Don't believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you'll see the way to fly.


Friday, April 30, 2010

273 - Numb and Helpless



More than once in the last 273 days, I've written that the positive of the day was being able to work from home.  After not sleeping well last night and still being kind of numb, I'm once again grateful that I can work from home when I need to.  The numbness is topped with feeling helpless at not being able to do anything for T.  I hate that feeling.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

272 - Day of Shock

At 8-something in the morning, I received a text from TC that I had to read a few times to comprehend:  "Heading to Stuart. My dad died this morning in the hospital."  WHAT????  Just 4 days ago, we were all partying together.  The rest of the day was spend in a bit of a fog, trying to wrap my mind around what my best friend was going through and understand my own loss of a man who was a part of my extended family for the past 20 years.

I had plans that evening to go see "The Laramie Project" with friends at our local high school for the performing arts.  It didn't seem right to go see a play when T was dealing with all of this, but staying home wouldn't help T at all.  Figured the play might be a good diversion, plus I needed the hugs from my friends.

The Laramie Project was interesting and well done.  This is what the Tectonic Theatre Project says about the play:  In October 1998 Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Five weeks later, Mois├ęs Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, and over the course of the next year, conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town. From these interviews they wrote the play The Laramie Project, a chronicle of the life of the town of Laramie in the year after the murder. THE LARAMIE PROJECT is one of the most performed plays in America today.

I have no tolerance for hate crimes, actually for hate of any kind. Additionally, it scares me - a lot.  Going to see this play was a bit of a personal victory for me.  The students did a very good job, in my opinion, and should be congratulated.

Following the play, there was a panel discussion featuring Angela Corey (State Attorney), Josephine Jackson (Executive Director of the Office Of Equity and Inclusion, DCPS) and Lori Jacobson (Co-President of the Theatre Parent Group and Human Resource Manager, Smurfit Stone).  Ms. Corey answered most of the questions.  She talked about how her office is working diligently on prosecuting criminals in what is now the murder capitol of the US, and explained that while we don't have "hate crime legislation," what we have is a hate crime enhancement.  If a crime is deemed a hate crime, then the sentence is enhanced.

WBC (Westboro Baptist Church out of Kansas) said they were going to protest the play.  A counter-protest was planned, but as a DA Alumn so eloquently put, "The best protest we can do is to fill the theatre."  WBC didn't show - and I'm glad they didn't.  (To quote another friend, they're "bat-shit crazy.")

On my way home, I was thinking again about Wayne.  I actually found a smile.  Why?  Because one of his biggest things was "What do you care what they think?"  Sometimes you have to care what "they" think because otherwise you could get beat up (or killed as in Matthew Sheperd's case), but what a wonderful, confident way to look at life.

Wayne, I'm still trying not to care what they think!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

271 - Security


This afternoon, I discovered a screw-up that I made in January.  It cost the company over $3000 in lost revenue, at least right now.  The 'Powers That Be' may decide they can get that back.

There are so many issues with this.  Yes, I made a mistake. BUT - as long as they continue to run my department as lean as they are yet expect us to keep creating new projects or doing major changes to existing ones, there will be mistakes, bigger ones than I found today.  They also expect the I.T. department to police entries.  When???  I've lost most of this week to auditing site data when I have a MAJOR launch coming up in 2 weeks.

Ok.  My blog is supposed to be something positive in the day.  The positive is that in this economy, I have as much job security as anyone can have.  I might screw-up, but it's not going to cost me my job.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

270 - The Smell of the Kill

Tonight was Limelight's night; went down to see their production of "The Smell of the Kill."  The show is in their studio theatre, which is a smaller theatre, black box.  It's a cast of 6, but only 3 are on stage - the women.  The men are voices only.  Definately dark comedy. One online review of the show (in another city) said this of the show, "...this show is part "Desperate Housewives", part "I Love Lucy", and part "Stepford Wives.""

After reading the Actor Bios, I was very interested in the actress playing Nicky.  Lizzie's resume includes Broadway National Tours and many Regional Theatre productions.  She did not disappoint; in fact, she was fabulous!  I loved the physical comedy in the show.  A one point, Beth (Molly) had Cathy (Debra) in a deadlock, and then jumped on her back as Debra tried to get away.  What a hoot!

This is a perfect show for a small stage.  There are no set changes; the show is set in the kitchen of Nicky's home.

Yea, Limelight!  Sold out crowd on a Tuesday night. 
TTFN!

