Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Headshots Recap!

I am THRILLED to report that I have officially met my minimum fundraising goal for the 3-Day walk. Each walker had to raise a minimum of $2,300 in order to participate and, thanks to generous donations from friends and family and a hugely successful fundraiser, I am currently sitting at $2,330 raised! So remember when I talked about Headshots for the Cure?

Well that event was this past Sunday, March 28th, and it was a lot of fun and a HUGE success.

I won't bore you with a lot of words, but I will say that I absolutely couldn't have pulled it off without the generous, talented photographers of Fresh Focus Point, with whom I am pictured here: well as makeup artists Cassie Cole from Blue Issue and Jerry Rogers from The Clutts Agency (pictured further down, hard at work).

I arrived early that day to help set up, test lighting, blow up pink balloons, anything I could do, and had a wonderful surprise when my best friend and teammate Anna showed up with her beautiful daughter Bridget (also known as Queen B). Bridget was very happy to be there:

Then the clients started arriving, and I'm happy to show off some of my favorites of everyone's headshots:

Me -- the "brains" behind the event (ha).

My handsome and talented husband, Michael Rausch! Perfect shot for opera auditions, yes?

Steven Young

Amber Guest

Whitney Dewell

Valerie Rowekamp

Tad Hopp

Shannon Jones

Rebecca Iverson

Leslie Standlee

Joshua Diaz

John Norine

Jessica Cope

Heidi Lewis

Clyde Berry

Bianca Sias

Andrew Bryan

Allison Wing

Ashley White

There was also a self-shooting station and some fun, pink (naturally) props to play with while everyone was waiting to be shot or to get their discs printed. I LOVE that everyone had fun with it:

The following photos were taken by Andy Post as he walked around during the day:

Overall it was just a really amazing (not to mention exhausting) day. Everyone had a great time and everyone left happy with their photos. AND all the proceeds went to such a wonderful cause and helped me to reach my goal. MAJOR thanks to everyone and every dollar contributed. I plan to keep fundraising, but it's such a relief and a blessing to know that the minimum goal has been met.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Actors Giving Back

Click on the image to see a larger version.

In a few days, I will be participating in something very exciting. As some of you who are close to me and talk to me on a daily basis may already know, I'm participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure in Dallas this November. Each individual walker must commit to raising $2,300 in order to participate.

For a still newly wed gal on a budget, that number was incredibly daunting. But, this cause is incredibly important to me, so I didn't let the fear or awkwardness of asking for money slow me down.

I had to stop and think, and ask myself some questions. What are my assets? What are my strong points? How can I use these things to aid my fundraising efforts? Thus, Headshots for the Cure was born.

Here's the official blurb:

“Headshots for the Cure is a fundraising event that was created by Mandy Rausch, an individual participant in the 2010 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure (Dallas, TX) in collaboration with the photographers of Fresh Focus Point, a Dallas-based photographer collective. The event is being created in order to provide high-quality, professional headshots for actors, performers and/or corporate individuals with all proceeds from the event going directly towards Ms. Rausch’s fundraising goals for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Komen foundation is the global leader of the breast cancer movement in its goals to increase awareness; empower patients, survivors and family members; and ultimately help find a cure.”

The photographers of Fresh Focus Point have agreed to take a Sunday afternoon out of their already busy schedules and offer headshots to actors at an incredibly low price. For only $75, these folks will get 3 high-res, professional images for their personal and professional use. This is a steal, with most headshot packages going for upwards of $150-175.

Since the event was made public here on Facebook, my friends in the theatre community have really come out of the woodwork and helped me to raise....



In addition to the generous donations of other friends and family, this makes my total fundraising amount to date $2,255.

I am incredibly overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of my friends in the D/FW theatre community for supporting me and the cause I care so much about.

If you're interested in getting some headshots for yourself, please let me know. There are still plenty of slots available! Visit the Facebook event for more information.

