The Making Of Hamilton

IT took  six years  for Lin-Manuel Miranda . to write ‘HAMILTON’

Originally, it was to become a Mixed Tape,,,,However, Fate intervened..

MIRANDA  was reading Ron Chernov’s biography of Hamilton. while on vacation.in  St. Croix

Before he left  for his vacation he bought the book on the Life of Hamilton, and the Death of him.,, later saying,’ IT COULD HAVE BEEN TRUMAN‘  luckily , for theater and history buffs everywhere it wasn’t.  We are very glad he picked up that BOOK>

Hamilton  starts writing a poem about the hurricane that destroys ST CROIX, where he  is living.

He writes about the carnage, and this poem gets him off the island. This is how MIRANDA understood the circumstances that made it  hip hop and music. It had to be rapped and sung. The subject was so dark, its had to be spoken and sung,,,he had no doubt about that.   He had written only one song in one year, when PRESIDENT OBAMA in 2009, asked him to perform at the White House.

PRESIDENT OBAMA told him, after hearing the song, ‘ALEXANDER HAMILTON ‘ the theme song, ‘ I won’t forget to remind you that at  the White House,,,,’THIS IS WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!’

After the WHITE HOUSE PERFORMANCE , it took him another year to write the second song. He walked and walked , rode the subway, that is how he came up with the the lyrics..He wrote one song at a party,, another while riding the subway.

It started as a mix tape and not a musical.  MIRANDA has to be ambulatory to write lyrics. On the move,, on trains, and walking through the New York streets. He began within thinking it would be a concept album, it was easier to think of honoring his favorite hip hop artists. He thought of them when writing.

MIRANDA  then performed from the MIXTAPE at LINCOLN CENTERS AMERICAN SONGBOOK , it started to come together.. He picked up the THE  HEARTBREAK OF AARON BURR, also ‘AFFAIRS OF HONOR, to nail the dueling rules.

In 2014 the  show began at the PUBLIC THEATRE.  MIRANDA AND DIRECTOR THOMAS KAIL went to WEEHAWKEN New Jersey, the grounds where BURR SHOT HAMILTON.  The actual grounds are covered with train tracks now, but there is a small memorial.

MIRANDA really studied other musicals, such as Jesus Christ SUPERSTAR  and  LES MISERABLE.  This taught him where and when to re-introduce a theme. MIRANDA. knew the best way to this was to stick  to the facts as much as possible.  That is why  CHERNOV,  whose novel inspired this  project became historian of the show.

CHERNOV looked at every draft and every song for accuracy.

 

MIRANDA stole a line from. the musical South Pacific, ‘I’M WITH YOU BUT THE SITUATION IS FRAUGHT, YOU’VE GOT TO BE CAREFULLY TAUGHT’.  in the song ‘MY SHOT’

MIRANDA  cast the show very diverse to make it look like AMERICA looks… Real and mixed.

After this huge success of the show, MIRANDA is actually making his MIXTAPE, This tape will be available this year. It includes a new song not in the Broadway show.

On a personal chapter now, I was working for a short time here in Las Vegas, at the PALAZZO   HOTEL in 2016 to help the OUT OF STATE   singers deal with the dryness and stamina of singing and running and  dancing,  to get the show ‘ BAZ ‘ up and going , which is a Fantastic Mash Up of Baz Lurhmans movie themes of the classics, when it was taking a long  time in rehearsal.   It  was volunteer only, as it was an EQUITY show, you can’t force singers to take time out of thier personal time to work…. it seemed only the real PROS were signing up. The lead singer playing , DAISY, WAS THE BRILLIANT JOANNA  ALEXIS JONES. YOU COULD HEAR A PIN DROP WHEN SHE SANG.  Here was the best singer I had heard to sign up to meet me??   I had to just tell her she was spot on, and would not have any problems, doing anything , anywhere!

This showed me, that real serious singers , from BERKLEE AND BOSTON CONSERVATORY are the real troupers who even as great as they were, are willing to learn something new.  Sadly, this was before I was taking lessons myself on VOCAL HEALTH  by a LARYNOLOGIST and SPEECH PATHOLOGIST, who I still work with , ERIK LANDRY, DR. JONATHAN SALINAS.  This new information I know know, would be quite beneficial to anyone singing, dancing ,and running while singing!!!

