Wednesday, 11 January 2012

“Whether in the summer, fall, or winter of our lives, we always remember our Spring Awakening…”

Aug 18 to Oct 23:

On the way back to Dallas I decided to swing back through Tulsa. Most of my friends had already made it back to school for Greek stuff and I figured I could drink with them as they were getting ready to start back. And drink we did! It was nice to be back with the guys again. Dustin and Tommy were starting back for their final semester while Conner and Pool were in Tulsa starting their real jobs. I didn’t really know when I would get to see everyone next so I tried to spend as much possible time chilling as I could. After a few fun days in Tulsa, it was time to go back to work in Dallas.

I first started back at the country club. I figured two weeks to get back into the groove with them would be nice. I wanted to have my schedule down by the time it came to start up with rehearsals. I also wanted to start working out a little to get prepped for the nudity scene in the show…we still weren’t sure if we were going to have to do it or not (that was she said…you are welcome for that). Erica called me when I got back in town and we started talking about life and my plan to workout. She told me she was starting a new program and that I should join her. Little did I know that for the next two months, I would be going over to Erica’s house every morning to workout with her. It was actually fun to do it together (that was she said…wow, again. I’m on a roll!!).

A few days before the first rehearsal we had a photo call: Erica (playing Wendla), Adam (playing Mortiz) and I (playing Melchior). The three of us had a “magical” moment in callbacks that we later found out is what got us cast in the roles. As we were singing through “Those You’ve Known”, we all three synced together and just found it. It was this incredible experience and we all three knew the exact moment it happened. This was the first time since callbacks that we had all been together. As Erica and I started with the first photo, the awkwardness setting in. She was on her back and I was leaning over her with our faces about 4 inches away from each other…and I couldn’t stop laughing. While our relationship had started with making out as Natalie and Henry, we had grown past that and very much into Erica and Jonathan. Now as Wendla and Melchior, I was having trouble finding the romantic/physical part of this already blurry relationship. Lol. Was this how it was going to be? Was I going to laugh every time we got close to kissing? If so, I was going to be in a lot of trouble come rehearsal time. Obviously…I got over that. J

A few weeks before rehearsals started, I received an email from the director about WaterTower giving me my equity card with this show. Holy shit! “What?! My what card? Equity? You have got to be kidding me! But I’m only 4 months out of college! This has to be way too soon! And me? Why not someone else in the show? It was too soon. I was too young. It wasn’t suppose to happen like this. I wasn’t supposed to even think about that card for at least another year…or two! Now? What was I going to do?” (I know this is a lot of rambling but this is literally how my brain felt for about two months!) I talked to a lot of people about this decision and in the end I decided to take it. I can remember the moment I made up my mind. Erica and I were in the car coming back from a show that we had seen in Arlington, and we were talking about the card. I was telling her my pros and cons and finally she looked at me and told me to take it.

She said if I really needed to, I could drop it and pick it back up later, but that for now, it was the right move. When I got to the first rehearsal a few days later my heart was pounding. I was so nervous about this. The stage manager handed me the equity contract and my mind would not stop running all over the place! “Really?! Now?! Are you sure? But what about this…or that…or” …and I signed it. Jonathan Walker Gilland. No going back now. I was officially now an equity actor. I don’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing…I’m still trying to figure that out. Lol.

Less than a week into rehearsals the summer became fall…meaning all of the Texas allergies started up. Being the only person in the cast not from Dallas, I took to them really badly. And of course my voice was one of the first things to go. I took several days on vocal rest and work through the allergies. Looking back, I’m glad it happened to me when it did. It made me learn to deal with them throughout the run and to not get behind on my allergy medicine so I could be in the best health I could be every day!

This show was so much fun to do. I mean, who doesn’t want to sing “Bitch of Living” and “Totally Fucked” on the stage? I sure as hell want to! This role was definitely a dream role of mine. To play a character that challenges the beliefs of his society and asks people to think with an open mind is truly amazing. It is eye opening to see how a society can turn on someone because he is different, because he actually uses his knowledge of life to challenge society beliefs instead of just believing them because he was told so, and because he doesn’t sit quietly in the back pew while ignorance is being spread around him. This role taught me to be me no matter what anyone else says. It taught me to be strong in who I am and believe in what I’m doing. I am to stand strong so that others may see my strength and be strengthened through me. It told me it was time to rock the boat.

I was so surprised to see so many friends from Tulsa come to this show! I mean, I sort of figured some of my friends would travel down to see it but I was truly surprised how many of my friends actually made it down! And my bestie Natalie even made it all the way down from Omaha! She was able to see Next to Normal due to a week off from her gig with the theatre tour but was so excited that she was able to come see this show as well!

I am truly honored and humbled to be able to play Melchior in this incredible cast of Spring Awaking. Erica was wonderful to work with again and I can’t image anyone else playing my Wendla. Adam is a wonderfully talented guy who I loved getting to know during the show. Kayla is such a beauty and so talented and I’m glad that I was able to really get to know her before I left Dallas. Of course Simone, Clay, Momma Lulu, Josh, Matt, and so many others were so great and talented in this show as well. I’m glad that my “spring awakening” happened with so many wonderful friends. I’m glad that I left Dallas with two wonderful shows under my belt and with having meet and enjoyed so many talented people.

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