Chess Wrap Up

After three incredibly rewarding, challenging weekends of performances, Chess the Musical is done. I feel… empty. I’m not really sure what to do with myself at the moment. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to have a life outside the structure of rehearsals and performances. I keep getting the feeling that I should be somewhere, doing something.. Obviously, I hope to get my training plan back in place, and resume having a social life, but it still feels weird. This show was my main focus for so long, and now it’s just over.

I am SO grateful that I got to have this experience. Taking it back to my Chasing My Passion post from a few weeks ago, I feel like this show was my chance to finally show the local community theatre scene what I’m capable of. I really think it’s going to open the door to more opportunities. I have gotten so many compliments and such excellent feedback, from friends and strangers alike. I feel sort of like I joined the “cool kids” club. People who’ve known me since I was 16 are suddenly saying “Oh my GOD, Rachel, I didn’t know you could do that!” People whose opinions I respect and people whose craft I admire SO MUCH are suddenly the ones complimenting me, and it’s strange and wonderful.

I’m having difficulty putting my feelings into words. I’m feeling a lot of relief, of course; I can give up my strict vocal maintenance routine of vitamins, Neti pot, allergy medicine, extra sleep, ALL THE WATER, and limited alcohol intake. I can stop being worried all the time that my voice is going to suddenly give out. I can stay up late and see my friends and maybe enjoy the tail-end of summer with some swimming and hiking. I can spend some much-needed quality time with my husband. But I’m also feeling not just a little bit of sadness; I’m not ready to say goodbye to this show, this character, this cast… I’ll miss the exultation I felt every night when I made it through the show with my voice intact. I’ll miss my friends and goofing around in the dressing room. I’ll miss rocking out during warm-ups. And to be honest, I’ll miss the accolades too. It’s pretty nice to be told all the time how talented and amazing you are, especially if you have trouble believing it yourself.

So yeah, lots of feelings are happening. I think I need to do some good ole-fashioned, introspective journaling over the next couple of days to process all of this. And I know that this “at-sea” feeling is temporary; it happens after every show. In spite of these post-show blues, I’m excited to jump back into training for Wine and Dine with both feet, and I’m excited for tap class and a few other fun things that are on my plate for the fall.

And for those of you who aren’t my Facebook friends, here are a few pictures from the show.

Chess in Stowe 1

Courtesy of Adam Silverman Photography

Courtesy of Adam Silverman Photography

Courtesy of Adam Silverman Photography

Pre-show silliness

Pre-show silliness

Cast party debauchery. Oh whiskey, how I missed thee!

Cast party debauchery. Oh whiskey, how I missed thee!

Friday Free-For-All – 09/04/15

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This is the final weekend of Chess performances. While on the whole, I will be really happy to have my life back, and have time for things like running and a social life, I’m not quite ready to let this show go yet. It’s been an incredible experience, and I feel like I’ve finally had a chance to show all my friends what I’m truly capable of. I’ve been blown away by the kind words and encouragement from friends and strangers alike. Praise is a heady thing. And of course I’ll miss the music, my friends, and the adrenaline rush of being on stage. But I definitely need the break. *sigh*

I totally forgot until yesterday that it’s Labor Day weekend. That means it’s a 3 day weekend! I get two entire days after Chess closes to rest, relax, and recover. I couldn’t be happier about that. I’m hoping the weather is nice, because I’d love to fit in some of the outdoor activities I’ve been missing out on this summer, most specifically, beach time/swimming. Right now the forecast looks good, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

I very foolishly scheduled a voice lesson at 8 tomorrow morning. This means that after the show tonight, I have to drive 45 minutes home, and then get up at the wrong side of Saturday morning and go sing. I’ve been toying with the idea of canceling, but my voice teacher is really difficult to schedule with, and it will be a good warm up before our final two show day, so I’m just sucking it up. But talk about poor planning.

Our cast party is going to be SO FUN! We’re all chipping in to rent a giant house in town with a HOT TUB. I’m so excited. I will eat, drink and be merry with abandon, because I don’t have to worry about saving my voice anymore (for the time being, at least). I can’t wait!

What are your weekend plans?

Friday Free-For-All – 08/28/15

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Last night kicked off week two of Chess performances. In a way, it felt almost like opening night all over again. Lots of nerves, lots of excitement. After 4 days of little to no singing, and lots of relaxation, I felt rested, refreshed, and ready to kick ass. A bunch of my friends were there and it was so great to see them. I’m so happy I get to do this show 7 more times!