Cathy O'Brien, Lizzie Solms, Beth Lambert
Photo from Limelight's Facebook page

Monday, April 26, 2010

269 - Monday, Monday


Today's positive - There's is nothing scheduled to do tonight.  My only night at home this week.  Woot!

Beautiful pic of Diva from the weekend.  Just love this.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

268 - Thunderstorms and Pool Party

The party that started Friday night continued today over at T and D's house.  We had thunderstorms, then a break where the younger ones (you know, those in their 20's and 30's) could play in the pool, then the thunderstorms came back.

Teri and Carol signed all of their books so the distribution could begin.  (Go to http://tericoutu.com/fly.html ).  I got to spend some more time getting to know Donna's family and friends that I'd met that weekend.  And Diva got to run around and be spoiled.

Good day!
Diva was my designated driver!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

267 - Soiree Day


This day, from start to finish, was positive.  Today is when D and T "tied the knot."  The ceremony was held on the top floor of the Casa Marina in Jacksonville Beach.  Family and just a few close friends starting arrive between 10:30 and 11.  T and D started handing out flowers shortly before 11am, one for each of us, from daisies to sunflowers, from carnations to roses. 

They started with explaining why we all had flowers - individually, each flower is beautiful in and of itself, but when you gather them all together into a bouquet, it's a different kind of beauty, and each flower is enhanced by the others around it.  That, they said, is how this group is - each of us has a relationship with T and D, but together, we make up their family.  They also explained why they were doing a public ceremony when their "union" is not legal, but I can't remember what their stated reason was. 

There was a great spread of food on the buffet table, and open bar for beer, wine, champagne and vodka.  T and D also had a paint canvas up for all of us to add our touch to.  It is their version of a guest book, and the canvas came out quite nice actually.  After we all finished eating, the ceremony began.

They explained how they met (Thanksgiving dinner, 2004, at my parents' house) and how they connected a few months later.  They read, to all of us, the first email they wrote to each other, written on April 24, 2005.  Their ceremony date was April 24, 2010.

Following this was a very, very moving part of the ceremony, yet very untraditional.  They had our names in a bowl on their table, and as they drew each name, they told that person/couple how much they mean to them.  Teri talked to "her" people, and Donna to hers.  So often, we don't tell the people we care about how much they mean, and then their eulogy shines with this but the person isn't there to hear it.  Well, we all heard it today.  Just my luck, Teri pulled my name first.  By the time they got through, there wasn't a dry eye in the place, and mascara, that was gone too.

They did exchange rings, and explained that for them, the rings are a reminder of their commitment to each other.  There was a toast.  Teri, unbeknownst to Donna, wrote a song for her.  There were no vows, but there didn't need to be.  Peter started clinking his glass, wanting a kiss.  T and D didn't want to give into that, but eventually leaned forward then quickly turned and threw a kiss out to all of us.  What a giving gesture.

They ended their part of the ceremony by Teri singing John Lennon's "Imagine," with us joining in.  Now, the floor was opened to all of us.

Sandy started - She had made a big collage of pictures of Donna's family growing up.  That was the only "gift" of sorts.  Tim, Teri's brother, stood up and told us all how Teri helped him grow up.  Of course, he started with a disclaimer that he'd try to censor his language, but no promises.  And yes, he dropped the F-bomb once and through a few "shits" in for good measure.  I tried to talk, but as soon as I got up there, I choked up too much.  Just told T how happy I was for her.  Each of Donna's sons took a turn speaking to us about their mom and how happy they were for her.  Donna's mother even took a turn.  We ran 20 minutes past their reserved time, but it was well worth it.


After helping them pack up, it was picture time back at the Courtyard hotel on Jax Beach.  Carol is a FANTASTIC photographer (http://www.carolsavagephotography.com/ ), and did lots of family photos or any combo of people.  Once the photos were done, we finally got into shorts and relaxed.  Lots of drinking, laughing, story-telling (lying) went on around the pool, and then it was pizza time up in T and D's suite. 

What a long, wonderful day.  I had such a blast getting to know Frank, Sue, Carol and Sue, and to meet the boys' girlfriends.  Really, really awesome people.  So look forward to the next time we can all be together.

I am thrilled beyond expression for Teri.  She's been my best friend for 20 years; I've seen her hurt more than I want to remember.  To see her so happy and settled with someone makes my heart sing.  I wish them a long, and happy life!

