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


The Age Of Aquarius: Revisited

Last week, I received a most exciting invitation to come to Los Angeles and be a part of the red carpet grand opening of HAIR at the historic Pantages Theatre. This would be a chance to not only see the new version of the show I was a part of in the 60’s and 70’s but to reconnect with old friends and tribe members.

The Pantages had a brilliant idea to make the original cast part of the excitement of its grand opening, and many as of us, did make it. Our beloved producer, Michael Butler, arrived with Ben Vereen, which made it even more special. After all the screams and hugs outside while the papparazzi were setting up, we gathered for some group shots.

Other celebs who made the opening were Jason Alexander, Lorenzo Lamas, John Savage, Marty Ingels and wife Shirley Jones, Melissa Manchester and many others.

I had been skeptical about seeing the show ever since it returned to Broadway and London. I felt too close to it and was afraid of change. But, here I was and there was no turning back.

The first big change, it was so colorful! We were supposed to be street people but here they were, rather clean and in this surrealistic setting. Then I noticed it wasn’t easy to recognize the cast leads. Berger was not crazy and Sheila was just another cast member until I realized she was Sheila! The same problem with Hud, his character was bigger, broader in the original production. Think “Ben Vereen!!!

Steel Burkhardt, the actor who plays Berger, did what he was directed to do. I believe the the director was trying to make this her own. Diane Paulus is the director of this production. When we did the show it had more choreography also. These tribe members seemed to jump up and down a lot.

However, the important elements of the script were kept alive. the war, and all the important statements we tried to make were there. just in color!! the script was cut and the tempos were rushed. It most was apparent when Claude sings “Where Do I Go” A very emotional song, I used to cry eight times a week, but I did not shed a tear Thursday night. the cast failed to move me.

I would still tell you to see it, Gerry Ragni and Jim Rado‘s dream lives on in this show and it must be told, no matter how many different ways. I was Chrissy, I was Jeannie and I was a tribe member.

I witnessed brilliance in Teddy Neeley, Jerry Combs, Red Shephard, Tata Vega, Delores Hall, Ben Vereen, and all the others great talent in the Age of Aquarius. I am so lucky to have been part of history and now 40 years later to watch a new generation of actors live the dream. Don’t miss this important work of art, it still matters, now, more than ever.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

On the road with Sonny Charles, learning to dance, and much more

When I was in The Los Angeles cast of “HAIR”, I was in a terrible car accident on my way to Las Vegas to surprise my mom for her birthday.I was leaving Baker, California, and the wind was really kicking up badly. My boyfriend Tony Good was getting tired and I said I would take the wheel.

Tony was the manager of North Beach Leather on Sunset Blvd., and we were together for about a year.  We had a very small English car, right hand drive, and the wind really blew it around.

I vaguely remember losing control of the steering wheel, and waking Tony with my screaming. We were off the highway, on the sand, spinning around and skidding at a very high speed. That is the last thing I remember  before waking up four days later at UMC Hospital in Las Vegas. I had been in a coma.

My leg was broken in three places, my ribs and lungs collapsed. I had a neck brace on and a lot of cactus in my limbs. Tony had shoulder and arm injuries, but wasn’t as injured as me. A passing truck driver had spotted our upside down car off a reveene with the headlights still on, he pulled over and started looking for people. He called 911 and we were transported to Vegas.

Tony was on a different floor, and they wheel-chaired him to see me. He told me that at that same night our best friend Frank had died of an overdose. He was devastated. Frankie owned Head East Jeans on Sunset and La Cienega, Tony had manged that until North Beach Leather grabbed him away.

Many of my Hair buddies came to Vegas,to see us.Teddy Neeley, being one, he was so sweet  to do that. Tony’s other  friend Cliff who lived with Frankie, moved in with us when we returned to Los Angeles. We had a beautiful little house in the Hollywood Bowl hills and it had about a hundred stairs, so we had to find a new house.

Tony went home while I recouped at mom and dad’s in Vegas. He found a great house in Nichols Canyon in a cul de sac with a stream running through it. he did all the moving and I never saw the Hollywood Bowl house again.

I had a lot of recouperating to do. HAIR was closing, they let me do the last show on crutches and sing “Frank MIlls”. Everyone either went on to “Jesus Christ Superstar” or the Mercury Tour of HAIR. I lived in that house on the mountain, on disability.

In time, everything was spiraling, and Cliff died of an overdose. Then his girfiriend killed herself over his death. It was a time when I started acting classes. I was with Justin Smith right there on Santa Monica and La Cienega. I loved classes. In my class was Michelle Phillips, and Helen Reddy.

It started to distance me from Tony though. We hung in there for another year. We became close to former “Berger” In HAIRRed Shepard, and his girlfriend Karalee Phillips. They had a rented mansion with an elevator and huge kitchen where we would throw a lot a parties. Keith Carradine, and a lot of actors of that generation were at the parties. Red had started Revolution Records with Michael Butlers help. I sang on a lot of the sessions.Keeping up with the likes of Clydie King and others was a challenge.

On a trip to Vegas to see my family, I stopped into Gus Gallo’s, a local club with live music. I sang with the band, and Sonny Charles of the Checkmates asked for my number. Sweet Louie, Sonny’s bandmate, was in prison at the time. Sonny was traveling alone with a band.