A well-respected local newspaper gave the show a favorable review.  The Seven Days is a weekly publication here in Vermont, and they do an amazing job reporting on the local scene. The review was really good to the production, and to me in particular. It’s really mind-blowing to see my name in the newspaper with such nice stuff. If you’d like to read it, click here. And another local paper gave an even better review here! To say I’m honored and overwhelmed is an understatement. I’m so proud of this show, this cast, and this crew.

I signed up for a tap dance class! If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already saw this, but I am SUPER pumped to take Tap 1 for beginners this fall. Classes start the week of September 12, so I have a bit of down time once Chess is over. I’ve always wanted to learn tap, and this fits in perfectly with my recent desire to more aggressively pursue my performing passion. Plus, tap is great exercise 🙂 AND I’ve convinced at least one friend to sign up with me, so I get to have fun AND exercise AND hang out with my friend all at the same time!

Party tonight post-show! A couple from the local theater scene are packing their bags and moving to the Pacific Northwest, so we’re having a final bar crawl farewell tonight. They’ll be getting started while I’m doing the show, so I plan to meet up with everyone later in the evening. I won’t be drinking, because I have a two-show day tomorrow (ugh), but I’m psyched to see all my friends.

Chess the Musical Sneak Peek

Ok guys, if you’re at all interested in hearing me sing and do my thing, you can click the link below for several sneak peek videos that were shot during our live news segments yesterday morning. Please keep in mind that it’s early and I’m exhausted and nervous as all get out–I promise it sounds better live 😉

If you don’t want to watch all of the videos (which I won’t blame you for because there are a lot), I’m the one wearing the shiny purple shirt, so you can just pick those two!

Friday Free-For-All – 08/14/15

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Remember how I’m gonna be on live TV on Monday? Well, it turns out I WILL actually be performing one of my songs, as well as a group number. Yikes! But this is good news because they usually put the segments on the website, which means I can share links with you guys and you can actually see me sing! Cool, right?

I may ditch run club tomorrow and do 7 miles solo instead. I love run club, but attending Saturday morning runs means splitting my long runs up into two chunks. While this is a great mental break and I love seeing my friends, I worry that not doing my long run mileage all at the same time is bad training for a half marathon. I don’t want to get used to having a big break right in the middle of my long runs. Every once in a while I just need to do them all in one shot.

I have a 12+ hour rehearsal on Sunday.  “Tech rehearsal” is the first rehearsal where we add all of the technical elements to the show–lights, sound cues, microphones, and in the case of this show, projections. We’re using custom-designed projections instead of any set pieces, which is REALLY cool, but will also take a lot of finessing to get right. It may be a looooooooong day. I plan to bring plenty of snacks and wear comfy clothes. They’re also buying us dinner, which is super nice.

In light of all of the above, I think a nap is in order tomorrow. I can’t remember the last time I took a nap, but I think one will be necessary tomorrow. That is, after I run 7 miles, do laundry, and go grocery shopping. Oy.

Do you ever break your long run up into chunks?

Friday Free-For-All – 08/07/15

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I get to be on TV! On Monday the 17th, from the god-awful hours of 5 am – 9 am, the Chess cast and crew will be doing a segment on a local news program called “My Champlain Valley.” I don’t think we’ll actually be performing anything, but we’ll be talking about the show, the music, and the characters. This is LIVE TV folks. I’m a little nervous, but I think it will be fun. The host of the program is really funny and adorable, and she does a great job of making people look good. I just need to make sure I have plenty of caffeine and makeup… If there are links available to the segments, I’ll be sure to post them 😀

I don’t have rehearsal tonight! Originally, we were supposed to do a full run-through of the show tonight, but after our awesome run on Wednesday, the director and choreographer decided it would be better to just do a music and dance review with the ensemble members. I am delighted beyond words that I don’t have rehearsal tonight. I’ve had something to do every single night this week, and I am POOPED! I’d love to spend a quiet evening at home, but it looks like Ben’s folks may be coming over for dinner. And they won’t care if I wear yoga pants, so I’m cool with that 😀

I have to run 6.5 miles tomorrow. This will be my longest run in a loooooong time, and the first real “long run” of this half marathon training cycle. To say I’m nervous would be an understatement. The good news is, I can do the first 5k with my run club, and then take it too the trails nearby to finish it off. The plan is just to take it slow and get the miles in, regardless of time/pace.