I have learned so much I wish I had known then,.,,, I cannot learn enough and my hunger for this knowledge is never fulfilled,,,, More More More!!!!  So, How does this tie in with HAMILTON. ,JOANNA ALEXIS JONES,,,IS PLAYING    PEGGY AND MARIA,   which requires a MEZZO SOPRANO.  She looks absolutely gorgeous which she is, she is sweet, down to earth and the nicest person.    When she went back to L A she was cast   in the tv production of HAIRSPRAY, and not long after was packing to re locate to New York, for this historic show.

I find it very similar to myself, when I got into a Broadway show six months after it opened,, I was cast in the rock musical HAIR when I was 17.   I found it so life changing..  The similarity was , that after going in after the original cast, you  miss out on the original cast recording,,the pictures of the exciting opening night, and all the T V appearances.. It is like being Prom queen but missing the Prom…. But the excitement of coming and going into the backstage, where fans want you autograph and they want to just touch you, and be next to you, because the life you are living, is their dream too.  WE are living the DREAM… I follow JOANNA on INSTAGRAM  watch her videos, of that amazing voice!

The moral of this story, is, audition for everything you can. You never know if it will be a huge historic hit!  HAMILTON AND HAIR are two the most historical musicals ever.  HAIR being the very first Rock musical with a political message and nude scene. Hamilton   a Rap and sung musical, also Politically charged. With my years  in HAIR I got to have lifelong friends who I still am close to. It is an experience only those who were with the shows can know.

I’m so excited for JOANNA’S career. She has prepared with great trining, and many performances where she got great reviews. .  Be prepared , Study, Be a triple threat, when you audition let them know you are Ready!   They can tell, they know what they are looking for.   Good Luck if you are on this journey, I am still remembered for Being in HAIR, and that will never change.  Musicals come and go,,, they are infamous, but only a few make history, so these are important shows everyone should be interested in.

LALA LAND was a good musical,, but the cast were  actors and so so singers,,,, most musical do not require huge talent in voice,,, a good actor can put a message across… I truly feel Gosling  and Stone did a great job,,, passable dancing  but the art great acting made me love them.         

I believe HAMILTON will be around a very long time,, and I also Believe JOANNA ALEXIS JONES WILL BE AROUND AS WELL, good Luck JOANNA,  and to all future Broadway actors!

 

Preparing to be Prepared

Preparing: It is that time of year.  You will get calls to send your Pics, Videos,  PDF’s, and other info for many projects for new TV shows coming up next year. 

You cannot wait until you need it. You must be ready and updated!

It is the difference between your getting a chance or not!.

If you do not have a working Email, then have a friend you can use who can do it all for you. But these casting agents and producers, do not want calls, they want to have everything at their fingertips.

Preparing Your Toolkit

preparing

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You need 4 or 5 songs  60-90-seconds long, a video introduction of you being full of personality talking about why YOU should be working on their show. Your full bio, and any TV you have done in the past. 

This is too important, do not be the one who calls your coach last minute with a big ‘Help’. Help yourself and get ready!

Jessica Marciel

The Five Songs That Inspire Me

The Wedding I sang ‘In My Life’

These songs pull at my heartstrings and have changed my life

The BeatlesIn My Life

This reflective song about losing loved ones and friends take on a new meaning when you lose enough people.  The whole somber romantic song is a tribute to ones we had to say goodbye to.

I sang this song at my daughter’s wedding after she had lost her father a few months before.   It was amazing that I didn’t crack.

Jimi Hendrix:  Purple Haze

I remember coming home from school on days I didn’t have rehearsal, and sitting on the floor, closing my eyes and just getting lost in the magic of his powerful imagery. Jimi had a big impact on music, I speak of him the first sense because I don’t think of him as gone.

Randy Newman: Real Emotional Girl

I heard Linda Ronstadt sing this in the 80’s, and was mesmerized.  I still am, when I watch it. It is a story and emotional ride of a young girl’s heart.  It is fragile and haunting, and a singer’s dream. A wonderful audition song as well.

