Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 5 Practical Gifts For Your Actor Friends

Wanna show your actor friend you care? Get them a thing!

How about I lend you a helping hand? Because, let's face it, actors are hard to buy for. We're moody and outlandish, and we gesticulate a lot.

Five-Trick Pony's list eschews conventional, some might even say thoughtful, recommendations (like Sondheim's Finishing the Hat, or sheet music, or theater tickets) and gets back to the bare essentials. Presenting,


GIFT IDEA #1: Scarf.

The gist: Simple, fashionable.
Why: Unique accent pieces like a toadstool scarf (at right) help your actor friend draw attention to himself, which provides a fleeting sense of self-worth. Also, they protect vocal cords.
But Remember: Every actor owns hundreds of scarves, so it's important to stay on the cutting edge of fashion. If he doesn't like it or you give him something he already has, just tell him it's a belt, or a prop.
Verdict: Perfect gift at an affordable price.

GIFT IDEA #2: Hot Guys and Baby Animals 2011 Calendar.

The gist: Hot guys and baby animals help you know what the date is.
Why: My boyfriend is featured in this calendar as the month of February. He is shirtless and holding a goat (I am not joking -- see right). And if there's one thing I've learned from working in theater, it's that pictures of my shirtless boyfriend can bridge any social gap. Regardless of race, religion, or voice part, people love to look at a hot dude, and then they all become friends. The United Nations should employ this tactic when negotiating with hostile countries.
But Remember: A small percentage of your actor friends might be straight males, in which case, you should reconsider buying this gift.
Verdict: Much better than the Hot Animals, Baby Guys 2011 Calendar.

GIFT IDEA #3: Money.

The gist: Easy, no wrapping required.
Why: If your friend is an actor, he is probably unemployed. If he is unemployed, he probably needs money. If he needs money, he probably wants it as a gift.
But Remember: You can't pretend to have spent more money on your money than the amount that's written on the actual money.
Verdict: You really can't go wrong here, except if you give out Sacagawea coins, which are heavy and comical.

GIFT IDEA #4: Double-stick tape.

The gist: Countless uses, hours of fun.
Why: The complete list of double-stick tape's practical applications would take me days to transcribe, so I'll simply list the most relevant: 1) Affixing headshots to the backs of résumés, 2) Sticking Twilight posters onto your ceiling, 3) Taming your assets in low-cut apparel, 4) Pinning up photobooth prints and/or Polaroids to your shabby-chic full-length mirror. Also, lends itself to a whole host of puns in the accompanying gift card, i.e. "Let's stick together!" "I'm stuck on you!" "We're double the trouble!" "Sorry I leaked your sex tape!"
But Remember: You run the risk of giving too good a gift.
Verdict: Don't think, just buy.

And, finally...

GIFT IDEA #5: Clinical Strength Deodorant.

The gist: Keeps you dry under pressure.
Why: Actors are sweaty beasts (I know from personal experience) and there's nothing worse than trying to impress an audition panel while you're crying from your pits. This gift helps prevent NWL (Net Water Loss), a dangerous armpit-sweat side effect.
(Water Bottle Input – Pit Sweat Output = Net Water Loss
if Pit Sweat Output > Water Bottle Input.) Plus, hardcore deodorant has all kinds of chemicals that shorten life expectancy, which means that after your actor friend reaches an uncastable age, he will suffer through fewer years of self-loathing and regret.
But remember: No one, especially an actor, wants to admit to using this. Be discreet!
Verdict: Life-changing, but be sure to hide this gift inside another gift.

And that concludes this year's list. Now, go be a good little consumer! Disperse!

And do add your own suggestions to the comments section.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trinity Youth Shelter benefit recap!

Blogoriffic Blogfriends!

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of performing in a benefit for Trinity Place, the GLBTQ youth shelter, alongside Shoshana Bean, Joey Taranto, Carrie Manolakos, Donna Vivino, Scott Alan, Neil Davis, Breedlove, SIRPAUL, Joe Hubrich, and my special friend and life-mate Libby Servais. The event was hosted by the brilliant Bianca Del Rio, who as a drag queen is much more attractive than I'll ever hope to be.

