On Saturday, Jan 23rd, I had the privilege of attending VO Buzz Weekly’s 200th Episode taping in North Hollywood, California. The evening exceeded my expectations in every way.
Going to the show taping required me to leave my cocoon in Santa Clarita Valley, get purdy (a job on it’s own!), drive into L.A. on the Interstate (which I hadn’t done before), and attend an event solo, not knowing anyone. Leading up to Saturday night, I kind of lost my mind a little. I was so worked up I swear I almost passed out on the drive down the I-5. Some Carol Burnett Tarzan calls literally got me out of my crazy head and back into my body, which is obviously necessary when you’re on an L.A. freeway.
White knuckled and sweaty, I found myself in VERY LIGHT traffic!! I’m an experienced driver, not normally nervous, but life in small towns for seven years had put a fright in me over busy, fast highway driving. So, here I am driving down 1-5…and the exit? Hollywood. A wonderful moment. Without incident, I arrived.
Walking up to the El Portal Theatre on my own was a personal cause for concern. Immediately, I started seeing people I knew online. In a way, I felt like a stalker…knowing all these faces, unbeknownst to them!
Did not trip and fall. Did not say anything stupid to anyone. And, lucky for me, my voice acting coach, Marc Cashman, was outside the theatre and graciously introduced me to some of his colleagues. He was a touchstone, in an evening that overwhelmed me. I gracefully slipped into the lobby and was able to watch the red carpet photo ops with red wine in hand. Lights flickered and it was time to enter the theatre. Comfortably settled in my seat, a glass of vino already downed, it was show time!
The very talented Scott Parkin had the task of being a “warm-up guy”, to keep the audience entertained between taping segments. Wow. The comedic abilities began to reveal themselves. Quick-witted, non-stop one-liners from Scott to almost everyone on the stage.
There is something wonderful about being in a room with people who all understand each other’s business, inside jokes, a compassion and sympathy for each other, a knowing.
There are people who “do” voices. Talented people who can do impressions. And then, there are the actual voices of characters and movies and media, who we’ve heard most of our lives. Voices of talent who you may not know by name, but certainly do by voice.
I won’t give everything away*, but here are a few of the remarkable people who BLEW ME AWAY! James Arnold Taylor, Jim Cummings, Kari Wahlgreen, Maurice LaMarche, Joan Baker, Charlie Adler, Lori Alan, Beau Weaver, Jess Harnel and so very many more!
The talent and experience astounded me and kept me wide-eyed. It was an assembly of people who rarely come together due to the isolation of our booths.
Chuck and Stacey, interviewed the panels with interesting questions and put the talent through the paces of improv, which alone was worth the price of admission. To hear these exceedingly phenomenal actors switch from one impression to another, one character to another, was simply remarkable. An absolute joy to hear.
*You will have the opportunity to watch the show! The 200th episode taping will air online in several weeks. To see the back episodes, go here and stay tuned for the 200th episode!