Michael Jackson: Man in the Mirror

I knew this was not written by Michael, however, the song is magically produced and floors me every time. It is about hope and change, and peace that will never come, but he is hopeful and optimistic.  It just gets to me. I never tire of it.

Joni Mitchell: Cactus Tree

I just go crazy when I hear this song.  I have to go off and listen, I cannot speak over it.  When I heard it in a Diane Lane film, ‘A Walk on the Moon’, about 1969. it was truly breathtaking!!!! Joni has poetic powerful songs, and I love all of them.

Auditions; Are U ready?

singer-partial-tile.Every Year, casting agents and producers contact we lucky coaches and we get to help you out. No Lines at big  arena’s ,, no waiting….,, So, are you ready?? Better think about it, YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN THE PHONE WILL RING. Also, auditions for your school plays, and local theater, Are you ready?

Look at it this way, in school, the teacher calls on you suddenly, and you are, or are not ready to speak,,,,so, pretend an agent says,,,SING,,Now, you need to have 4 songs in your head,,, and get up and start,,do not pause,, you have 5 seconds to impress,,,,,,the extra songs in case they stop you and say,’What else you got?’

 

The first thing most importantly is the correct song.  You may only get a few seconds so, prepare the entire thing but be prepared to be cut off. Don’t take it personally, we know in a few seconds if we like you!   You will get over it.  If the bridge of the song is stronger than the verse,, Start there instead,, you have seconds to leave an impression.

You need five songs in different genres.  You need the songs to show off your best range. I don’t care if you love Adele,  if you don’t do it GREAT,,pass,,,do NOT do overused songs,,,[ Adele ]  sorry,,,  And sing to them,,, perform,,, a lot of people can sing,, can you connect with the audience? You must have it all. Too much competition to be just good.

DO NOT BE ,,ok  , you will be a little nervous, but ACT like you are not. That is why acting lessons really pay off.     DO every audition even if you don’t want the job. The More you audition, the better and easier it becomes…..   Record yourself, get good advice,,, good Luck!

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Vocal Exercises are Mandatory: A Lesson Learned

Beware the voice coach!

A former student, a professional, called me about coming back soon.  The situation was this is a pro, working a lot, and studied for a few months. When  he left, we stayed in touch. I saw how busy he was.  What I did not know was, he stopped doing the vocal exercises, and didn’t give himself vocal rest. We are athletes, we need to work on our vocal health constantly.  Would a runner compete without training?


This includes the way we Speak  also.  The way you use your Vocal Folds and your Muscles in your stomach, are as important as the way you sing.  You must exercise the tongue also. Everything needs to work in Harmony.

His phone call,  was not good news. He wanted to come back… after his vocal surgery!

He had developed bleeding nodules from over usage and not enough correct singing. He was sorry he stopped training.  I felt awful for anyone going through that.

I look forward to the day his doctor will clear him for more study.

Lesson is…

Don’t think you know it all. Even if you study once or twice a week , it is better than not at all…

A very common problem for us is Dysphonia.  Muscle tension, or Spastic Dysphonia. A very serious condition when your Vocal Folds are getting too much air, and you become raspy, and hoarse. You may notice this in your speaking first. You Must get this checked. 

I went for too long, working 7 days a week, and 4 nights,,,, I never gave myself a rest.  It may be simple like blowing bubbles , and a lot of massaging the the throat.   Dr. Salinas and Erik landry are helping me learn to speak higher, and softer, so I can work as long and much as I desire without harming my health.   Professor Ingo Titze..is an award winning Vocal pathologist and Voice production expert.  He explains WHY we do these exercises, and WHY we need to keep doing them. He says,’ When the pressure for the lips is the same as for the vocal folds, it must equal the Lung pressure.’  This takes practice, with an expert.   Choose wisely…. We must keep our muscles in and around our throat relaxed, and with the world as crazy as it is, That can be very hard. 

I have stretches, and massages, to help you with your throat and mouth tissue.  To loosen up you lactic acid and have a healthy relaxed voice.  How to seamlessly go into your mask from your chest ,,,  so much to do and learn.  I will never stop going to my coach and Dr.  I will always be on the hunt to be better, and so should you!

