End-of-year lists can be so tedious. I know this. And yet here we are. Because the only thing more tedious than end-of-year lists is searching for some documentation of some thing that happened a year or two or three ago, and not being able to find anything about it because I was too lazy/tired/overjoyed/myopic/disassociated to actually write about it. I therefore offer up this end-of-year list as a compendium of my professional shenanigans so that searching for them in the future won’t drive me crazy. You’re welcome, Me. Be sure to thank me later. In 2010 I made my living in front of an audience and behind the mic. And for that I am so deeply in awe. So deeply grateful for my fortuity. While our economy is not nearly as bad as 2009, it’s still in terrible disarray and record numbers of people are still unemployed. Even so, I was able to make a modest living via my profession; a modest living that didn’t require me to engage in morally questionable behavior (the kind where one would accompany a raised eyebrow with ‘actress’ in air-quotes).
Without further ado, my performance highlights of 2010:
- Voice-overs for ParentAwareRatings.org (listen).
- Voice-overs for St. Catherine University (listen). Turns out a friend heard the spot multiple times and never realized it was me until I mentioned it on Facebook. I kind of like it when that happens.
- Finished the six-month run of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Science Museum of Minnesota. I spent part of my weekdays engaging with the general public as Nurse Evelyn Marsden – sharing, in a darling English accent, her experiences aboard the ship in the first-class cabins and hospitals. I was sad to say goodbye to her.
- Voice-overs for Marketplace Events - 2nd year in a row (listen). Ty Pennington and me on national TV and radio urging you to attend home shows all around the U.S. (watch) TV commercials aired on HGTV and ABC and their affiliates.
- Began rehearsals for the Science Museum of Minnesota’s next exhibition – The Dead Sea Scrolls: Words That Changed the World, wherein we would perform a three-minute introductory monologue for visitors every 7.5 minutes. In all honesty, it was mind-numbing, but the visitors were mostly appreciative.
- Interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio’s Chris Roberts about my line-memorization techniques – ultimately compiled into a clever on-air story and accompanying slideshow with fellow actors Steven Epp, Mo Perry and Clarence Wethern.
- The Big Oscar Crunch 2010 – wherein I try to see as many of the Oscar-nominated films as humanly possible before the awards ceremony. The fun of doing it that way is not only seeing excellent movies, but actually feeling invested in more than just the red carpet.
- Started rehearsals for Spring of Freedom/Summer of Fear – a new Iranian play by Ali G. Ravi , produced by Table Salt Productions.
- VO gig for Carlson Companies – got to put Nurse Evelyn Marsden’s darling English accent to good use.
- Devastated to drop out of Spring of Freedom/Summer of Fear due to a harrowing family crisis which, because it apparently wasn’t bad enough, led to a nasty case of shingles. Yes, shingles. Probably the worst three weeks of my adult life to date.
- Called in by the lovely Barbara Shelton at Bab’s Casting to audition for a new WB pilot Mike and Molly. The network was looking for someone 30 pounds overweight. I was exactly that (not anymore, thanks to a newfound love of yoga), and so happily went in. Between the script (and the eventual casting choice), it became quite clear that LA thinks 30 pounds overweight is the same thing as obese. Surprising? Not really.
- Called in by the Guthrie Theater to audition for the role of Eunice in Streetcar Named Desire. Almost missed the e-mail because I assumed it was Guthrie marketing spam and was about to delete it. Didn’t recognize the sender’s name, though, so opened it. Close call.
- VOs for Nexxus demos/animatics. These are voice-overs for a concept by the ad agency for the client. If it gets approved by the client, the agency then films the spots. Since I almost never watch commercial TV, I have no idea if these ever made it though the pipeline...my guess is no (especially since many of these were the same as, or similar to, the ones I did in April 2009).
- VOs for Nexxus demos/animatics – two more sessions.
- Public reading of Casa Cushman, a new work by NYC’s Tectonic Theater Project (the folks who brought you The Laramie Project, at the University of Minnesota Nolte Center.
- Crickets. Both figurative and literal. Aside from live science demonstrations at the Science Museum of Minnesota, it appears that I did nothing performance-related in May. And I went camping.
- On Tuesday, May 11, amongst of a jumble of scheduled meetings and things to do, I found written in my calendar, “Hell-cat Maggie and Slops McConnell.” I have no idea what that means, but I think it’s funny, so thought I would share with anyone who is still reading by this point. Kiss, kiss.
June More crickets. Figurative. See May.
- Started rehearsals for See You Next Tuesday, my very first show with Walking Shadow Theater Company.
- Three-day script workshop of Trista Baldwin’s stunning Forgetting at The Playwrights’ Center.
- 2010 Minnesota Fringe Festival, and my performance in Walking Shadow’s critically acclaimed See You Next Tuesday. I was so excited to be back at the festival that I advance-purchased an Ultra Pass, with which I ended up only seeing three shows due to an emergency hospital visit and an emergency vet visit. 2010 was not turning out to be a great year for health.
- VO spots (more, again) for Marketplace Events home shows with Ty Pennington – TV and Radio (listen). Continued airings on HGTV and ABC.
- VO spots for General Mills – TV tags for Totino’s Party Pizzas (listen).
- Attended the (somethingth annual) Ivey Awards – Minneapolis/St. Paul’s version of the Tonys. Very, very swank. Very, very inspiring.
- VO spots for General Mills – TV tags for Progresso Soup (listen).
- Obscenely busy month that had almost nothing to do with performing. Included business travel to San Francisco for continued work on behalf of the Science Museum of Minnesota for NISE Net (Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network), with a little leisure travel to San Diego and LA on the side.
- No! Wait! Because of my General Mills VOs in September, this is the month that I was required to join the Screen Actors’ Guild (SAG)! That’s right, I got my SAG card in October. October was not an actorly loss, after all.
- Started rehearsals for a three-week, 30-hours/week workshop of Casa Cushman – in collaboration with NYC’s Tectonic Theater Project, choreographer Carl Flink, University of Minnesota Department of Theater Arts and Dance, a couple other U of M departments that I can’t recall at the moment, and The Playwrights’ Center.
- Sent live the brand-spankin’-shiny-new leighahorton.com.
- Performance of Casa Cushman at the Northrop Auditorium. This was a wild ride, and at the end of it all, despite some crazy-cray-cray, it was kind of awesome. And I kind of loved it.
- VOs for General Mills (42 in total) for Progresso Light Soups, Yoplait and Yoplait Light Yogurts, and Big G Cereals national TV spots. I just about died and went to heaven.
- VOs for Marketplace Events Home Shows with Ty Pennington – third year running!
- Authored and published a children’s book for NISE Net, Alice in Nanoland, which, as you read this, is being mailed to 200 informal science education institutions (science museums, children’s museums, etc.) across the nation in the 2011 NanoDays kits. What a curious little experience that was.
And there we have it! The months of 2010 demonstrate both feast and famine and average out to healthy; December being, by far, the most entertaining (well, for me, anyway). I continue to stand, mouth agape, at the wondrous profession I have chosen and the beautiful trajectory it has taken thus far. I cannot wait to see what delightful paths await!