Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Family photos

We took some family snapshots a couple days ago ... don't the boys look happy. All these photos are by Thom Kaine.















And there's a story about them on broadwayworld.com here ...

SHAIFER!!

... "Enough Said"


video



video

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Out with the Blonde and In with the Brunette

Well, in surprising, exciting, and somewhat bittersweet news, Steve Wilder, longtime member of the Made in Heaven cast, whose portrayal of Gilbert the hustler will live in infamy, has been promoted to Associate Producer of the Off-Broadway production. Meanwhile, Matthew Bondy, originally the understudy for all three of the male characters (a job that was already giving him a heart attack, and he hadn't even officially begun his contract!), has graciously agreed to step into the role. We know he will do his best to fill Wilder's thong, stuffing and all.

Obviously this is both exciting and a little sad for the rest of the cast. We love you, Wilder, and I'm sure we will all miss making out with you (especially Anfanger). And Matthew, we couldn't be more thrilled to welcome you to our crazy, dysfunctional family. And we all look forward to making out with you, too (especially Anfanger).

So, welcome, Matthew. Welcome to your rock hard abs and clever punchlines, to your scraped off chest hair, and your ability to burp on cue, and welcome to your brown, brown hair. I don't know that I can act opposite a brunette after all these years, but I'm sure everyone else in the cast would say that they don't know that I can act at all. And, in any case, I'm excited to try.

And, Highlights, (as we often called our friend Wilder), you will be missed onstage. (and not just the two shows you were actually missed onstage...) But, this is not goodbye, my highlighted friend. Because, remember, Wilder, this show is like the mafia: Once you're in, there ain't no getting out...

Kevin T.

Lighting renderings from LD Kia Rogers

Hi, I'm the LD for MIH. To help facilitate design ideas I like to render some of the intimate moments from the play and then bring them to my design meetings. Some make it to the show, some don't, but the pictures let the director know where my head is creatively and opens dialogue with the other designers. Here are several renderings. I have often been asked why I render on black paper...I simply don't see the picture until my light hits a surface, be it the character's face, a specific piece of furniture, architecture or atmosphere. It feeds my imagination to start in the dark and paint with light.

You can see bigger versions of these renderings by going to my Flickr account, or by clicking on them.

I really wanted to push the idea of starting intimate and then opening up. A gesture of being shy, then trusting the audience with very personal stuff. With the mirror, we allow the boys to "hide" just a little before revealing themselves. The mirror also represents an honesty and willingness on the boys' part that they do accept themselves. A strong angled light would be focused on the mirror to reflect on the boys' faces, and another instrument would light their upstage faces and with a blue wash across the stage we see them but not fully until they move away from the mirror and the room opens up to realistic lighting motivated by table lamps and recessed lighting over the dinning table and bar.

We open the scene with the character action of turning on a lamp, from this motivated light the area around the sofa will softly glow and broaden to see the scene play out.




I wanted to use practicals as much as possible, and then once we established the "look" the stage would open up subtly to see all the action. In this rendering the motivated light is from the table lamp and a blue wash colors the rest of the set to create a late night feeling, but still see the characters. As the scene progresses the light will radiate from the source of the table lamp and fill the surrounding area but the corners will remain darker.

Here we have a moment where I wanted to take us out of reality and highlight the group in an isolated look. There is a front spot that will start on the boys in the middle and then grow larger to incorporate the two new "members" of the family. The audience should feel like this is all going to work out at this moment, and the characters should sparkle. There are dedicated back light and front side light to assist the spotlight.

Friday, October 16, 2009

FANTASTIC INTERVIEW WITH DIRECTOR

Hi Guys,

Just wanted to post this incredible interview I had with our director Andrew Shaifer.
I think it really provides a tremendous insight into the way he uses his acutely developed craft in order to sculpt a detailed and rich product.
Enjoy.

-Alex Anfanger




video video

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adam Szymkowicz interview with Jay Bernzweig

Our first interview!