It was a rollicking, heartfelt evening, which is no surprise, given that it was organized from start to glittery finish by the inimitable Rob Harmon, who is a kickass makeup artist / general guru (I know Rob because he painted me green for a week when I was doing Wicked (he was the one who said on good authority that I was the sweatiest Elphaba to date)).

To kick off the event, Libby and I sang "I Will Never Leave You," a throwback to our Wicked standby days, when we literally never left each other's side, and then we hosted the first live auction of the night (of which there were many more throughout the evening). Um, live auctions are so much fun. It's the one instance in which the forces of peer pressure can be wielded for good!

Of course it was a treat to be able to watch the other performances, and I also got to reunite with several of my former Wicked castmates, many of whom were in attendance. What's more, I got a chance to talk to Shoshana Bean! She's the first gal I ever saw perform the role of Elphaba, so naturally I was starstruck. I don't entirely remember the details of our interaction, but I have a vague recollection of telling her, "I follow you on Twitter." There are some instances in which I can parlay my awkwardness into charisma; this wasn't one of those instances. She was exceedingly gracious, nevertheless.

Wanna see some photos from the night? Check out BroadwayWorld.com here and Playbill.com here.

Okay that's all for now! Bye!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's December! Get in the holiday spirit!

After you lovingly erect your very own Charlie Brown Christmas tree (which they actually sell at Kmart), watch this outrageous movie, courtesy of my friend Martin Landry. We met when we performed together in -- of all things -- a Chanukah Musical Review.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yale cares about what I have to say!

In a recent inexplicable turn of events, Yale University, my beloved alma mater, has invited me to come speak to its students about what it's like to be a real person!

More specifically: the university's Undergraduate Career Services is assembling a panel of alumni to expound on what it's like to forge a career in the arts. I'm not sure who else is going, although I do know that my dear friend Sam Carner, lyricist extraordinaire, will be in attendance.

So, if you happen to be moseying around Yale's campus in New Haven this Thursday, December 2 between 6-8pm, stop by Linsley-Chittenden, Room 211, and watch me mold young milds!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Yes: this is what I like to see on Playbill.com

Check out this hilarious Playbill.com photo diary by Jeff Hiller and Greg Hildreth of Broadway's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. (Fun fact: I worked with Jeff briefly on the Rosenblum and Lessner piece Garbo and Me, but I literally had two lines and doubt he remembers me, although he was a lovely fellow. Hi, Jeff!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How to write an email when you're self-submitting.

(Warning: This post's title is misleading. It should actually read, "How NOT to write an email when you're self-submitting.")

If you're interested in getting work as a performer, chances are you're familiar with the sites Playbill.com, Backstage.com, and actorsaccess.com. In a stormy sea of online sketchiness (think Craigslist ads and the like), the aforementioned websites act as beacons of (sometimes-)legitimacy, providing opportunities for actors to submit their headshots and resumes to casting directors and everyday chums looking for free labor.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We all might be out of a job

Also I find this director's perception of the role of an actor to be, well...suspect.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reading List Recommendation: A DREAM OF PASSION

I've titled this post a "Reading List Recommendation" as if that's a thing I do -- recommend books for some exclusive Five-Trick Pony Book Club or something (move over, Oprah!) -- because it gives the illusion that there's continuity and purpose to my blog.

But seriously, the book I'm going to recommend is a must-read for aspiring actor-folk who are serious about improving their craft and who (like me) have struggled to understand and focus their ongoing practice.

The book is called A DREAM OF PASSION and is written by Lee Strasberg, eminent teacher/actor/director/theoretician. You might know him from the highly revered Actor's Studio in New York City (although he is not to be confused with James Lipton, the bearded dude who interviews famous people in front of an audience of actor-students, and asks for literal answers to rhetorical questions, like, "Up....or down?" (FYI: Lee Strasberg is deceased, James Lipton is not)).