Friday, April 23, 2010

266 - Noisy At Joe's



If tomorrow was to be a traditional wedding, then this evening would have been the rehearsal dinner.  Those who made it into town in time converged on Joe's Crab Shack for drinks, dinner and laughs.  I was at the table with Carol and Sue, and thus started to get to know them.  Kelly Anne was on the other side of the table, but it was almost too noisy to talk.  Tim showed up late, pulling a "Doris" on us - he didn't order any food, just ate what folks couldn't finish.  It was funny.

The table next to ours had a birthday, and some of the wait staff came over with a cake to sing Happy Birthday.  After our plates had been cleared, I got up and talked to Jenna, our waitress, in another part of the restaurant, explaining what tonight was.  Told her that even though this was non-traditional (and not legal), could they recognize it.  Jenna gave me an emphatic YES!  She came over to the table and got Teri and Donna to stand up and sing "You Are My Sunshine."  They didn't have to do it alone, though; we all sang with them.  I think that was the first time I had tears in my eyes.

Someone commented when they sat back down that they didn't get a cake.  The folks at the other table put a piece of birthday cake on a plate and handed over to T & D.  How cool is that!  It went around the tables so all 18 people could take a bite.

It was awesome to make some new friends and start the celebration.
TTFN!

An addendum to the above post:  After the singing, D made the comment, "Susan, I still teach in this town" (or something like that).  Unfortunately, that brought reality back into the evening, and while we were in the back of the restaurant, I hoped I didn't jepordize her job by having them recognized.  It pisses me off that it can still happen - that someone could lose their job simply because of who they love.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

265 - Not Defeated


Some days are harder than others.  Today was one of those hard days.  My Sr. Developer did some AWESOME work on something the WTF asked for.  In Wednesday's meeting, everyone was on board that there needed to be a marketing campaign for it and that the branch managers had to do hands on training so they could encourage the agents.  Today, we find that the manager's say they can't make it to onsite meetings, and we're told to do a webinar.  In so many ways, it just pointed out that it was all talk in Wednesday's meeting.  They want it and they want it NOW, but they don't step up and take that demand outside of our meeting.  My entire department is feeling very defeated because it seems that the awesome work my developers do is not recognized.  I'm tired of hearing that we're losing agents because we don't have something that another company does, but when it's provided, they don't push it.  I.T. cannot be the Marketing department as well.

I guess my positive in this day would be that 1) I'm not alone, and 2) I work with awesome people.  It's hard, though, to try to pick up their morale when mine sinks so low.  And now we're on the countdown to see if we'll have raises; none of us are holding our breath.

TTFN.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

264 - Haunted by Shakespeare


Last week, I sat in 3 Shakespeare Master Classes. This past weekend, I stopped by Barnes and Noble to browse through their bargin books, and I came across "Interred with Their Bones," a debut novel by Jennifer Lee Carrell. Mind you, it's a "The Da Vinci Clode" clone, but really, how often do we find books with completely original plots these days? For $6, it was worth giving it a try.

Tonight, I cracked the cover of the book and started reading. It's an easy read. The main character, Kate, is sent on a literary chase to find a lost work of William Shakespeare ... There are many references to Shakespeare, of course, and the prologue to each "Act" in the book takes you back to Shakespeare's time for a few pages.

Continuing the Shakespeare vein ... I reconnected today (via FB) with Todd, our sherrif in the first show I was in.  He's moved to DC; still teaching college English.  He is, however, a Shakespeare geek. The best performance I ever saw him give was in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, abridged."

I find the synchronicity of having just observed the Shakespeare Master Classes, finding this book on the bargin shelves and reconnecting with Todd, interesting. And those are my positives for this day!

TTFN!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

263 - Pampered!


I know that the last time I got my hair done, I blogged about it. But what is more positive than taking a couple of hours off work to have a good looking young man wash, color, wash, cut and style your hair? No one has done my hair better than Greg, and I'm glad to have some length off and all the highlights back. Looking good for the busy weekends coming up!

TTFN!

Monday, April 19, 2010

262 - Concert on the Green


Over the weekend, my friends JSG and EJG posted that their daughter was a finalist in the Concert on the Green music contest in Clay County. I had never heard of it, so what does anyone do these days when you don't know? I googled it! This is what I learned:

Concert on the Green has been around for 21 years. (Ok, my head must have been in Duval County sand.) Each year, they host the Young Artitst Scholarship Competitions for music and art students to support the arts in Clay County. For the art competition, it's a Poster Contest to design that year's poster for Concert On The Green. This year, an 11th grader from Fleming Island High won with her "Musical Stairs" poster (pictured below). (I'm guessing the art winner also receives a monetary scholorship like the music side does, though I didn't find anything backing that up.)