Playwright and blogger Adam Szymkowicz has interviewed MADE IN HEAVEN's author, Jay Bernzweig, for his ongoing series on contemporary playwrights. Jay is number 71 in the list. 71. Who knows 71 playwrights? READ IT HERE!

On a related note, Jay has a VERY serious, professional-looking photo.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What Not To Wear

Most people want to know what we do in rehearsals.

Mainly, we comment on what Shaifer wears.

I know what you are thinking, "But you rehearse every day for 7 hours! You must be doing other things as well?!"

Nope. Not really. Commentary is extensive and thorough, and, I assure you, consumes most of our rehearsal hours.

For Example Tuesday Shaifer wore Horizontal Stripes and then asked us all day if he looked fat. Now, it doesn't take Tim Gunn to know that Horizontal stripes make everyone look fat. (Unless you're Kate Moss - in which case horizontal stripes make you look like a Size Two) Stripes width wise does nobody any favors. This is why your local Footlocker Employees always look svelte.


Wednesday, Shaifer went with a light Gray Sweater which would have been a major improvement were it not for the giant pink horizontal stripe at the bottom. But at least it was better than the effing sailor suit he was wearing Tuesday.
Thursday we couldn't really make fun of Shaifer. Shaifer looked good. Shaifer bought a brand new shirt at the Gap. We had to give it to Shaifer. We got a lot of rehearsing done that day.
But Friday, Shaifer outdid himself with a white and blue patterned polyester shirt with 5 buttons at the top that he wore for the first time in August of 1969 to Woodstock.
What will tomorrow bring? We wait with baited breath! The weather is supposed to be in the high sixties. Dare we hope for Culottes?

XOXO - Maia "Fashion Police" Madison


Friday, October 9, 2009

Welcome to the newest member of our cast - Pneumonia!

Well, the first week of rehearsals was really exciting for many reasons - new designers, understudies, not rehearsing in Champion Dance Studios (otherwise known as artistic purgatory) - but I think possibly the most interesting and exciting addition to the team was what I brought to the table - Pneumonia.

Now I know what you're thinking, but, no, she doesn't have a last name. She just goes by Pneumonia. Like Jesus. (His last name wasn't really Christ. But I digress...)

I brought Pneumonia on board because I felt my work lacked something. From the very first day Pneumonia was in the room with us, you could feel the difference, feel her presence in everything I did. The room immediately heated up until it felt like it was at least 102 degrees on stage. She somehow managed to make me feel like I was in my own little world, separated from my fellow actors. Plus she apparently made me so powerful and interesting that nobody else on stage wanted to touch me, or even be anywhere near me. And don't even get me started on all that tasty phlegm she helped me cough up all week...Did I say phlegm? I meant truth!

Pneumonia is mostly gone now. She may pop her head in from time to time. But I just wanted to say thank you, Pneumonia, for making the first week and a half of rehearsals SO MUCH EASIER. I just don't know how I could have done it without you...


By the way, I'm also really looking forward to my special guest for next week, the Bubonic Plague! I mean, who gets Pneumonia?!?!?! While on vacation?!?!?!? In September?!?!?!?

Armpits, Chia's and Sex with the Shaif....

Well, following Jay IS hard but following Shaifer is easy.... he's doing a great job on this show, but if you meet him at one of the performances (and you will if you come and you SHOULD come!) he will invariably ask you if you would rather have sex with him or me. I implore you...when this happens, overlook his growing stomach and pasty skin (even though he tans) and say, "Why YOU Shaif, of COURSE". If you don't, he will take revenge upon me by requiring me to shave more of my armpit hair until it looks like a Chia Pet.

Steve -AKA Gilbert

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Director Andrew Shaifer here...

Following the Brilliant Jay Bernzweig is near impossible but I shall try...

If you are visiting this site and thinking about buying tickets, I implore you to do so. I have truly never had so much fun on a show in my life, and I've done some RANDY shows! The cast is awesome and darn sexy, the writing is hilarious and I am cute as a button!