Anyway. Per the recommendation of my acting coach, I have just now finished A DREAM OF PASSION and have found it wonderfully affirming. If you've ever struggled to articulate or conceptualize the process of finding out who you are as an actor -- your weaknesses, your goals, your impetus for improving -- this book is like a warm bath filled with epsom salt wisdom, gooey bath pearls of encouragement, and floating rose petals of clarity and direction. While much of its prose is technical and/or historical, I found myself smiling throughout the read, stumbling upon countless "aha!" moments, as Strasberg crystallizes questions I've long struggled to put into words, and, in the most clear, detailed and ordered manner, deconstructs the oft-referenced but rarely understood "Method."

In summary: he teaches yous guys how to act good.

If you've read A DREAM OF PASSION, feel free to submit comments below... And if you haven't read it: read it!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Upcoming gigs

Here are some upcoming NYC performances that you might be interested to check out! I haven't rehearsed any material, so in each instance I can promise one thing only: that I will be there in the flesh trying desperately to win your approval and admiration.

What: I will be performing the role of Lydia Languish in a reading of Rivals, a new musical by Jonathan Breit and Greg Edwards
When: November 20 & 21, 8PM
Where: Shetler Studios, Penthouse 1 (I think...), at 244 W 54th St, 12th Floor
Who: Me and some other people TBA!
Why I don't know more details: I've only just learned about this, but will be receiving more info soon!

What: I will be singing fun songz in IS THIS SEAT TAKEN?: THE MUSIC OF CODY OWEN STINE
When: December 9, 9:30PM
Where: The Laurie Beechman Theater at 407 W. 42nd Street
Who: Raymond Bokhour (of Broadway's CHICAGO), Amanda Ryan Paige (ZANNA, DON'T!), Felicia Ricci (THAT'S ME!), Kurt Robbins (THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE nat'l tour), and more to be announced soon, perform the music of Cody Owen Stine.

What: A new comedy web series
When: Soon
Where: Online
Who: Me playing somebody funny
How: Filming throughout November
Why: Because it's FUN! OBVS!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Darryl is a Boy (And He Made Me Sweat A Lot)

Bambini! It's been so long. Not really, it's been a week and a day. In this post I shall recount for you my first official post-Wicked-post-return-to-NYC, mid-existential-unemployment-haze gig.

I find that many who enjoy acting in plays or musicals but are reluctant to pursue it as a career share a common desire for stability and control. These kind, unassuming folk (and may God bless them for their sanity) feel that, when there's enough rehearsal and preparation time, theater is a happy fun time of love, truth and beauty. But there's gotta be plenty of time to get comfortable with the material before delivering it to an audience.

The ensuing story will help illustrate how 95% of professional theater work is nothing like this.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bus. Guilt. Weakness. Opposites.

Taking a little retreat from the big city for a few days. I had this plan to write like five blog posts on the bus, but there was a weird med student sitting diagonally behind me who would not stop murmuring into his cell phone and I got distracted. Murmuring is pretty much a million times worse than loud talking. It is the human-voice equivalent of mosquito buzzing. What sad-sack person had that much time to talk to Dr. Murmur? Unless the person on the other end was also riding on a bus, I have no idea who would be willing to participate in such senselessness.

Okay, here are some more random facts about my life that may or may not lead to further explanation in future blog posts:

1. I feel EXTREMELY GUILTY that I haven't written back to the last batch of 15 or so fans who wrote to me in the final month of Wicked. It's, like, getting to be ridiculous. It's one of those situations where the longer I wait, the more ashamed I get, and the more desperate I am to do something insane and monumental in my replies to compensate for the time lapse -- like cut off my ear and mail it, or something. Too bad I don't have fifteen ears. Or do I.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I started taking film/TV acting lessons

I think this video best summarizes the philosophy behind on-screen acting. Just substitute "act" for "surf."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lots of FeliciaRicci.com Updates!

I exist on many planes of the internetosphere, one of which is FeliciaRicci.com, my official homepage. I am pleased to announce that, after hours of toil and sweat, it has undergone a facelift that would make even Joan Rivers jealous.