The music competition was on Saturday where they chose 6 finalists in the Sr. Division and 4 finalists in the Jr. Division. My young friend, IMG, a 9th grader at Douglas Anderson, was one of the Jr. Finalists. Yea!!! Since I had no plans, I drove over to watch the competition, located in a church in Fleming Island. My friend, CC, explained that the first round is just the student and the judges. Part of the final round is to not only hear the pieces of music again, but also see how they student performs in front of an audience. (I did have little flashbacks to my high school competitions.)



The Jr. Division was won by an 8th grade violinist. I was impressed with her, especially only being in 8th grade. The Sr. Division winners (one vocalist and one instrumentalist (on clarinet)) both were incredible. Both are 11th graders at Fleming Island High. Christine, the vocalist, had amazing clarity and control; she studies with my friend CC, so I'm not too surprised.

On May 30th, the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra will be doing an outdoor concert at St. Johns River College on the lawn in front of the Thrasher-Home Center for the Arts. The Jr. Division winner will have the opportunity to perform during the pre-concert entertainment. Get this, though - the two Sr. Division winners get to perform with the Symphony. How freaking cool is that?!?!?!!!

Back to my young friend, IMG. I wasn't surprised that she could sing, after all both her folks are fabulous performers and she's attending DA. What I was pleasantly surprised about is the maturity of her voice. At only 15 years old, her voice was more full than I expected, and her range and control are beyond her years. I could tell she was nervous, but she pushed through that and gave the audience a solid performance. I really look forward to hearing her again. (Hugs, kiddo.)

If I can find someone to go with me, I fully intending on going to the concert on the 30th. $15 to hear the Symphony is a deal you can't beat, and the night helps keep music and art in our schools. I'm all for that!

TTFN!


Concert on the Green's website:

Article on Jacksonville.com


Sunday, April 18, 2010

261 - Holy Dust Bunnies, Batman!


Well, I turned the a/c on today (in April! Gasp!) because I could not handle the pollen or the humidity.  With the house closed up and the a/c on, I was actually able to get some things done - like move my office into the front room.  There's still a ton more to do, but at least most the equipment is moved.  Downside - that used to be the coolest room in my home, but not anymore, not when all 3 PCs are cranked up.  I don't even have my laptop in there yet.

But OMG, the dust and dirt that was under the table where I used to have the computers.  It's impossible to clean under there when you've got so many cables and machines.  I'm surprised that didn't set of an allergy attack when I stirred that up! 

Once I get more stuff put away or tossed, I'm going to get the cables off the floor in the front room so I don't have dust multiplying like rabbits!

It's gonna take some getting used to, but this is a start.
TTFN!





260 - Honey, Honey?


Recently, a friend of mine told me that local honey can do the same thing allergy shots do - build up a resistance in your system to pollen.  Today, I stopped in Whole Foods and picked up some local honey.  The online articles say to start with a small dose, 1/4 of a teaspoon, as too much can actually set of an allergy attack.  I started small, but geesh, this stuff tastes bad.  Guess I don't like honey.  But, I'm going to keep taking it - I have no doubt it's better than antihistamines, and hopefully, if I continue my daily dose until next Spring, I won't suffer again.

Here's hoping!

Friday, April 16, 2010

259 - Be Fruitful and Multiply


My 259th day of blogging, and I really can't find a positive to write about.  Why?  Because I've been popping antihistamines all day like they are jelly beans.  While I love a cold, long winter, if the price for one is the long, harsh allergy season, I'll take a mild winter.  I know that I've built an immunity to antihistamines, but I have to keep trying to stop the sneezing and itchy, runny eyes. 

I supposed the positive could be that I didn't have to go into the office today and don't have a deadline looming on Monday.  I could spend the day on the couch, answering any emails that needed replies and make it through the day.

Tomorrow will be better ....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

258 - VETO


Today, Governor Crist vetoed the education bill that was pushed so rapidly through both the Florida House and Senate.  I rarely, rarely talk about politics, and rarely even personally get worked up over anything political, but this bill, geesh!  I read defense of both sides - those for and against - and just couldn't see any way this would have helped our state education system.  Last night when I was driving over the Main Street bridge, there were protesters with signs that stretched all the way across the bridge.  I lowered my window, waved and honked.