So come on buy your tickets as MADE could become a hot ticket and then you'll be weeping into your morning oatmeal that you didn't buy tickets as soon as you finished perusing this blog!


Clarified butter, and gold standards

I would have blogged sooner but I decided to cook all of the recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It’s been done before, you say. But not in the miniscule kitchen of a New York studio apartment, using only a single sauce pan and a tiny convection oven. With luck I’ll manage to clarify butter successfully by the end of the week.

Rehearsals have been going splendidly and have been almost too much fun. Yesterday I brought H., a friend of mine, in to speak to the cast. (I’m using initials so you can pretend you’re reading a French novel.) H. is a delightfully sweet and winning young guy from Venezuela who has been a gay porn star and a successful escort for eight years. His mission was to help one of our brilliant actors, Steve Wilder (I mean ‘S.’), add a layer of verisimilitude to “Gilbert,” the sexually ambiguous, drug addicted hustler he plays in the show. In short order our director, A., had H. on stage, teaching S. the finer points of male hoochie dancing and showing him the (porn) industry-standard butt position for giving a blowjob.

I need to immodestly digress for a moment to say that “Made in Heaven” contains the funniest and most intricate blowjob scene in the history of the American theatre. I’m fairly confident it will become the gold standard of blowjob scenes, against which all future stage blowjobs will be measured.

-- Jay.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Ridiculous and/or Sublime Stephanie March

Apparently everyone who's seen MADE IN HEAVEN wants to tell everyone everyone who hasn't to come see the show. Stephanie March just sent us this lovely quote:

"Sublimely ridiculous and ridiculously sublime. I laughed for a straight hour." Stephanie March ("Law & Order: SVU," The Invention of Lying)

We like. Thank you.

Want to buy tickets yet?

A rare blend of Jane Pratt (like Hankey-Bannister?)

Jane Pratt, magazine maven and editrix extraordinaire, saw the show a bunch of times - in early readings and at the festival this summer.


She says:

"MADE IN HEAVEN is that rare blend of irreverent, original and funny as hell and I implore you to go see it," Jane Pratt (founder, Jane Magazine, Sassy Magazine)


Flying the flag

Here's what the SoHo Playhouse looks like when we've put our posters on it. Shaifer got very excited and clapped his hands when he saw it.





Johanna, our Assistant Stage Manager, gave it the thumbs up. She was very excited.





Next challenge: make a new flag for the venue.

This one isn't doing too well anymore. This question of what to put in its place took an hour to debate in today's strategy meeting. Our publicists, promotions team, branding agency, and producers, on conference call from Costa Rica, all had useful input and got very excited. Only after we'd agreed to construct a large pair of [this comment has been censored] did we learn that the current flag's shape is 'grandfathered in' (SoHo Historic District and all that) and its shape can't be changed. We eventually decided that because it will only cost a few thousand dollars to get a new one - every cent well spent as far as ROI - we should go ahead, provided we hire a union rigger to put it up. We created a mock-up of the new flag pinned onto a styrofoam model of the building, and presented our work to the cast, but they didn't seem to care.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The best Ron Livingston

We asked actor-supremo Ron Livingston (who, with his brother John, played the twins in one of the first ever readings of "Made in Heaven") to let us quote him talking about the play. He sent us this ringing endorsement:

"Hands down the best gay/straight Siamese twin comedy of 2009."

Ron Livingston (Office Space, "Sex and the City")

Ron, of course, doesn't want to confuse audiences who loved "My Name Is Herman" -- which we all agree was the best gay/straight Siamese twin melodrama of 2009.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Outrageously funny" says David Fumero

Here's a clipping from trusted news source, ABC Soaps, talking to audience member and cast favorite David Fumero.

"It was awesome. Outrageously funny. The show went by really fast -- you're so into it the whole time. The actors are amazing, too."