Behold! My Official Homepage: updated!

Updates include: new homepage layout, an extended bio, a photos by fans page, among other little tweaks.

If you'd like to submit your fan photo to appear on FeliciaRicci.com (and, I'm not gonna lie, the main prerequisite for your being considered is that I don't look horrendous), visit my Facebook Fan Page, become a member, and add your contribution! It will automatically appear on Facebook, but I'll periodically transfer a few to FeliciaRicci.com.

Hope you like the updates! If not, well, that's your problem.


Monday, October 11, 2010

On The Audition (capitalized)

Last week I polled the audience about what I should sing at an upcoming audition. In true Felicia fashion, I abandoned all logic and decided to do something entirely different.

But this post is not about that, it's about the terrifying beast we call The Audition. And I'm going to capitalize it right there to make it intimidating.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Evil links that I do not endorse but shall nevertheless relay to you, out of journalistic impartiality

Big news: I've decided to quit being insane and actually utilize the "label" functionality provided by Blogger, something I have heretofore eschewed as nonsense and used only in a nonsensical fashion (like by labeling my articles as "wiping my nose" or "I am a baby").

I would thus like to introduce to you the "resource" label, something which will be applied to all posts that might be (you guessed it) a resource -- i.e. helpful to youngsters (or oldsters, who am I to judge) and up-and-coming actorly folk who want to learn about the nuts-and-bolts of showbiz. Yesterday's post, for example ("Some of your questions, answered.") expounded on some terms that a few of my readers had asked me to clarify. Thus, it has been labeled a "resource" at the bottom of its text. NEAT-O! I will eventually cull these articles from the rest of the blog, post them onto a single page, and make them available as an easy-to-access link on the sidebar of Five-Trick Pony's homepage. In the meantime, simply click on the "resource" label wherever you see it, and Blogger will automatically bring forward all articles labeled thusly. In the span of one paragraph, I have used "thus" or some derivation thereof three times, not including this sentence. I feel ashamed, and exhilarated.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Help! I have an audition!

One of the recurring dilemmas an actor faces when presented with a new audition opportunity is: should she sing something she already knows that is entirely unsuitable for the audition, given the subject matter of the show she's auditioning for, or should she learn a new song in the span of a few days and risk messing up the lyrics and sounding like rubbish?

Hypothetical* scenario: I have an audition this Tuesday. I'm supposed to prepare 32 bars of a pop song and bring my Diti Boo, in case they want to hear more.  Hold on, you say, what's 32 bars? 32 bars of chocolate? No, silly reader, it's 32 measures of music, which usually times out to be a verse and chorus, or a chorus and a bridge. What's a bridge, you say? A structure that holds up cars over water? No, silly reader, it's a card game.

Anyway, I currently have two options for the pop song: Kelly Clarkson or Kelly Clarkson. Which do you think? Or if you have any other non-Clarksonian suggestions, comment below. Trying to find a song that shows off some belting. Or don't comment below, because I'll secretly feel really foolish for polling the audience for audition song ideas. (But maybe comment below.)

*Scenario is not hypothetical.


I signed with Henderson Hogan!

Great news: I just signed with Henderson Hogan talent agency! They now represent me in the fields of theater, film and television. I am beyond ecstatic, as Henderson Hogan has been in business over 40 years and is extremely respected by its peers.

I have a feeling this is prologue to many more exciting adventures.

If not, to keep this blog entertaining, I shall resort to lying. You have my word.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Time Wasting 101: Adventures in Photoshop

My new apartment is borderline monastic and has a ton of white wall space. My boyfriend Marshall and I are highly economical (instead of going to the laundromat I wash my clothes on his abs (quit groaning, you love my jokes)) so instead of buying overpriced faux-silk screens of weird monochromatic abstractions at Ikea, I've decided to design some of our wall decor using my favoritest of computer programs, Adobe Photoshop.