From what I've read, the governor's decision to veto this bill will not win him any friends in the Republican party, but he was won many supporters in the state.  Many have said, "We'll remember in November."  I am SO happy for my friends who teach in the public school system.  I know they are breathing a sigh of relief tonight.

Here's an article in today's Washington Post online about it:

This was by far the best letter/article against the bill that I read.  It's from the St. Johns County School Board.

Rest well, my friends.




Wednesday, April 14, 2010

257 - She Got To Do Her Monologue

Photo by Devlin Mann of The Backlight Theatre Group

On the first night of the Shakespeare workshop, I met a young woman and her mother.  Her mother had seen the article about the workshops on Jacksonville.com and knew her daughter would love it, so they came.  She sat up on the stage the first 2 nights and watched, not having an opportunity to do her monologue.  I told friends of mine that I really, really hoped she was able to do it on the last night, almost to the point that I wanted to mention it to Devlin.  Fortunately, I didn't and she was the first one Rob asked up.  (That's her in the pic above.)

She was ready.  She knew her piece, and more than anything, she listened to what Rob said, trying to incorporate it.  It was evident that she had a love for Shakespeare.  I think she received the highest compliment from Rob in that he laughed at one point.  I even leaned over to SC to make sure he had actually laughed.  (I couldn't see him.)

I have no tangible reason why I was so glad to see her work, just an energy I felt.  Maybe it was what her mother said that first night, or maybe it was seeing the absolute joy in her eyes before the first session.  I don't know, but it was great to watch.

Had a wonderful dinner with a couple theatre friends who I don't see all that often.  It was great to soak up the conversation.  And even more friends were there that last night.  Was even re-introduced to John, whom I'd met on a number of occasions before I started doing theatre.

A couple other of Devlin's photos - top: Stacy is in complete concentration, and bottom, so am I!  All credit goes to Devlin for these photos.



Other photos from Day 3 are here on The Backlight Theatre Group's website:


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

256 - More Workshopin'


It was back downtown again for another couple hours of watching Rob Clare work with local actors.  This night, though, a number of my friends were there.  It was SO wonderful to see them again. 

Some highlights from my notes:
"The person not talking is often the focal point of the scene."
"If possible, look for what the character does NOT say and why."
"Sometimes the repression of emotion is more powerful than the expression of emotion."

Looking forward to one more night of a master class atmosphere and watching a real master of the craft work.

LOVE this pic of my friend SC.  Either Devlin or Redgie took it. 

 

Other pics from this night are at:

 Article from Metro Jacksonville

Monday, April 12, 2010

255 - Workshopin' Bill

Devlin Mann, of The Blacklight Theatre Group, brought Rob Clare into town (into the country) to do 3 evening workshops on acting Shakespeare.  The workshops were held downtown at the Florida Theatre. Local actors are participating in the workshops; me, I'm observing. I'm totally ignorant when it comes to the classics, especially Shakespeare. However, I learned a lot in just observing Rob work with the actors.

My fav quote of the night was, "Rehearsal is the exploration of what's possible."  So much was talked about finding specific words for emphasis, and exploring why one word was used over the other.  Good exercises that can be taken into any theatre experience.

Watching and soaking all that in really makes me want to learn to be a better actor. The big question is finding the energy to put into that while still working the type of job I have, keeping up with the house and my other hobbies.

Here's one of Devlin's pics from the workshop.  Others can be viewed at:
http://www.thebacklighttheatregroup.org/The_BackLight_Theatre_Group/Rob_Clare_workshop_pics_day_one.html

Sunday, April 11, 2010

254 - On The 7th Day

It seems to have been non-stop again lately. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, and other than some chores that needed to be done, that's exactly what it was. The positive was getting laundry done so I had clean clothes for work this week!

TTFN!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

253 - Meeting Henry Flagler

Another video project. ABET had 3 performance of the one-man production, "Wild Dreams - Discovering Henry M. Flagler. One would think that one man droning on and on about the life of someone would be boring, but it actually wasn't. There was just enough movement for it not to be a lecture. Paul Jellinek was dressed in period clothing, and had the Flagler mustache to boot!

Having grown up in South Florida, I was very familiar with the places that Flagler helped develope. From St. Augustine, down to Palm Beach and finally into the Keys.

After Paul finished Act II, he sat down for a question/answer session ... and yes, I kept the video rolling for that. Many questions were asked about Flagler's family.

