Wayne Thomas Yorke! Appearing On Screen, On Radio, On Stage
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Archive for December, 2010

Season 2 of WINGIN’ IT, some sad news, and more…

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Some fabulous things to report – as well as some sad news…

First of all, farewell to an outstanding human being, a terrific actor/singer/entertainer, and a wonderful friend – Denis Simpson.  Denis passed away suddenly on October 22, 2010. I worked with Denis a few times – but the stand outs are when we toured with a number of other performers (including my dear pal Leslie Jones) to Yokohama, Japan to perform in a variety show under the direction of Canadian impresario Hugh Pickett – and in a popular revue at the Arts Club Theatre called ONLY IN B.C.  Denis was alway a big favorite with audiences and fellow actors.  I feel very fortunate to have known him.

This summer I returned to Toronto to shoot Season 2 of the very popular ‘tweener’ show WINGIN’ IT.  It airs on The Family Channel in Canada – on the BBC in Great Britain and also throughout Europe.  There’s word that it might possibly soon begin airing in the U.S.  I will announce it on my website when/if that happens.  It is a blast to work on the show – and now we already have Season 1 under our belts – it was like getting together with old friends to work on Season 2.

In Season 2 we said goodbye to one cast member – Dennis the raccoon. Dennis was a puppet operated by the very talented Matt Ficner and Mike Peterson. Those guys had me cracking up all the time.  They were so funny, so creative and both worked so hard. Anytime you would see me (as Dr. Cassabi) at my desk talking with Dennis – there were those two guys crowded either underneath the desk or just beside it – operating Dennis and bringing him to life.  Here is a picture from one of our last days of shooting with Dennis the raccoon.

A very welcome addition to the cast was with a new character named Denise.  Denise was played by a very talented newcomer Kendra Leigh.  I think this is her first series – and she nailed it like she’d been doing it for years.  Very funny, very professional and a real treat to work with.  Besides WINGIN’ IT – I’m sure you’ll be seeing her in other projects very soon.

Most of my scenes are with the students (Dylan Everett, Demetrius Joyette, Brittany Adams, Hannah Lockner, Sebastian Hearn, Brian Alexander White…..) but every once in a while, I’d get to work with the some of the other adults. Here’s a pic of me with Matt Baram, director Mitch Ness, Steve Morel and Jenny Parsons.  The hardest thing about working with actor/comedians like Steve, Jenny and Matt – is keeping a straight face.  They are so terribly funny.

And speaking of funny – below is a pic of me with Naomi Snieckus and Scott Thompson (a guest star in one episode).  Naomi continues to perform in a show (with her partner Matt) called The Carnegie Hall Show in Toronto. If you are ever in Toronto – you’ve got to check them out. And then, there’s Scott Thompson.  You never know – when you work with someone who is established and well known – how it’s going to be.  Sometimes it can be very tough and unpleasant.  Sometimes the person can be very stand-offish.  Scott Thompson, on the other hand, could not have been lovelier to work with.  Besides being very talented and hilarious – Scott is always ready to work – very sweet – and as funny off camera as on.

We did one scene in the heaven ‘court room’ set – so were dressed in our slightly off-white suits as was the norm for ‘heaven’.  Scott, Naomi and I were on a short break so we headed off to the craft service area.  When you’re in costume, you always have to be careful eating or drinking.  The last thing you want to have happen is to spill something on your wardrobe because then filming has to stop while the wardrobe people have to try to clean whatever has spilled – dry it – and get it back on the actor.  So, there we were, in the craft service area and Scott’s back is to me.  I hear him let out a loud “Ahhhhh!”.  I could tell he had spilled something – and to reassure him I said “Don’t worry.  As long as it’s not mustard, they can probably…”  At that moment, Scott turns to me with the largest mustard spill I’ve ever seen – right down the middle of his off-white tie.  It looked like had just picked up a mustard bottle – and just squirted it on his tie.  We both laughed so hard at the timing of it.  I can tell you who wasn’t laughing though…..the wardrobe person.  Thankfully, they worked their magic and a replacement tie was found.

The audience at home watching WINGIN’ IT only sees the magic on screen….but man, oh man, let me tell you – the real magic on that show happens behind the camera.  It is the extremely hard working producers/directors/writers/crew who pull off episode after episode that is truly magical.  The schedule for the show can be grueling – and the number of costumes and props and hairstyles and various make-ups for every episode overwhelming.  And everyone is giving 110%.  So, if you are out there watching the show thinking “Wow…look at what those actors are pulling off” – imagine the dozens of people behind the camera – working their butts off to make the actors, and the show, look so good.

In the fall, I returned home to the true happiness in my life – my wife and two kids.  It was nighttime when my wife picked me up at LAX and my kids were in the backseat of our vehicle.  When I opened the door to greet them – they were wearing jammies that had written all over them “I Love Dad”.  Their faces were beaming – as was mine.  Heaven on earth.  This, to me, is what it’s all about…..my family.Not long after I got back to Los Angeles, I booked a national commercial for the software company – Intuit.  Here’s a link to that commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX_8H5US7Lk

I really don’t remember the last time I had such a good time working on a commercial.  My fellow cast members (Robert Scheid, Gail Rastorfer, my ol’ pal Shawshawnee Hall and Elena Campbell-Martinez) were just great – and we bonded like we’d worked together before.  Truly a wonderful time. The spot turned out really well I think.
So, now I’m busy working again on a new project – but I’m going to save talking about that for my next update – which I promise will not be as long a wait as the last one was!