Marshall has a special fondness for Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats on the Food Network, and it's totally okay, because my boyfriend's metro like that. The following image is inspired by that iconic Barack Obama Hope Poster (you know the one), and supplants "hope" with Brown's catchphrase:
The only kink in the plan is apparently it costs upwards of $50 to actually have the darn thing printed, so our new and improved plan is to change "patience" to "utilitarianism," translate everything into Swedish, turn every color cobalt blue, and sell it to Ikea as a monochromatic abstraction.

Hey, wanna see some other Photoshop projects I've completed in the recent past? Too bad, I'm showing you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hey, look, I'm more organized than you, want to cry about it?

Unless you're actually living the life of Adrien Grenier on Entourage and have someone named Turtle to drive you places and order New York pizza for delivery to Los Angeles via private jet (I'm pretty sure this actually happened in one of the episodes I saw during one of my bouts of extreme masochism), as an actor you are your own CEO, marketing team, fitness and lifestyle coach, secretary, bookkeeper, wardrobe consultant, and everything else under the sun.

But, let's face it -- and I'm totally going to stereotype here -- nine times out of ten, telling an actor to run his/her own business is like asking a fish to fly, a bird to swim, an ivy league student not to be antisocial, Glenn Beck to be reasonable (I could go on, but let's try and keep it on topic, Felicia, alright? Alright.). 

The point is: we actors -- we're sensitive, alright? We live the art! How do you expect us to keep our real-life affairs in order? To cross our Ts and dot our Is when we are too busy working to embody their alphanumeric spirits?

Two words: FILING CABINET. Get one. It will change your life. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yep, it happened. I moved to Blogger.

Hi, again, friends. It’s been a busy first 24 hours for Five-Trick Pony (or as I’ve nicknamed it: “Blog 2: Hyperblog”) and already she’s found herself a new home (that’s right, my blog is female). As you could have probably guessed based on my thinly veiled hostility, I just wasn’t digging Tumblr. Blogger is better. The end.

So, let it be here writ: Five-Trick Pony’s new web address is http://fivetrickpony.blogspot.com. Sorry for the confusion! But, hey, I told you this blog was unpredictable.


Presenting: Stupid Texts With My Male Friend, Episode 1

Me: Happy birthday? If I'm right, I didn't even need facebook to remind me 

Male Friend: You're right!!! Thanks! Where u at now? 

Me: I'm in brooklyn eating a bagel. You?? 

Male Friend: Amazing. I'm starving myself so I look good for birthday pictures tonight. That, and I think I have a hernia. 

Me: Omg I love hernias 

Male Friend: I think I might just grab some icy hot and lather it up with one of my $100 bills and rub it all over me. That should totally cure my ails. 

Me: That is what I do! And what my mother does, and her mother did before her. 

Male Friend: Well, clearly your story goes on. 

Me: H8 that song. So are you 40 years-old today 

Male Friend: Basically 

Me: You've got a few more years in you I'm sure 

Male Friend: Yeah. 52 today. 

Me: Soon you can collect social security and wear hawaiian shirts in earnest 

Male Friend: Fo shizzle

Back to Square Two: An Unceremonious Start

[Posted on 9.25.10, before Felicia came to her senses and moved Five-Trick Pony to its current home on Blogger.]

Going to squeak out my first post here and keep expectations low. Mostly because I’m exhausted from spending the last million days trying to understand how in the heck Tumblr works and why it is missng its secnd vowl.

If you’re like 99.52% of the population, you probably don’t know who I am, which is good and bad. Good if you’re the type who hates to get involved, because you can X out of this page right now, and neither of us will be any the wiser. Bad if you’d like to keep reading and know some preliminary context. In the case of the latter, it might behoove you to read some posts from my last blog, Unnaturally Green, and learn about where I was before my lapse into New York City obscurity.

In short: I just got done standing by for the role of Elphaba in the San Francisco company of Wicked. I laughed, I cried, I looked like this:

But now that’s all kaput. I’m back in New York City, “back to square two,” as it were: I’ve got to figure out how to be a job-seeking actress again. Because if playing the lead in Wicked is one side of the acting coin, unemployment is the other.