Maintaining your vocal health

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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Bob Anderson Shines in Frank, The Man, The Music

bob-anderson

Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson had an idea. His Musical Director, Vincent Falcone, had been Frank Sinatra’s musical director for years. It seems Frank gave Vinnie,  his arrangements. Frank told him, Keep the music going!

Bob and Vinnie are keeping the promise. They hired an incredibly talented make up artist, Kazu Tsuji. He works on him, for two hours each night, turning him into Frank!.. Kazu is the Oscar-nominated makeup artist who transformed Brad Pitt in the 2008 Film, ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’. (reference KazuStudios.com)

straight-outta-hoboken-sinatra-450

Bob Anderson as Frank!

He does the transformation of Bob to Frank,  in 2 hours, because the 3 hours he needed were too just too much for Bob on a nightly basis!. The face, the hair, amazingly accurate.

Then Bob does the rest, the posture, the walk, the mannerisms, the voice, OH, the Voice!

The show is produced and directed by Stephen Eich of the Steppenwolf theater in Chicago. The lighting and set design by Kevin Rigdon also of the Steppenwolf theater.

The bigger surprise in the show is the 32-piece orchestra. Not just any musicians; many who played with Frank. Along with bassist Bob Sachs, and guitarist Joe Lano, Drummer Tommy Check, the sax section, and many throughout the orchestra have played these charts with the man himself, Frank. .

vincent-falcone-color

Musical Director, Vincent Falcone

What great charts they are!  Chills will appear on your body many times during the 90-minute show.  The string section is big and lush.

I have been watching Bob Anderson my entire adult life. I was in the Casino De Paris show at the Dunes Hotel, when Bob performed at the Top Of The Dunes. This was a popular show where you would run into Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, and Don Rickles in the elevator.

Following his career, I saw him at the Desert Inn, where one night I got pulled onstage and sang with him. He was always my favorite singer and entertainer. Bob moved to town from Detroit as a 22-year old, and worked with Nancy Sinatra, at the Sahara Hotel.  He is very gracious to his fans, always takes pictures with them, and gives them his time. Take note future entertainers, always greet your fans, they are why you are working!

Pre-Show at the Palazzo Theater.

Pre-Show at the Palazzo Theater.

The show is staged at the Palazzo Hotel, in the Palazzo Theatre; originally named The Jersey Boys Theatre. When the Palazzo was built, the showroom was designed to stand in the exact place as its predecessor, the Copa Room at The Sands Hotel.

Frank, The Man, The Music begins with the orchestra playing a medley of Sinatra favorites.

Simultaneously, screen projections on both sides of the theatre stage. You watch Bob finish his character transformation, walk through the hall, talk with a few people, and then enter stage right as if the film-transition is live every night.

The Sands HotelWhen he opens his mouth to sing, it doesn’t take long to forget you are no longer watching and listening to Bob, but Frank Sinatra.

The patter, the stories are fascinating, all done in character; and the party begins. Time stops and you ARE taken back in time.

Old Vegas is back, and you can hear him sing the Bossa Nova, a la Antonio Carlos Jobim. That musical period played flawlessly by guitar legend, Joe Lano!.  Then, you are whisked inside Capitol records for a reenactment of a studio recording session. 

Bob Anderson is a consumnate performer. This is evident, with the easy listening style and goose bump singing. He sings with ease, because he is a natural. I asked him if he warms up? He said, “Very little.” He sings along backstage in the wings and does a few scales. I understand this as a natural singer myself, I hardly ever warm up, and my voice is always  there for me.

frank-the-man-the-musicThis show is here only until the end of 2015, then it moves to New York. Tickets for  Frank: The Man,The Music can be purchased via Ticketmaster online or 702-414-9000. Thank you , Patricia Dockswell, Bobs Production Coordinator.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

SUNSET BLVD Nights

Program, and my fav souvenier

Program, and my favorite souvenirMy

My Life as a Teen in Las Vegas was actually quite great. I had sung in three bands and they all were  very popular. The last one, Free Circus,was mostly originals and we opened for many big acts. Santana, Iron Butterfly,Three Dog Night,  Steppenwolf,and Grateful Dead to name a few.  If our organist Danny Barnett had not been drafted, we would have gone on to be recording artists. The songs were that good.  We all decided to part ways because we didn’t feel it would be possible in those days to find a B 3 player.   Therefore, I found myself on a plane back to where I came, and was staying in a Hollywood Motel waiting to get an audition. 