David saw our (Best Play Award-winning) presentation at the Midtown International Theater Festival, a couple months ago ...

Next up: First preview off-Broadway at SOHO PLAYHOUSE, Oct 22nd!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oh really?

Everybody always asks "is that possible?" Oh yes. And conjoined twins are not always identical ...

[excerpt:]

Conjoined twins are categorized using the suffix "-pagus" from the Greek word for "fixed". Early teratologists such as Ambroise Pare and Geoffrey St. Hillaire were among the first to identify the various types of conjoined twins. Many twins do not fit perfectly into any of these classifications, and the terms are often combined.

Thoracopagus (left). Joined at the upper chest, from the clavicle to the sternum, each with their own separate heads, arms and legs. The heart is always involved in the conjoinment. In a very few cases, twins sharing a heart have survived for several years. Ruthie and Verena Cady of Rhode Island lived to the age of 7 and were healthy, active girls who rode a tricycle, swam, did gymnastics and went to school. Thoracopagus twins are the most common type, accounting for around 35% of all cases.


Omphalopagus (right). Joined at the abdomen, from the sternum to the groin and often sharing a liver and portions of the digestive system. These twins have separate hearts, heads, arms and legs. Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, born in 1951, are the only non-separated omphalopagus twins in the world today. About 30% of cases.


Xiphopagus (left). Joined at the xiphoid process (part of the sternum) and usually linked only by cartilage and soft tissue. These twins share no vital organs but often have conjoined livers. They are by far the easiest to separate. Chang and Eng Bunker (1811-1874) were xiphopagus twins with conjoined livers. Also called sternopagus. About 3% of cases.


Ischiopagus (right). Joined at the ischium (front pelvis) and lower spine (sacrum), with spines at 180-degree angles to one another. These twins can have three legs (tripus) or four legs (tetrapus). In tripus cases, the third leg is a fusion of two legs that is not controlled by either twin and is therefore useless. Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyopova of Russia (1950-2003?) were ischiopagus tripus twins, their third leg having been removed when they were 16 years old. About 14% of cases.


Ischio-omphalopagus. Combination of ischiopagus and omphalopagus, with spines joined in a "Y"-shape. These twins usually have three legs and a single set of genitalia.

(continued at http://www.phreeque.com/conjoined_twins.html)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Steve's heading to NYC!

It’s Tues, Sept 22 at 4:30am here in the City of Fallen Angels (the place normally called Los Angeles when it’s not 4:30am and I’m not feeling like I’m in a film noir!). I’m excited about heading back into rehearsals a week from today in NYC.

We’ve all had so much fun with this show so far, and it will be great to hear what additional direction Andrew decides to give me. For the last production the only real piece of direction he bestowed was to shave my armpits….pure genius, because once I ignored that, the show came together perfectly.

One week and counting...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stardom

Check out "The Soapgeist - July20/09 | Sympatico / MSN TV Guide"

and while you're at it, the photos from opening night are here, on Steven Bergman's website ...

enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Audiences LOVE "Made in Heaven!"

Bob Rosenfeld, Long Island City

"I must say I was a little skeptical when my salsa instructor Andrew told me what his play was about. But the show is effing hysterical! I literally peed myself. The play is two heads above any other comedy on or off Broadway, and the great ensemble acting is a leg above anything I've seen in the last 20 years. Run, don't walk, to "Made in Heaven!"


Carl Tenenbaum, Upper West Side





"I was glad I dressed up for this one. Without giving too much away, there's a big 'gimme' you need to accept for the play to work. Fortunately I was quickly able to suspend my disbelief and I ended up laughing my velvet pants off!"

Walt Churzsky, Bayonne, NJ


"This is the funniest and most meaningful play I have ever seen! I choked up when they talked about the 'nightmare of buying pants.'"























Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Quick Thank You From Kevin T. to a Stranger

For my first post, I would just like to say a quick thank you. No, it's not you, Shaifer the director. Or you, Shaifer, the stage manager. Or you, Shaifer, the costume and prop bitch. Nor does my quick thanks go to my fellow castmates, who are fantabulous, nor to our amazing producers, or our kick-ass running crew, or even to you at MITF, who manage to squeeze more productions into one theater in one night than Einstein's theory of Relativity believed was possible.

No, my thanks goes to the woman who, at an emotional and pivotal moment toward the end of the play opening night, in reaction to something Jessica does, remarked (as loudly as the actors onstage, I might add),

"Oh my God"

It might have been the most brilliant ad libbed remark in the history of live theater, if you don't count the movie theaters on 42nd after midnight. And it got one of the biggest, longest laughs of the whole show, AND it gave me the opportunity to ad lib right back to her, which has always been one of my favorite things about live theater.

So, to you, my darling, whoever you were, thank you, thank you, thank you. Feel free to come back anytime and give voice to the inner workings of my character's subconcious. I promise to be ready and waiting with a somewhat witty retort.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Opening Night!!! from the Director...again...

Was a HUGE success! The cast, crew, stage manager, running crew, costumes, were brilliant! The word is out and people are coming back and bringing friends. We have also added a peformance tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 15th at 9pm!

Hope to see you at our show! And thanks to all who have supported us.
Love and no comedy in this blog,
Shaifer

Monday, July 13, 2009

Costume Blog Entry
1:00 AM Monday, July 13. 2009

Well, I hate to admit it, but this is my virgin blog entry. No, I’ve never blogged before, and so I am a virgin in your blog hands. When I taught at University, the students ended up teaching me that the Internet is so much more than just a research tool, however until now I have only read a few entries, so here goes.
At the director’s bequest, we were each asked to add something to this site, and as I am the costume designer, I would like to invite you in on a part of my journey into the delightful play, “Made In Heaven’. It is now 1AM and I have just returned from a riotous run through and tech rehearsal. It’s hard to describe how satisfying it is to see a show come together. It is especially thrilling to be able to laugh, even when watching the rehearsals again, because of the amazing production of this unusual play. Actually, the play isn’t the unusual part, unless you consider the tightly directed nuances and precisely delivered performances unusual, and that would be only because of the unusually short time we had to rehearse for this festival, but rather the unusual circumstance within the play – that of conjoined twins, an unusual costume to create.
A few weeks ago, the Managing Director of the theatre I am currently working for, called down to the costume shop to ask if one of my students might want to design a small production that a friend of his was directing. Then he informed me of the plot. I was pleased to say that I would not hand this over to a student, nor any student. I realized the subject matter needed a little more maturity, whereas there would be conjoined twins, sharing a large penis, so I was excited to handle this myself.
I met with (producer/director) Andrew Shaifer and was thrilled that his sense of humor, artistic vision, theatrical background, and general joie de vivre would go so well with mine. At first I saw the twins as joined through the hips and up into the torso, with four separate legs, with the penis set in between legs 2 and 3. After my first meeting with Jay (author) I realized that his vision was joined through the hips and down through a fused center leg, with the penis set center, in front of this third leg. Immediately to the Internet to research conjoined people, which by the way, I can only find examples of conjoining of the same sex – two boys or two girls, never one of each – but I did find examples of two separate eggs becoming conjoined, which made it OK for me to accept that one actor is two inches taller and has darker hair. Also, the actor Kevin’s mother, who is a nurse, confirms this possibility. Next came some fairly simple sketches of two people with three legs, and then I called Katie, who works in the shop making patterns and sewing up the creations required. Although it is a simple pair of jeans, done in a simple pattern, the addition of a third leg meant there were new measurements and thoughts to getting this right. Each actor has a nice physique, with a waist measurement of 30 or so inches, whereas the twins have a collective waist of 57. Each individual thigh measures approximately 18 inches, and the twins’ center leg is a good 30. The biggest ‘discovery’ in the process, was to remember that Mother Nature and the Gods of Physique and Gravity will have their way. On an average human, our pants stay up because our hips and butts are most often, together, larger that our waists and that gluteus maximus keep the pants from sliding down. While the twins each have only one outer hip, and open space from center back to center back, it made the first rehearsal, with the newly created jeans even more interesting watching the actors say lines while continually hiking up their pants. A simple contraption of elastic and the addition of a 63-inch length waist belt did the trick. At least their pants stay on so you can concentrate on the funny lines and action. I will also tell you that there is special underwear set inside the pants, but as it is now so late, I will sign off and let you just imagine how the actors and I handle the large penis. But that my dear friends, is for another blog entry on another evening.