Shortly after that, Sonny called from Fort Wayne, Indiana, could I come right away and be a back up singer with his niece Regina Warfield. Tony and I were done by then, and off I flew to a wonderful adventure.

When I got there, I found out the drummer, Billy ,was a student of daddy’s.  Every night after a show, Regina and I were off to Sonny’s room for dance class. How fun was that?

Also, the golf courses were a big part of Sonny’s road life.I would caddy for him a lot, and learned the game. The shows were fun, exciting, and always brilliant.  One night Sonny asked me to his room and we talked and spent a lot of hours together. we got very close and I have always cherished my one night with him. After a few months on the road, I got close to the bass player, Jim Strauss.

Jim was a tall, skinny, Jesus look-a-like! He was from Los Angeles. and his girlfriend at home was on a big billboard all over the city as the bikini’d babe on the Coppertone ad. Then she appeared in a clothing pictorial for men’s clothes in Playboy magazine. I had a huge crush on him but knew I wasn’t in his league. Well, he returned my crush and we began a relationship.

Despite his girfriend Peggy! Shame on me,, I was young and that was not right. Peggy was so nice, she let us stay at her house when we got to Los Angeles. AWKWARD! when she was out of the house, the anwswering machine for her was ringing with calls from Warren Beatty! She was going to be fine!

Jim and I got our own place in Hollywood, near Sunset and starting keeping house. Sonny stopped touring, and I found a job with a band called “The Sunshine Company” I was now on the road and Jim stayed in Los Angeles.

Let me teach you something that took me a long time to figure out. When a guy cheats on his girlfriend with you, he will also do it to you. He did and I learned the hard way, life lessons.

My one night with Sonny was always a bright spot on my heart and I have never talked about it. It was just a moment and something that seemed right and that is all it was. I remember his mama’s cornbread, sweet potato pie, and those lovely visits to Fort Wayne. I remember the whole band seeing “Play Misty For Me” together one afternoon.  I remember when Sonny played the Hammond B3 and sang “Your Song” and gave me chills every night.

Now he is with the Steve Miller band. and what a thrill for people to still see and hear this great performer. Try not to miss them if you get a chance. This was one of my greatest memories of the business and my youth. I am one lucky girl!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

How being cast in the show “HAIR” changed my life

Jessica (Kluger) Marciel

Jessica (Kluger) Marciel – HAIR 1969


I had been a recording artist at 12, with Capitol Records ‘World Pacific Jazz’    I then moved to Las Vegas and was in three rock bands, opening act for ‘Santana’, ‘Sweetwater’, ‘Cream’, ‘Iron Butterfly’, ‘Three Dog night’, ‘Steppenwolf’, and many others.  My graduation from High school, found me in a new direction,,Musical Theater.

My first adult venture, was flying off to Los Angeles after high school, living in a motel in Hollywood, and really going for it on my own for the first time since recording as a solo artist. I lived at a  motel alone, at 18, back in my home town, but far away from the San Fernando Valley, where I grew up.

I was so lonely, and the agent that flew me out there was giving me the creeps…But, finally, I had an audition,,

I had never really heard any of the music from the Broadway show, HAIR, wasn’t familiar with it. But unless you lived in a cave, you knew it was innovative and very popular.

I got a funky tie dye thin fabric Indian blanket, and sewed arms in it, and got blue velvet slinky pants from a thrift shop. I looked the part, for the audition.

Because I was so young, just 18, I was cast “because I would be a good Chrissy”, eventually,  the ingenue in the cast. Good timing!! I was a tribe member for a long time, but loved the family that we all became, so much that we are all still in touch some 40 plus years later.  The producer Michael Butler left his home up in the hills open to us, to swim, and just hang out. We also would go to Santa Barbara to watch him  play Polo..

The show is one of a world with Peace and Love and understanding. No hate and no homophobia. Sadly, the world is  far from that even now. We sang of Pollution, and climate change,,,Yes,, we tried, and were aware of all that is going on still !…      We sang of accidental pregnancy,  The role I was the understudy for, and got to do once,,’Jeanne’,, the actress Teda Bracci was so amazing in it,, I was intimidated to fill her fat suit even once!

My  first big show was the show of the decade, and here I was , just the lucky one, right out of school, jumping in with both feet,, Bare feet, we wore no shoes.   We started before the show did, out in the audience handing out flowers and sitting on peoples laps to shock them, then the chimes rang and we  Froze!!  After we froze, we in slow motion made our way to the stage. The people who had never seen it had no idea we were the cast. They must have thought we were audience flower people or something.

The show was so moving, and it gave you chills every night. When we are acting out a show on these very touchy  yet very important issues, you can’t help but get involved.  Very few of the cast became conservative.  We were actors, yes, but doing this show helped form our views.  Well, most of us.


The show made me  a caring and sensitive person, and this would last my entire life.

Every night, watching the character, “Claude,” die from the war in Vietnam. I still feel it. I have voted ever since, and will always keep my eye on the ball. I care about this country, I thank Ragni and Rado for writing this masterpiece, and I thank Teddy Neeley, Yes,, Jesus Christ Superstar himself, for hiring me. I auditioned for him and Armond Coulet. Also, a very lovely man. Kay Cole for blocking me in the show, helping me Jump in fast, and get going.. So, Let the sun shine, and pray for peace.  One day???

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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