog very much - we've been at the theater almost every night until 11:30 for weeks. I've also been helping out during the day with stuff needing to be done. I am in 4 dance numbers, 3 of which I am in the back - trying to hide. The 4th is the issue where there are not as many guys on the stage and I have to synch with the others. Oy!. I tape the rehearsals every night and study the tape in slow -mo -- I'm always off a beat at some point(s). Tonight is it - I hope the tale of the tape comes through.

There are performances tomorrow (Sat) night and Sunday afternoon - but I won't be there Sunday due to a wedding. We skip next weekend and then there are performances on July 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Here is my column in The Wave where I interviewed the 2 Japanese members of the cast.

RTC Goes International

Guys And Dolls Attracts Performers From Japan
By Norm Scott

Atsushi Edo, backstage, in the RTC dressing room. Atsushi Edo, backstage, in the RTC dressing room. 

 One of the pleasant surprises at the Rockaway Theatre Company this spring has been the arrival of two performers from Japan -- Makiko Kuri and Atsushi Eda -- who independently answered audition ads for Guys and Dolls and met for the first time at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden, travelling long distances to get there. (I love these little ironies.) Makiko Kuri, who lives in Harlem, is a wonderful dancer who joins the other gals as a Hot Box dancer and singer.
Norm Scott: How long have you been in New York? What part of Japan are you from?
Makiko Kuri: I’ve been here five years. I’m from Kobe.
NS: Why did you come here from Japan?
MK: I stayed in New York for three months in 2009, and was offered a jazz band gig. I really wanted to take it, but as I had to leave, I couldn't do it. It was such a regrettable feeling. I decided to come back and stay longer. Besides I wanted to learn many kinds of dance.

Makiko Kuri will appear in Guys and Dolls as a Hot Box dancer and singer. Makiko Kuri will appear in Guys and Dolls as a Hot Box dancer and singer. NS: What is your background in terms of education, jobs?
MK: I used to work at an office and did administration work a long time ago when I was in Japan. I had never thought of myself becoming a dancer or any performer. But after I studied tap dance, it changed my life - very nicely. After I came to New York, I danced with a jazz band. And I fell in love with the musical theater. I was in the International Student program at Steps on Broadway which I think is the best dance school in the world. I learned so much there.
NS: How did you learn to speak English so well?
MK: Harry Connick Jr. was my very beginning. I fell in love with him when I was in middle school. I tried very hard to learn his songs and I really wanted to talk to him in the future, so I worked hard on studying English by myself to prepare to talk to him.
NS: What are your main interests and hobbies?
MK: I love watching soccer.
NS: What kind of jobs do you have or have you had?
MK: I just got work permission, so I'm looking for a job now. When I was in Japan, I was performing and teaching tap.
NS: How did you end up at the RTC coming from so far away?
MK: My friend told me about the audition. And I really wanted to do Guys and Dolls so I decided.
Atsushi Eda plays a number of roles, many taking advantage of his wonderful acrobatic skills. (Don’t be surprised to see him riding a unicycle.) As one of the crap shooters he is “Tokyo Moe” and just watch him do his stuff in the Crapshooters ballet.

Atsushi, a resident of Jackson Heights who schleps to Fort Tilden almost every day by public transportation, studies ballet and other dance in Manhattan. I asked him a few question by email. I hope his delightful sense of humor comes through. [He has wonderful skills in English but did ask me to make any misusage editing corrections, which I did other than in a few instances.]
Norm Scott: How long have you been in New York?
PhotosAtsushi Eda: Since this February. I am ready to spend my first summer in New York City!
NS: Why did you come here from Japan?
AE: Actually I have been to New York 10 times. But I love this city. So, why I said ‘why can't I move here?’ So I finally decided to move from Japan.
NS: What is your background in terms of education, jobs?
AE: I had trained in musical theater at high school. After graduating high school, I started dancing at Tokyo Disneyland. That was my dream when I was a child. So I really enjoyed my job and I had great experiences. But I am not Peter Pan. So I left Neverland. Adult Atsushi’s ambition is to be in musical theater, opera, and TV show and concert tours.
NS: How did you learn to speak English so well?
AE: No way! I don't! But thanks Norm. I studied just by myself. There were many English speaking co-workers from around the world when I worked at Tokyo Disney. So I had to speak English. And my good American friend (he is in Finding Neverland on Broadway now! YAY!!) wanted to learn Japanese. So we studied together little by little.
NS: What are your main interests and hobbies?
AE: I love travel. I am a student now, so I don't have much time (and money, of course!) to travel at this moment. But I used to travel around the world. Meeting new people and having reunions. Ah! I miss that!! But I am not good at doing tourist things. I have never been to Statue of Liberty and other tall buildings.
NS: What kind of jobs do you have or have you had?
AE: Currently, I am a student. So I can't work. But I hope I can work in showbiz in America in the future. Being a great dancer or singer is not my goal. To entertain people, that is my mission.
NS: How did you end up connecting to the theater out here?
AE: I was already studying at school for only two months. And I really wanted to do a performance. Then I found the audition information. That was my first audition experience in ENGLISH. And still, cold winter. After I sang two songs and read the script, I had a dance audition with our lovely choreographer Nicola. I did a few dance combinations, and Nicola said out loud, “I want to choose you! Atsushi!” She run to room and discuss with the directors. After a few minutes, Nicola was back and she said "Welcome to the family!” That was my fastest audition experience. Since then, I would love to thank the Rockaway Theatre Company family for welcoming me and hope to learn more about American musical theater. I hope many people will come see our show!
Thank you!
Come see Makiko and Atsushi make their American theater debuts at the RTC: Evenings at 8 p.m. - June 26, 27, July 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.: June 28, July 12, 19. RTC Hotline: 718-374-6400.

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