I believe he does his show fairly regularly in St. Augustine at the San Marco Theatre. I encourage everyone to try to get down and see it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

252 - Checkmate

Jacksonville University is putting on the musical Chess this spring. The first weekend is actually downtown at the Florida Theatre, while the second weekend is at the JU campass. I joined a couple friends to see the Friday night production.

As a friend of mine said, Chess is a very cerbrial show. The leads were really good, especially the young woman playing Florence and the young man playing the Russian chess player. The young man had to sing two very difficult songs, and knocked them both out of the park. It was great to see one of our Aussie sailors on stage again, as well as a couple of other people I know. (The only two things I didn't care for was the set moving after every scene and the orchestra was too loud to catch everything.)

I've known most of the music for a while, but had never scene the stage production. Am glad I did. It was much better than the concert version they showed on TV recently!




Article on Jacksonville.com (Photos are from this link as well.)

Jacksonville University brings student production of 'Chess' to Florida Theatre


Posted: April 7, 2010 - 12:06am
By Charlie Patton


Four years ago, a group of eager freshmen arrived at Jacksonville University ready to begin a new program at the school, pursuing bachelor of fine arts degrees in musical theater.

Another newcomer that fall was Rob Tudor, hired as JU's director of Music Theater and Opera and chair of the Division of Music, which he calls his dream job.

Four years later, Tudor and his seniors are preparing to present an ambitious production of "Chess," a rock musical about a romantic triangle during a Russian-American showdown for the world chess championship (think the Golden Age of Bobby Fischer), with the Cold War as the background.

Like most JU productions, "Chess" will be presented at Swisher Theatre, a 400-seat facility on the Arlington campus.

But first they are taking "Chess" to the 2,000-seat Florida Theatre this weekend for three performances.  Doing the show downtown gives JU a chance to showcase its growing musical theater program, said Bill Hill, JU dean of Fine Arts.  "This was the time to do it," Tudor said. "It's a chance to present a show to the city and say, 'This is what we do.' "  Doing "Chess" at the Florida Theatre also provides some real world experience for performers who hope to soon be working professionally and won't always have the comfort of performing in theaters with which they are familiar.

"We need to get used to not being used to the stage," said Lukas Cyr, a 22-year-old senior from Crystal River who plays Molokov, the coach for the Russian player.

Cyr, who has signed a contract to work next with the Peach State Summer Theatre in Valdosta, Ga., said he came to the JU program because he wanted to be "a name, not a number."

Nina Waters, a 21-year-old senior from Gainesville, called the chance to perform at the Florida Theatre "exciting and scary at the same time. I've never performed for that many people at one time."

Like Cyr, she picked JU because she felt she wouldn't get lost in the crowd at the small, private university.

"JU was where I felt like I was wanted," she said. "The one-on-one attention has really helped me out."

She'll be one of two actresses taking turns playing Florence, who works for the American player but falls in love with the Russian.

Waters has already negotiated her first professional contract and will soon head for Columbus, Ohio, to join the Contemporary American Theater Company.

Vincent Teschel, a 23-year-old senior from Pensacola who plays Walter, the American manager, says the chance to perform in a 2,000-seat theater will be "a cherished moment."  Next he heads to Montana to play Will Rogers in "The Will Rogers Follies."

Preparing his students to land professional jobs is a major emphasis of the program, Tudor said.

Musical training is the highest priority.

"If you don't want to study music, this isn't the place for you," he said. But musical theater majors are also expected to study acting and dancing.

"We want them to be highly marketable," he said.  "Chess" will be a chance for the 45 members of his cast to showcase all three aspects of performance, he said.

The show, with lyrics by Tim Rice ("Evita," "The Lion King") and music by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA, originated as a concept album in 1984.  The song "One Night in Bangkok," sung on the album by Murray Head, became an international hit, while "I Know Him So Well" had a long run on the charts in England.  A stage version opened in London in 1986, and there was a revised, shortened version that opened on Broadway in 1988. The Broadway show got mixed reviews and closed in a few weeks.  But the show has remained popular among fans of musical theater and has been frequently done, including an acclaimed concert performance done at the Royal Albert Hall in 2008.

JU's "Chess" is the Broadway version, somewhat edited and with a few elements borrowed from a version done in Sydney, Australia, in 1991, Tudor said.

"It's so much fun," Waters said. "It's way different from any other show I've been in, a pop-rock '80s-style show."

Tudor said what he hopes audiences see on the stage during "Chess" is "very-focused, highly trained acting," "some real belting" and "really cool dance numbers" and a "story and pace that is relentless."