I cannot mention the name of my agent, because he wasn’t very well behaved.  This was before cell phones, and life was harder to navigate.  With a lot of time on my hands, I was at a local market to get some food for my room, when a very Dark haired unkept man, was following me around.  I turned and surprised him and said,,’Hi, Are you thinking I am someone you know?’  He mumbled something and asked if I were an actress?   What a line that was in 1969 in L A !    Everyone was an actor, everywhere!   He said he knew the Beach Boys and named some others I didn’t really pay any mind.  He caught me outside and said he would play me a song,,I kept my distance, and heard the song. It was actually ok. He also invited me to his ranch, where I could ride, and even stay there, it was a commune.  Now, I am not high maintenance or anything, but I DO like showers and that fresh fresh feeling of A C,,,so I declined the invite.     A few months later,  I saw this guy on the News,,, His name was Charles Manson… ok.. Welcome Home to L A !

I escaped the escapades of the Manson Family only to  have to deal with my agent. He dropped in on me, and asked for a neck rub. I wasn’t born yesterday, and I got that sense of urgency to get away from his claws as soon as I could. .    I was tearfully afraid and not wanting to be thrown out on the street, I rubbed his neck, and then I started to cry. He tried to  grab me, and get close, and I freaked out and just started crying.  He was mad,  I am so fortunate to not have been raped. I was a very frightened girl, and had lost touch with my Los Angeles school friends from the time I spent growing up here. I never felt so alone.

I did have an audition on my Calendar..This was for a Broadway Musical at 6230  Sunset Blvd, the Aquarius Theatre. This had been the Earl Carrol Theater when I was a kid.. My Dad played drums there. I was excited even though I knew very little about this Play,,’Hair’  I knew some music had been quite famous on the radio.    

prepared for this audition very carefully. I went shopping in thrift stores.  I got some Jean Harlow satin flow pants,  easy to find in Hollywood in 1969!   Then I made another flowy top out of fabric,,,headband and flower to top it and I was set.  I had wanted the clothes to move when I did and be a big part of my song.  I had my sheet music and my attitude,,,and felt pretty good.

A few days before I had met another person in the market, a sweet little girl, named Heather Bloom.  Mrs. Bloom was desperate for a nanny. Someone to live in, and walk her daughter to and from School and help her with homework and dinner. My life was falling into place!  I could now plan to leave the clutches of the agent, if I got this job or not!.  My audition was in a day or so, and I told Mrs. Bloom, that I would call her.

.  arrived at the Theatre, and took my seat on the stairs of the lobby. There must have been around 75 people. It was a closed audition I think, because I had been there through the agency. My Name was called, and I went into this magnificent Theatre, and the Stage was so nice and the band pit  was onstage, I had never seen that before. There were rafters, and stairs, and the seats were just gorgeous. I gave the pianist my music, and sang my heart out.  They asked me to dance, and I did,, then a time step, Thanks Mom, for the tap lessons…I would have to wait for a call back.  I walked through the seats where they had watched me,, The most gorgeous man asked me if I had a problem with nudity…he was Teddy Neeley,,,I had NO idea there was a nude scene, but I dreamily looked at him, and said,, ‘I am not ashamed of my body’ Who AM I??? Why did I say that?  well, I said it and it was true, my family was very modern,,, skinny dipping etc. I think Teddy was the most gorgeous man I had ever seen.. that is my recollection of my first audition.

I called Mrs. Bloom and decided to move in, since a callback isn’t a job!    I just loved working for her,, crazy about Heather,, I was only there a week, when I received a call,, No Call back,, I WAS HIRED,,I started right away.. OMG.   I called my parents, my mom sounded odd,,, I blurted it out. I was Hired,, I am in HAIR. My Mom said that’s terrific sweetie,, but  your Grandad died in San Fransico today, Heart attack,, BAM.  My mom lost her daddy, and it was one of the best days of my life.

