Nov 25, 2008



On Thursday you can be sure I'll be giving thanks I'm not a turkey. They're quite the lesser poultry, if you ask me.

And if you ask Anti-Drug PSAs from the early 1990s:

Nov 19, 2008


Although I spend my days in the office, you'd have to be a few crayons short of a box to not realize that I aspire to be on stage. And not just hidden behind a giant mushroom! (Re: Hansel and Gretel.)

I got a shot at achieving my dreams when I auditioned for the Opera Cleveland chorus and education programs this past weekend. (Let's just pretend my co-workers were not humoring me, shall we.)

Cliff, our Artistic Administrator (and most patient person EVER), checked in the singers, including me. Then we waited. And warmed up--in the bathrooms. (Toilets provide great acoustics, as well as dependably serve the nervous stomachs of auditioners. )

Finally, it was my turn to audition for Maidie Rosengarden, our Director of Production & Education; Nathan Motta, the Director of our Short-Term Residency educational program; and CM Shearer, our Chorus Master. Those who auditioned were to sing one art song or aria and one other song; at least one had to be in Italian.

I sang "Madamina, il catalogo e questo" from Don Giovanni (heh heh) and..."Love is a Battlefield" by Ms. Pat Benatar.

This cheerful bunch holds my future on the stage in their hands. Don't let me down, guys!

Nov 17, 2008


It's easy to let Opera Cleveland's main stage productions monopolize my attention, but I don't roll like that. There's much more going on at Opera Cleveland than just our *coughawesomecough* productions.

Notably, our education and outreach department always has stuff going on. For each production, they have a Great Works program that ties to it. Great Works allows schools to bring students to a final dress rehearsal, but we help prepare the students for the experience--with materials and often a preparatory program we bring to the school.

For Hansel and Gretel, I tagged along as performers from our education department visited a school and performed an interpretation of the opera.

I oversaw accompanist Cara Chowning on the ole ivories.

Extreme Close up!!

Irene Roberts and Ann Coffman did quite an admirable job as Hansel and Gretel, respectively.

A ballerina covered in candy? Yes, please!
Dancer Lisa K. Lock (who you may recognize from the main stage Hansel and Gretel) represented the sweet-laden gingerbread house.

Because of going to Great Works programs, I have become acquainted with these multi-purpose rooms you humans have in schools. The are a rare circumstance for athletics and theater to meet. And meet they did when narrator and director Paul Gurgol shot some hoops en costume before the performance.

(You can check out more photos here on the Opera Cleveland web site.)

Nov 12, 2008


For the last few days I have been in Houston for an Arts marketing conference. But, alas, all the fun is over, and I'm heading back to Cleveland.

Le sigh. Oh, the ennui of airports.

Rather Hitchcockian, wouldn't you say? Heh heh.

Nov 7, 2008


To all the witches I've known,
I'll remember Dana Beth most.

That cackle, those warts, the way she swings her broomstick...

photo by: Eric Mull

To think, I'll only get to see her pushed into an oven one last time. *sniff, sniff*

At least I shall have this fierce cape and hat as a reminder.


Nov 5, 2008


Because Hansel and Gretel can be enjoyed by both adults and children, we decided to make it even more fun for the kids this past Sunday. (Well, first, we made it fun for the parents by providing a special family discount for tickets.) Before the performance, we had games, face painting and prizes set up in the State Theatre lobby for kids to enjoy.

You can see my wonderful costume here better. My precious costume wenches Margaret and Janet made me a witch's outfit! The cape is lined. They are dedicated to their craft, I tell ya. Speaking of dedication, Dr. Kish carved this pumpkin...freehand. (I am feeling quite inferior around all the mad skillz here.)

William (the numbers man in the office) supervises the pumpkin ring toss.

Jill and Megan get cheeky with the kids.

Me, I supervised the coloring table, where kids colored gingerbread people. I advocated for unrestrained creativity. Thus, my favorite was this one:

Not only is it vibrantly imaginative; it's practical--the gingerbread man has pockets for all his gingerbread man needs.

Nov 4, 2008


Got some Plain Dealer love for Hansel and Gretel:

"Those fortunate enough to have attended were drawn into a production abounding in charm, grace and musical depth. Humperdinck's endearing and sprightly melodic invention and sumptuous orchestral writing constantly captivated the ear."

"The company's orchestra has rarely sounded more cohesive, alert or colorful."

"And what a cast. Who couldn't adore Anya Matanovic's adorable and shiningly sung Gretel or Patricia Risley's rambunctious hero of a Hansel? Dana Beth Miller made a tour de force of the dual roles of the Mother (actually Hansel and Gretel's stepmother) and the Witch."
Read the full article here.

Nov 3, 2008


I know, I know, I know. WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!?

I'll tell ya where I've been. I've been right here, doing what I do. Except last week one of my handlers decided it would be a whip smart idea to get sick. Completely ignoring the fact that she is the one who helps me blog. Completely ignoring the fact that I have a faithful audience, voracious for updates.

This will NOT happen again. I don't care if she throws up a lung and that lung gets run over by a Vespa...I MUST BLOG.

The good news is that this week I will make up for it with a cavalcade of Hansel and Gretel photos and commentary. Let's rock 'n' roll...

We have to keep telling her: Patricia, Carl is not a tasty treat!

Here's the tasty treats. (Courtesy of Propmistress Heidi here.)

The Sweatshop workers Costumers, putting on last minute touches.

Even when I'm backstage, I can still catch what's happening on stage. (Albeit in black and '70s.)

It's Opening Night! Valerie is a big, bad cue-ing machine. And I like to watch.
(You can sorta see my new costume here; I'll post more about it tomorrow. Let me just say our costume crew is genius.)