Last but not least, I want to say a HUGE thank you to the participating photographers and the makeup agencies that will be on hand making this happen:

Lynn Michelle Photography

Engaged Studio

Simple Moments Photography

Rego Visual Arts


Blue Issue

The Clutts Agency

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wheelhouse of a Dream

Thanks to Jack Sutter for the photo. Pictured: Jack Sutter (L) and Buster Maloney in the title role of Denton Community Theatre's Cyrano de Bergerac (R)

My husband, the brilliant opera singer I married, said something recently that really stuck in my mind with regards to performing and performers. He's currently rehearsing for Music Theatre of Denton's middle show of it's 2009/2010 season, Pirates of Penzance (which opens this Friday, by the way!). He's playing the role of Frederic, naturally, and when we were talking about how rehearsals were going one night, he said the following:

"It's going really, really well. This is the kind of singing I really should be doing. It just sits right in my wheelhouse."

I must have looked at him a bit funny, because he continued, "It just feels right in my voice. This is the kind of [non-operatic] musical theatre where I really can show what I've got. I don't really have to struggle."

Now, I may be a bit biased when it comes to him, but I tend to think he's been pretty dadgum awesome in other roles (most recently: Billy Flynn in Chicago, Paul in Company, Hysterium in A Funny....Forum, and Cliff in Cabaret to name a few), but I know exactly what he's saying.

Because I'm a total nerd, I looked up the word wheelhouse on after that day. It was defined as "an enclosed structure on the deck of a ship from which it can be navigated."


So what he was telling me was that he is essentially owning this role, and he feels like he is in control, at least vocally. This is where he's most confident, and where he feels that he can make decisions more easily within the role because he's not struggling to make it work within his voice or his range. To keep the ship captain analogy, it means that he knows his surroundings and is comfortable, as opposed to say, putting a deckhand in the wheelhouse of a ship and telling him to steer it. Eventually the deckhand will figure it out – probably because he has to. It would be, quite literally, a "sink or swim" situation.

How often do we feel that confident in a role? If we're lucky, it happens a couple of times. We'll walk into an audition, nail it, and get cast in a role that fits us like a glove. But let's be honest – more often than not (especially in community theatre where the human resources are much more limited) we feel more like the deckhand in that wheelhouse rather than the captain. For one reason or another we won't be cast in the role that we could sing or act the crap out of easily, and we have to work (sometimes really hard) to get it into our muscle memory and perform it to our fullest potential. The results when we do work that hard can be really rewarding, even if the process is exhausting and/or emotional.

Does this mean that it's any less rewarding to play a role that sits right in our wheelhouse? Absolutely not – at least, I don't think so. When a role fits you like a second skin, whether because you can sing it effortlessly or because you can just really identify with the character, it allows for all that much more exploration and delving within the subtext and intricacies of the script and/or score.

It's also a helluva lot of fun to watch an actor perform a role that sits right in his or her own wheelhouse!

Recently, my husband and I went to see our local theatre's production of Cyrano de Bergerac because our good friend Buster (pictured above) was playing the title role. Now, we've both had the pleasure of working with Buster on several different occasions, and the man always nails the roles he is cast in. I've seen him as Pseudolus (alongside my husband's Hysterium) in Forum, performed with him in Company (where he played Harry) and watched him backstage every night as Thurston Wheelis, et al in A Tuna Christmas. Each time, I was impressed by his performance.

To see him as Cyrano, though, was far and away the most impressed by him (and proud to call him friend!) I have ever been. He expertly navigated the poetry of the flowerly language effortlessly and made the character just as heartbreaking and funny as he should have been. He smoothly glided over the waters of a difficult (for modern audiences and mostly untrained actors) script. It was easy to tell that this more classical acting style was where Buster felt the most comfortable. This was what he trained and studied to do. He was right in his wheelhouse, and what fun it was to watch him.

I'm still figuring out what exactly makes up my own wheelhouse. I have a feeling I'll know it when it happens, and I look forward to that moment and the rehearsal process and performances of a role that I can navigate and steer along easily – and I hope that audiences will enjoy watching it as much as I'll enjoy doing it.