I felt awful  for mom, and I didn’t kn ow hat I could do, so I focused on my phone call before,,, when I heard:

“How would like to start rehearsal tomorrow? You will have to go to Actors Equity and join, and sign the papers, so, can you start right away.”

the tickets for Hair

Tickets for Hair

I am IN! I am in HAIR; the biggest musical of the decade. ME, right out of high school! How lucky can I be!!!!    BUT, I had to tell Heather and her mom, I had a job. She said I could stay awhile, but I had no car, and needed to be closer to the theater to walk to work.

I chose the Hollywood Bowl Motel. It had a community kitchen, and I hated to go out and eat alone.  To say I was lonely was the understatement of the century. I was so lonely, that my record albums were my friends. Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Joni Mitchell.  It took awhile, but I finally made some friends in the show.

I was at a shop, somewhere on the Sunset strip, when I ran into Jennifer Joseph, who, in Vegas was the band manager for Free Circus. Her dad owned an apartment building on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills.

She asked, ‘Where are you living?‘  I said, ‘the motel,’  she responded,  “NO way, you stay with me.” Great,  She moved all of my belongings  over to her place and I was farther  away, with no car, but she drove me to work. Here I am in Beverly Hills and livin the life… THEN things got even BETTER…..

tony good - jessica kluger marciel

Tony Good and I at the opening of LION COUNTRY SAFARI

Jen and I went to Jeans West on Sunset. A George Harrison lookalike  appeared; in tight jeans and gorgeous hair and eyes, walks over, “Hi Jennifer, who’s your friend?” … “Oh, Tony, this is Jessica, we went to school together and she is in Hair.”  

Our eyes locked and I swear, I was going to marry him!   He asked for my number, “Jenn, what’s your number??”  She had helped me move into her apartment in Beverly Hills, and now I had the hottest guy I had seen in  town! Next to Teddy, that is,,,

THANK YOU Jennifer Joseph!   Well, you wouldn’t know it to look at him, but he was  36 years old…  hmm.. My folks were gonna love this!  I was only at Jenn’s about a month when I moved back to Hollywood to live in Tony’s flat off Hollywood Blvd. We were happy and in love.

After a few months, Tony was offered to go across the Sunset Strip and manage North Beach Leather, good for him, because he was from the San Francisco Bay Area, and was familiar with the store. He had clients like Sly and the Family Stone, Raquel Welchmany big names. Hugh Hefner‘s personal assistant from  Chicago Bobbi Arnstein  was a big client. Bobbie did not drive, so when she she not come to the shop in a limo, Tony would drive her to the Mansion.  That’s how Tony and I got to go to parties at the Playboy Mansion, because of her. She was so nice, and tiny, and very cool.  She hadn’t had good luck with Men, her recent boyfriend Ron Scharf was a drug dealer, and with the FBI trying to bust Playboy for obscene content, they harassed her  and indicted her along with Ron on a Drug  deal, and thinking they would get to Her  through her, they killed her. Hefs personal secretary, Mary O Connel, tried to help Bobbie. They all did. 

Not literally, but she killed herself, when she was in trouble with Ron. She was going to jail, and couldn’t cope.    It was all so so tragic.  Tony and I lost a few friends to drugs in those few years we were together. It kept me away from drugs except for an occasional high when I wasn’t working. Nothing deadly.

Life was great,  a trip to Santa Barbara to see HAIR producer, Michael Butler, play polo. Whiskey A Go Go nights, and so much to do. We hit the MGM auction… wow, the Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of OZ!

I loved being in the show, and was promoted to the role of teeny bopper, Chrissy, who sang ‘Frank Mills. ‘ I understudied the fabulous Jeannie role played by Teda Bracci, and even got to perform that role one night!.

Tony and I really bonded with Red Shepard and his lady Karalee Phillips. She and I are still friends, and I call Red in Texas when I can. We had parties at their rented mansion.  Big parties!  lots of fun, and vegetarian food. We cooked all day for these parties. Crazy, wild people and lots of film stars. You have never seen so  much Fettucine, date nut bread and salad in ONE house! And we rode in a Rolls Royce to the market!