I will be runch-ing today for the first time in a while. I was doing a lot of runching last fall and this spring, but temperatures and humidity have been keeping me on a morning/evening running schedule this summer. Today, however, the max temperature is only supposed to be 77, so I’m gonna take it outside on my lunch break and make up for the run I skipped yesterday.

Who else is running long this weekend?

When is the last time you runched?

Friday Free-For-All – 07/31/15

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This is officially my highest mileage month ever! 62 miles! I started running in 2012, dabbled in 2013, and trained for my first (and second) half marathon in 2014. But this year, I’ve found a consistency that I’ve never had before, and this month is a reflection of that. I can’t wait to see the numbers I hit as half marathon training continues 😀

I didn’t sleep for crap last night. I don’t know why, but I just tossed and turned for hours. I’d be surprised if I got more than three hours of total sleep. Therefore, I am riding the struggle bus today. But hey, it’s Friday, so I can’t be too worried about it.

I get to go to a party tonight! Some friends of mine from the theater scene are relocating to the Pacific Northwest at the end of the summer (sadface), and they’re having a “Drink our Booze BBQ.” They don’t want to move with umpteen open bottles of liquor, so they’ve invited a bunch of friends over for fun times and unique cocktails. Obviously, I won’t be much help on the drinking front, but it will be fun to see my friends.

We’re doing a promotional photo shoot for Chess on Sunday. I’m a little nervous because I hate having my picture taken, but I think it will be fun, and it will be cool to have some pictures of me in costume and in character. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some shots with you!

I have another voice lesson tomorrow. In trying to follow through on my “Chasing My Passions” post from last week, I’ve done some fiddling around with my budget to make sure I can afford at least two voice lessons a month. I’m a happy girl. Next on the list is saving up for a dance class that I can take this fall.

What was your mileage like this month?

Do you like having your picture taken?

Friday Free-For-All – 04/17/15


I ran this week! I didn’t realize it, but it had been about 5 weeks since my last run. Holy crap! That’s almost as long as when I was out due to foot injury last fall. So on Wednesday, I had my triumphant return to running, and also my first “runch” (lunch run) of the year. 2.5 easy, breezy miles along the lakefront bike path. And I plan to do a “long” run this weekend of at least 4 miles.

Spring has sprung in northern Vermont. It was in the 50’s and 60’s all week. The lake is unfrozen. Trees are budding and flowers are starting to bloom. Thank goodness! I try really hard not to complain about the weather and just take it for what it is, but this winter was BRUTAL, and I’m so happy to bid it adieu.

Chess rehearsals now aren’t starting until May 31. While I’m disappointed that I don’t get to start working on this awesome project as soon as I thought (originally it was May 20), I’m VERY excited to have a bit more time to myself to work on my fitness goals, hang out with Ben, and spend time outdoors!

I got my hair cut yesterday. It had been almost exactly 6 months to the day since my last hair cut. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since I’m actively growing my hair out, it was starting to get a bit shaggy, and I want to make sure I take care of split ends so that, as my hair grows, it stays healthy.

I am obsessed with Polar seltzer. Particularly Ruby Red Grapefruit flavor. I’ve always loved seltzer, but lately I just can’t seem to get enough of it. I drink two cans a day at work, and several times I week I buy one of the liter-sized bottles at the store too. It’s great by itself, but I also love using it to make cocktails. Yum!

Are you planning to run this weekend? How far/long?

Is it spring where you are?

Chess the Musical

Y’all, I got some super exciting news on Sunday. You may recall that I had an audition last week. I went out for Florence, the lead female role in Chess the Musical, and I FREAKING GOT THE PART!

This part is super meaty. Lots of excellent songs and some really serious shit happens to the character. It’s also a part that has been sung by my idol, Idina Menzel, of Frozen fame. I’ve been a fan of hers since long before Frozen came out, and to get to sing some of the same songs as her is a total dream come true.

This definitely isn’t the big leagues–this is a small show in a small theater in a small town. But it feels SO COOL! I feel like a rock star. I’ve never actually had a leading part in a community show in Vermont before, and I’m SO EXCITED to get to show people what I can do.

Here’s a little taste of the kick butt stuff I’ll be up to this summer 😀

Another reason I’m so excited is because this is just one more reason to stay healthy and keep up with my running and cross-training. This type of rock and roll singing is incredibly athletic. Yes, you read that right, singing can be athletic. I’ll need to stay super hydrated all the time, and have a strong core to support scream singing my face off. IT’S GONNA BE AWESOME!

Have you ever been in a play or musical? Would you?