Posted by Kiff Vanden Heuvel (Dan in The Crowd You’re In With)
I’ve been performing in Chicago for about three years now, mostly in television and radio commercials—and a good deal of what I call “live event” work. Let me give you an example: you go to a business meeting for a couple days and on the first night there’s a “get acquainted and get loaded” type of event. Well, look up to the front of the room on the stage and you’ll see a couple of guys doing improv or a custom sketch about acronyms or something…that’s me. It’s great work, and I love it.
In fact, I love the massive variety of work I get to do on my particular career path: I go from performing the voices in a video game one day to playing a coffee cup in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts two days later (true story for another blog). This is the nature of my work, and it’s exciting and challenging. The thing is, though, I often work alone in a voice booth. Of course I collaborate with the client, director/producer and mixer. But the work usually involves a couple of people sipping Diet Coke and eating Nutri-Grain Bars in a recording studio.
I must say that the cast, director Wendy C. Goldberg and playwright Rebecca Gilman of The Crowd You’re In With have been such a delight to work with. I’ll write more about them in the future, but right now, I need to talk about the crew.
We started tech rehearsals on Tuesday. This tech has been amazing. The level of the crew’s true admiration for each other’s respective labor has been unlike anything I’ve experienced. When you combine Rachel Healy’s costumes under Josh Epstein’s lights on Kevin Depinet’s set with Josh Horvath and Ray Nardelli’s sound design…suddenly there’s a backyard BBQ indoors.
And as amazing as the design team is, the running crews and stage management department, who often bear a really heavy load during tech, have been so professional. And on top of everything, Kim Osgood and Sylvia Fellin have just been fantastic.
The thing that has impressed me the most about working at the Goodman so far is not just the prestige and history of the theater, but the people who occupy it today. From Kelly Ann and Erin, to Adam and Logan, to Patrick, Nick, Matt and Yvette, Christina, Sara, Jess…it doesn’t feel like a family, it feels like a crew—and that’s even better than family in my opinion.
In your family there’s always somebody who’s tripping or making decisions you question, but in a crew everybody has everybody else’s back, and no matter what your responsibility is, no one person is more important than the SHOW.
That’s how I approach my position as a cast member: it’s my responsibility as a member of the crew. I take that very seriously. And I have to bring my performance up to the level of Josh Epstein’s lights and Kevin Depinet’s set.
The bar has been set very high.