While there, I met people such as David and Keith  Carradine, their girlfriends Christina Raines and Barbara Hershey, Karen Black, and many colorful characters.

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone

I almost got busted with Sly of the Family Stone. One night Tony was locking up. Sly came to pick up a coat. His car wouldn’t start, we said we would give him a life. He said he had recording equipment in the car, so we started to put it in our car. Just then the police saw what we were doing and pulled in the lot. We were cuffed and knocked onto the hood of the car. I was terrified, Sly had coke in his car, and he swore to them we were not with him, they let us go, Close call.

One September night, a Sunday, after the matinee  with the show dark on Monday, Tony and I left for Las Vegas to see my mom on her Birthday.  It was very very windy out in the desert. When we stopped in Baker for a bite to eat. Tony said he was tired, and asked me to drive.  I took the wheel and the last thing I remember was a big swoosh, and the car spinning. I woke up in the hospital four days later.

Tony had broken his collar bone, but I had fallen out down an embankment and over the controls and broke every bone in my body. A trucker saw the headlights on and called 911.   He saved our lives. I had been in a coma. When I was moved to a room, I remember Ted Neeley came to see me. Wow, I will never forget that.  My injuries were pretty serious and my time in the show was over.  It was shortly after this we were told we were closing!  So sad.  I was allowed to sing Frank Mills on my crutches in the very last show. Then we cut an album, for a memory of the great Los Angeles cast.

After my recovery I started acting school, and we had a house in Nichols Canyon. We lived off our savings and disability, then unemployment. Life was still good, I kept in touch with Red and Karalee, and Red had started REVOLUTION RECORDS, with Michael Butler.  I sang on a few albums for him, including a rock version of Handel’s Messiah. Got to meet and work for  Clydie King, the queen of the background studio singers. It wasn’t until I moved back to Las Vegas that show biz became un forgiving, and quite tough.  To Be Continued

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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Singing in Las Vegas and L A

Free Circus at Teenbeat club

Free Circus at Teenbeat club

Our family moved to Las Vegas,  when I was a Recording Artist!  It was traumatic  enough for my sister and I. Being raised in Los Angeles, you get used to a certain culture, access to the beach, and the mountains. Also, I had recorded six songs, at Capitol Records.  We had  lived in the Hollywood Hills, then  North Hollywood then Northrige,  Sherman Oaks, and finally  Van Nuys bordering Studio City. . I went to Van Nuys Jr high.   This was a real blow,, I was only 3, whn we left New York for L A, so young, I didn’t remember,  so  this was HUGE.  My sister and I were never closer and we clung to each other for survival. I was lost when she went off to live in San Fransisco for the rest of her teen years with my aunt and uncle. My parents were show Biz all the way, Dad, Irv Kluger was a very well known Drummer. Mom had been a big band singer.  All our friends were big stars.  Joel Gray, Ray Bolger, Andrew Sisters, Bob Crane, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Shelley Mann, Peal Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Jerry Lewis, Harry Bellefonte, and more.   Dad moved us because he was In Las Vegas more than home!   He was with Juliet Prowse, the gorgeous Dancer who was engaged to Frank Sinatra, when we actually relocated. 

Not long after the move to Vegas, I found that my record was a little popular there, and Dennis Hunt on KENO Radio had given it a lot of play.  I went to Odyssey Records and even found my record in the sale bin!!!!! Talk about a blow to your ego!

I found out, I was to open for Johnny Crawford of the TV show The Rifleman at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Odyssey Records

Odyssey Records

His hit song ‘Today is Cindy’s Birthday’ was huge at the time  and this was the biggest venue in Las Vegas, where The Beatles played.  I was to lip-sync my 4 songs, because the last two were not really mixed, and completed  when I was dropped from the label. I still have the demos,  the vinyl, but they didn’t make it to the radio.

I was so nervous!  All these young girls screaming Johnny… Johnny… and I come out!  They were polite enough, but bored stiff until my set was over. Whew, my first big concert. Alone! Over with! I think if my opening song hadn’t been ‘Johnny Let Me Go’ they would have killed me!