From Costume Designer, Jeffrey Wallach

Sunday, July 12, 2009

THE DIRECTOR...AGAIN!

We open tomorrow night! Anyone reading this should send 2 friends if they can't come! The dress rehearsal was a blast! The cast is amazing! I've been doing this for 25 years and have never had more fun...so come on down and join the party!
Peace and love and one dick for every two boys.
Andrew

NEW CAST

HEY GUYS!!
BIG BIG NEWS! There have been some major last minute changes to the cast. I have to say, I was really excited before, but to be working with Steve, and Bette, and Shane Black is just overwhelming.
DON'T MISS MONDAY'S AWESOME SHOW. There'll be a talkback after with Me, Steve Buscemi, and our brilliant, hilarious director Andrew Shaifer (Eyes shift quickly to Jay).

The pastries in Paris are SO yummy...


Maia, I don't think you're fat.
Okay - in an earlier post, Shaifer offered the following:

PICK THE PERSON WHO YOU THINK IS THE BEST LOOKING MALE WHO WORKS ON THE SHOW (CAST AND CREW INCLUDED) AND WIN A PICTURE WITH THAT LUCKY FELLA!

I am fat, and offended.

I am offering my own contest.

THE FATTEST PERSON IN THE AUDIENCE EACH NIGHT WINS A PHOTO OF THEIR HEAD PHOTOSHOPPED ONTO ANGELINA JOLIE'S BODY. 6 LUCKY WINNERS!!!



XOXO - Fat People Aren't So Jolly

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Here's a picture of all the thin people in the cast:



XOXO - Eating A Babka By Myself On A Rainy Saturday Night

Underwear Night


I realized that I always have the camera, so I should probably post a picture of myself so you know what I look like.



Tonight we had Underwear Night. That's right, our brilliant and talented costume designer, Jeffrey Wallach, brought us different selections of Man Whore underwear for Wilder to wear.






Despite of the fact that everybody giggled and mocked the slut-tastic underwear that Wilder has to wear, everyone wanted to try a pair.








Except me. I am too fat to wear any of that shit.

Love - More Cushion For The Pushin'

As you know by now, this is a play about conjoined twins that share a dick. (Think Side Show, but funny, and no songs.)

Our brilliant actors Alex Anfanger and Kevin T. Collins rehearse ace-bandaged together, which makes our rehearsals look like an episode of M*A*S*H.


Because he's method, and went to Tisch n' shit, Kevin T. Collins also connects himself to Anfanger's belt buckle with a Carabiner. Tonight, the fucking thing broke. This is when Kevin realized that his climbing and safety hardware was not to be used for load bearing. Not a euphemism.


Anfanger plays a Nelly Queen, as you can see from this picture.


Shaifer usually does something to piss Anfanger off at least once a rehearsal.



Love - Chubby McChubstein



Hello. I'm Maia. You know, the one Andrew refers to as "the fat chick." (That's the last time I sleep with a director...)

We suffered through many directors on this project before alighting upon our brilliant Shaifer:










But finally Shaifer came and helped us find all the comedy that this piece required. The other directors didn't really have a sense of humor. Actually, that's not fair - Kermit was pretty funny, but he smelled like pork which made Anfanger uncomfortable since he keeps Kosher...