They say that the second year of living in New York is the hardest. By that time, the rose-colored glasses have faded and the hype of living in one of the world's greatest cities is gone. That definitely was the case for me. In this last year, I worked several jobs just trying to keep afloat, been mugged at knife point, was pick-pocketed on New Years, probably was the sickest I have ever been in my life, had no money, and not had much luck in the audition room. Which is why when I got the call asking if I would like to come be a part this year's cast of Saturday's Voyeur, I didn't have to think twice. Last year, I had such an amazing time I would have to be crazy not to do it again. I made so many great friends, I got to work with some of the state's most amazing talent. The staff at SLAC is incredible. I was honored to get my equity card because of Voyeur 2013. So many great things came out doing "Voyeur" last year; it would be hard to top that experience. But, the universe works in mysterious ways. By coming back, I have been blessed in so many ways. So let's count the many blessings and name them one by one.
1. I get to see my family. I love my family, and now that I am out in New York I don't get to see them as much as I like. Now I get to spend an entire summer with them...AGAIN! My nieces and nephew are bigger, smarter, and even more rambunctious. Spending time with my sisters and my parents is always great.
2. I get to work with my sister. Yeah, in case you didn't you know, the Madson family is slowly taking over SLAC. First me, now Shea. She just graduated from the U of U with a degree in sound design and is the sound mixer for "Voyeur". Which is really cool because I was the one that suggested she look into a career in sound design and now we finally get to work on our first professional show together. I can't tell you how incredibly cool it is to see her up in that booth and how proud it makes me.
3. Getting to work with cast mates from last year. Justin, Alexis, Austin, Connor, Leah, and Janessa all were in "Voyeur" with me last year and getting to work with each of them again is so great. Each of them are so incredibly talented at what they do and to share the stage with them is truly an honor.
4. I get to work with some new amazing actors. This year "Voyeur" added Jaron, Hayden, Angie, and Olivia to the cast. The talent here in Utah really is amazing and I am simply blown away by each of the actors. Working with them and getting to know them for the last couple of months has been so much fun.
5. Latoya! Not many people know that Latoya and I have been friends for a really long time. We went to high school together (Go Darts). We shared the stage many times in those days. Since high school, we went our separate ways in pursuit of bettering ourselves as actors. I went to the U of U and Ohio University and Toya headed down south to Southern Utah University. It's been 11 years since we have been on stage together and all I can say is some things never change. She is still an incredible performer and an even more incredible friend. Sharing the stage with her again has been awesome.
6. Working with Cynthia, Kevin, Elena, Janice and Kristina. I worked with all these guys last year (except Kristina) and each of them is amazing in their own way. Cynthia is such a fun director and so fun in the rehearsal room. Kevin Mathie is not only one of the most talented people I have ever met in my life, but he is the nicest person you will ever meet in your life. If there was an award for nicest guy in the world, Kevin would win it every year. Elena Dern is so talented in so many ways, and has the patience of a saint when it comes to going through choreography. As for Janice and Kristina, they have in my opinion the hardest job in theatre and never get any of the credit for what they do. As Stage managers they are literally the glue that keeps everything together and with those two its super glue. Both are super sweet, and so good at their work.
7. Improv. I have been doing improv for years, but I don't get to play that much in New York, so whenever I am back in Utah you will be sure to see me play with Quick Wits out in Midvale or Off the Wall up in Ogden. I love those guys and going on stage with them is like a family reunion. Plus, this summer I got to workshop my idea for a new long form format up in Ogden. "Improv Against Humanity!" An improv show that is based on the popular card game "Cards Against Humanity" and it is so much fun to do. I can't get enough of it.
8. Food. Whenever I talk to people about Utah I can't help to talk about our food culture. So many gems are here in Utah, and you can't keep me away from them while I am here. If only I could keep away the pounds I gain.
9. Saying goodbye to my childhood home. My parents recently moved, but by coming and doing "Voyeur" I got to come home and spend one last month in the house I grew up in. The place where I saw my sister get married. Where my brother would chase me through the halls. Where I had my first kiss. So many memories, I would have never of got to relive.
10. Getting to perform. Work as a young actor can be hard and I am just happy to be on stage again. There is nothing like getting in front of an audience and taking them on a journey. To make them laugh, to make them cry, or just make them think of something they may not thought of before. It's the most satisfying experience ever and, how I make my mark on the world. It's in my soul to perform, and I am so honored to be on that stage and perform for all of SLAC's awesome patrons.