I was  at Valley High , in  Las Vegas. High school started  at 9th grade, unlike Van Nuys Jr High.   So here I was in high school, after a half semester at Roy Martin Middle school.

The bands were all male dominated. NO chick singers. A band, ‘The Little People‘ asked me to join them.  YES, after doing that concert alone, being IN a band was a great thrill for me.  This was when I honed my performing skills, and we worked every weekend.  We even did the  Jerry Lewis Telethon, during MORNING PRIME TIME!!!! After a  few personality issues, we morphed into another band, ‘London Fog’, adding on more talent.

teenbeat-clubThat band was an improvement; we were getting older, and working better places, The Teenbeat Club and many frat parties. We even played the only casino in Searchlight, Nevada, a mining town, about an hour outside Las Vegas.

Then the best thing happened to me. A college band called ‘Free Circus’ asked me to come aboard. I was so excited to join these older guys, and do originals, and songs by Traffic, Yes, and Jefferson Airplane. The band had great musicians,, and two singers in addition to me.

Roby Bennet wrote a lot of great songs and Danny Barnett was on B3 organ, a rare sound for local Vegas bands. We were so good, concert promoters hired us to be opening act for Santana, Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Iron Butterfly, Electric Prunes, Sweetwater, and others, I can’t even recall!

We were stars now, when we would load in, kids would crowd around to watch us, just to be around us because we were going to be close to these headline bands backstage; acts they all loved, and admired. This was a great time in my life.

So, after we were really on a roll, and I was in my senior year, The Viet Nam war was calling our pianist! Yes , Danny had to go, and we just could not replace him. He played B3 for goodness sakes, and that was our sound! When Danny left, I knew my next move had to be for ME, for my career.

Program cover: Los Angeles Hair

Program cover: Los Angeles Hair

So, I went to Los Angeles with an agent that my sister had met at the Stardust Hotel. He was quite well known, when he dies, I might post his name! He had a big  agency, and you would think someone that big would behave themselves?  After he read my bio, he just took a shot and took me to Hollywood, and checked me in at the Bel Air Motel.  That’s when my world started to get pretty scary!

I have to add, that years later (which I’ll cover in another post), Las Vegas wasn’t so forgiving to female singers, and I have some horror stories there also. But as a teen, it treated me well. As I made my journey with this complete Stranger to Los Angeles, the rest of my life begins a whole new chapter!

I had a small room at the motel, with a little fridge.  Mr. SMOOTH was well behaved up to this point. I had my first audition set for the following week, the Love Rock Musical HAIR, I was preparing my song and dance.  I bought some vintage satin pants at a thrift store,,, a madras thin cotton  blanket and I sewed it into a top,,,that was my Hippie outfit,,,     I auditioned for Teddy Neely, and Kay Cole, Armand Coulet, and I got a callback,,,,,   Then I was called without the callback,,that I  was to start right AWAY!!!!  I was thrown into the most popular Broadway show in decades,, The Aquarius theatre on Sunset was historic, My drummer dad had worked there when it was The Earl Carroll theatre.. Rehearsals set in and that script was really huge! they had me watch the show every night and that helped with the memorization of it.

Because of a very frightening incident with the agent, Mr. Smooth,,I checked out of the Motel , and had been staying in The Hollywood Bowl Motel. . It was about a forty block walk to the Theatre, but I left early, and walked through Hollywood Blvd to window shop, well, and shop,,,to Sunset where the theatre was. 

The agent incident was just the beginning.  Sadly, the #Metoo movement was far in the future!

On one trip to the market, , a very dark haired hippie approached me in the produce section, and started chatting me up, said he was a songwriter, come to my car, I will play you a song.

Well, I did, and it was a smelly, beat up old car. He was smelly, too, and seemed a bit crazy… The hair stood up on my arms, so when Charlie, that was his name, asked to to go to his ranch, I declined.

Yes, my friends,, The Spahn Ranch and CHARLIE MANSON was his name.  Welcome to L A!  I had recently seem on T V, the gruesome Sharon Tate murders, I had no idea, the man I met would be arrested  a few months later!     To Be Continued

.

Jessica Kluger  Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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