Hey Toxaholics,

So we had yet another very fun crowd at last night’s preview of Toxic Avenger! And it was a very diverse crowd, too — from teenagers to seniors — and the whole house seemed to have a great time. So I am soooo much calmer than I was just a few days ago. The only one who isn’t that happy about it all is my dog, who has been home a lot more lately since I’ve been running off to rehearsals and the show. But I actually have a day off (!) on Tuesday, so he’ll get some hang out time soon.

Now, usually we would have a matinee on a Saturday afternoon, but for this first week of previews, our producers have (generously!) decided to forgo money-making matinees (!) and give us some more rehearsal time instead. So though it’s a gorgeous and brisk, sunny day here in NYC, we are, once again, spending our afternoon in a faux Toxic waste dump deep in the heart of New World Stages. I hope you’re all having fun in the sunshine and thinking of us, hard at work for your entertainment pleasure.

A lot of the work that is done in the preview period concerns lighting, and our Tony-Award-laden designer, Kenny Posner, has given Toxic an amazing look. But for all the fancy lighting effects, one of the major rules of doing a comedy is that the actors need to be well-lit (as opposed to be hidden in interesting but moody shadows) for the audience to fully appreciate all the jokes. That’s what we’re working on right at this moment.

As promised, here are a few more rehearsal shots (and no dogs! no dogs! no dogs! And this time I mean it!!)

There are many costume and wig changes for our two Dudes (played sparkingly by Matthew Saldivar and Demon Green) and here is some of their hair resting between shows.

And here is our fight squad (Rick Sordelet and his right-hand fight-man David) going over the big dismemberment sequence in which Melvin emerges as Toxie and tears apart the two thugs that have been harrassing him. In the right portion of the pic, David seems to be explaining to Nick Cordero (i.e. The Toxic Avenger) how to pull out someone’s intenstines. In the center, Rick is explaining to Demon Green how to react when someone pulls your guts out. And to the left, Matthew Saldivar is waiting to hear how he should react when his spleen is ripped out (and he’s probably thinking that playing Kneckie in “Grease” was a lot less violent.)

In this pic, your action photographer is standing in the wings and giving you a behind-the-scene look at Nick (in character as Toxie with a macho pose) standing on a barrel so the lighting department can light him. By the way, actors have to be VERY patient when they’re being lit since they have to stand still for a long, long time (which actors ain’t used to) It’s just another thing they have to do to look pretty.

And here is Nick still being lit in the same spot from a backstage angle.

And here’s a look at our entire cast rehearsing the fnale (once again, for lighting purposes, so there’s no need for them to wear their costumes.) By the way, I took this shot from our mezzanine which we have rechristened — get this! — The Tox Box (cute name, no?) Basically, The Tox Box is sold on weekends and there will be a bartender stationed right there to help liquor you up before the show (if you so desire. The show is just as enjoyable sober.) We’re sort of trying to emulate a ‘sky box” sports experience, though you’re extremely close to the stage and there’s no glass partition between YOU and the action. Should be pretty cool up there. And here’s the view from The Tox Box!

Tonight, we have a Saturday night crowd, so (fingers-crossed) should be another rockin’ good house.

With simple, heartfelt love,