I moved to Utah from New York City. "Why, in the name of everything holy, would you do that?!" you may be screaming at your computer. I am not Mormon, I would rather take a nap in my bathtub while watching "Toddlers and Tiaras" than go hiking, and if I tried to ski my bones would shatter like the saltines squished at the bottom of your Wendy's chili to-go bag. My friends, I will be honest with you. I dreaded moving to Utah. I so enjoyed the fact that I could walk outside of my NYC apartment and have six different Starbucks to choose from on the same corner as my nail salon. I realized quickly that when Utahans said a building was "three blocks away" what they meant was not my customary three NYC blocks, but really more like 3,470 miles. #Inconvenient. It was a culture shock, dear ones. But, graduate school was calling to me at the University of Utah, and so, here I came to this alien planet.
My mom took me to see Saturday's Voyeur last summer and I remember thinking, "THERE ARE OTHERS. I AM NOT ALONE." It was an encounter of the fourth kind, the hilarious kind. I laughed myself silly (a little too silly, thanks to the Riesling) and was jealous of the fun all of the actors were having up on stage. After the show, my mom said, "You should audition next year!" to which I had a hearty chuckle. Saturday's Voyeur surely would have no use for an opera singer. I put the thought out of my head. Months passed...(cue montage of my school life accompanied by an upbeat pop song.) Then, one fateful day, I saw that SLAC was holding auditions for Saturday's Voyeur 2014 and I thought to myself, "What the hell. The worst thing that can happen is that they laugh in my face and pelt me with rotting vegetables." Well, they did laugh in my face. In a good way! I think I realized that that audition was unlike any I had ever done about halfway through my operatic version of a Lil Jon rap song. I certainly had never sung the "F word" in any opera audition, let me tell you that much.
Well, folks, the rest is history. I am a proud member of this year's Voyeur cast and I am literally having the time of my life. And you know what the most surprising thing that came out of all of this is? A love and appreciation for Utah. Through this show, I have gained an understanding and sense of humor about all of the quirkly Utah-isms that makes this state one in a million. I have met some of the coolest and most talented people who make me laugh every single day and I finally feel a sense of belonging in this city.
So, please, come see Saturday's Voyeur. You'll laugh and feel like part of a family that shows love by gently poking fun at each other. Being in Voyeur is an experience that has truly changed me for the better. Although I still will probably never go hiking.
It's not easy being a beauty queen. It may look like a glamorous life but there's a lot that goes into winning the high high honor of being crowned Miss Riverton*. It's not all fun and games, there's the constant trying on of gowns, perfecting that award winning smile, nail painting, hair dying, learning how to vaguely answer a question I don't fully understand, and so much more, not to mention the lugging around of enormous fake melons. As the former Miss Riverton, I can't understand anyone's confusion when I had to let off a little steam. It's a lot of pressure to represent a big city like Riverton. Everyone in the city, state, and country was looking up to me expecting me to change the world and I just couldn't handle it anymore. If I needed to throw a couple pipe bombs at some houses then who's gonna stop me!?!? Well, apparently the court will. Having to resign from my title and serve community service at the Church Office Building is totally humiliating. Maybe I'll become a feminist.... I don't really know what it is but seems like it could be fun. Or maybe I'll become a lesbian and then no one can stop me from throwing bombs or wearing doc martins or doing whatever the hell I want.
*Leah Hassett plays Miss Riverton in SATURDAY's VOYEUR 2014
The Get-Us-Heard Address
Written by Justin Ivie
One score and sixteen years ago our founding mother brought forth to this unsuspecting state a new musical, conceived in comedy, and dedicated to the proposition that no cow is too sacred for roasting.
Now, we at SLAC are engaged in rehearsals for another great summer of Saturday’s Voyeur, testing whether this company, or any company so insane and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met in the chapel six days a week—come to dance, and to sing and to seek out the punchiest line deliveries so that this irreverent bacchanal once again might live. It is altogether thrilling and possibly delusional that we do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not satirize, we can not caricature, we can not lampoon this state. Those beautiful, bombastic, ridiculous Utahns, living and dead, who frolic here, have practically parodied themselves - far above our poor powers to send-up or takedown. The conservatives and blowhards who run our state will little note, nor likely understand what we have to say here, but we can never forget what they do here. And it’s better for us to laugh than to cry! It is for you, the beleaguered but sane denizens of our fair community, to be inebriated here - and to laugh at the noble buffoonery which those gasbags have so seriously advanced. It is for us, the company, to tackle the enormous tasks remaining before us—that from these glorious idiots we take-the-piss, and mine the last full measure of comedy gold—that we here highly resolve to learn every note, every step and every line—that these jokes shall not die in vain—that this very serious comedy, under the noses of the G.O.P. and the C.O.B., shall have a new birth of hilarity—and that satire of those people, by these people, for you people, shall not perish from SLAC’s stage.
We open June 27th. Performances sell out fast, so don’t wait! Get your tickets now!