Performing in Spamalot

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, I welcome you to attend a performance of Spamalot, the fantastically funny musical theatre production that I’m dancing in this summer.


The show runs from June 29 to August 3, 2013 at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre at 2627 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. Showtimes are at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 2pm on Sunday. You can buy tickets online or at the box office (which is open Wed-Fri, 4-7pm; phone: 310-828-7519).

Lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot was the 2005 Tony winner for Best Musical and tells the tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table as they embark on their quest for the Holy Grail. Flying cows, killer rabbits, taunting Frenchmen, and show-stopping musical numbers, this production has it all.


The original 2005 Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. During its initial run of over 1,500 performances it was seen by more than two million people and grossed over $175 million.


I’ve been having a blast performing in this production, and would love to see you there.  My husband, Matthew Sheehan is serving as the Stage Manager (which means he gets to “assist” me with my many costume changes, something he’s thoroughly enjoying).

I hope you can come check it out! Remember, what happens in Camelot, stays in Camelot.

Morgan Wixson Spamalot


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A Dancer’s Guide to Writing

I began dancing when I was ten years old, and have never stopped.  Ballet, jazz, tap, modern, musical theatre, I love it all. To me, my passion for dance plays perfectly into my passion for writing.

How, you ask?

Dance is communication.  Dancers have the ability to manipulate their body with musicality and form; good dancers can do this while also conveying emotion; and great dancers will make all of that seem inconsequential as they transport you to another world.  And writers do all of this with their words, rather than their bodies.

I firmly believe that everyone can dance.  All you need is the desire to do so, and the courage to get your butt onto the dance floor.  The same is true for writing: Everyone can write, all you need is the desire and courage to do so. But the difference between a dancer and a great dancer is the same difference between that of a writer and a great writer: passion and training.

So in that vein, here is my Dancer’s Guide to Writing:

  • Know your craft. You cannot become a prima ballerina without knowing how to plié. So don’t assume you can write the next bestseller until you understand the importance of grammar, character development, and story pacing.
  • Practice makes perfect.  Even Baryshnikov, one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in history, knows he must take class everyday. Writers are no different.  Your first draft will never be perfect.  Recognize that revisions are just a part of the writing process and be prepared to sweat through them regularly.
  • Merde. Just as actors tell each other to “break a leg” before a performance, ballerinas will wish each other “merde.”  In French (ballet’s mother tongue), merde means “shit.”  Legend says that this tradition began back in the days of the horse-and-carriage, where the success of a show could be measured by the size of the audience (and therefore the number of horse-led carriages).  In short: the more horseshit in front of the theatre, the better.  So what does this have to do with writing?  The more successful you are, the more shit you will have to put up with.  Erroneous reviews, ridiculous criticisms, unfair expectations… shit will happen.  Expect it.  Welcome it. It means you’re doing something right.
  • Dance like no one is watching.  Don’t hold back out of fear of what people might say or think.  As an artist, you must be willing to lay yourself bare.  Don’t cater to an audience, your passion must come from within. How can you inspire others if you do not inspire yourself?
  • Do it full-out.  In dancer terminology, there are two ways of dancing: marking it, and doing it full-out. Typically, dancers only “mark it” when they are learning a new piece of choreography, but once the steps have been committed to memory, dancers are expected to do it “full-out.”  In other (more vulgar) words, “marking it” means half-assing it, whereas “full-out” means balls-to-the-wall.  Marking it might be easier, but you’ll never learn what you’re capable of until you go full-out.
  • The show must go on. The lead has laryngitis, your costume ripped, the stage manager is drunk, someone spilled water on the stage, and there are only eight people in the audience?  Doesn’t matter.  Life is always going to throw roadblocks that may make you feel like there is no chance of success.  Ignore them.  Don’t let anything distract you from your goals.  The page is your stage, and no matter what, the show must go on.
  • Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.  Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had it right: don’t let mistakes keep you down.  “Work like a soul inspired, ’til the battle of the day is won.”

Ruth St. Denis once said that dance is a form of communication that can “express what is too deep to find for words.”

As authors, let it be your goal to prove St. Denis wrong.

~ Laura Sheehan, author of DANCING WITH DANGER (Red Sage)

Dancing with Danger (cover art) - by Laura Sheehan

[This article was originally published in the December 2012 issue of LARA Confidential, the newsletter of the Los Angeles Romance Authors (LARA) chapter of the Romance Writers of America and may be shared or reprinted with credit to author and chapter.]

Dancing in “Crazy for You”

You’ve heard all about my novel, DANCING WITH DANGER, and maybe you’ve read that I’m a dancer myself in real life… well, now you have a chance to see my dancing skills in action!  I’m currently performing in a production of Crazy for You at Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre, and I’d love to see you there.  It is a six-week run, and we are currently in our second weekend. We have shows every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm until Aug 4th. Here is the show’s website, where you can learn more about the production and buy tickets:

That’s me on the left! This picture was (illegally) taken during one of our shows, but hey, I’m not complaining!

We’ve received some fabulous reviews, and yours truly was even mentioned in one of them! I’m rather proud of this particular mention, because I do not have a speaking role in this show.  To be singled out from the rest of the fabulous ensemble is fantastically flattering, so forgive me as I brag all about it!

Dress rehearsal. This candid is from one of our big dance numbers, Slap That Bass.

Curious to know more about the show? Here’s the blurb from the Morgan-Wixson website:

Crazy For You is the story of Bobby Child, a well-to-do 1930′s
playboy, whose dream in life is to dance. And despite the serious
efforts of his mother and soon-to-be-ex-fiancee, Bobby achieves his
dream!  Memorable Gershwin tunes include “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away
from Me,” “But Not for Me”, “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Embraceable You,”
and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Crazy For You was nominated for nine Tony Awards in 1992 and walked
away with three, including the coveted Best Musical — and when you
come see our production at the Morgan-Wixson, you’ll
know exactly why. If you haven’t seen this show before, you’re in for
a real treat. This show is fun for the whole family and has it all – hilarious comedy, beautiful
romance, mistaken identity, plot twists, cowboys, gorgeous dancing
girls, fabulous dance numbers, and or course, classic Gershwin music.

Who Could Ask For Anything More ?

Backstage at the show during dress rehearsal

If you are interested in seeing the show, comment here and I’ll tell you how to get a special 2-for-1 deal!

Everyone is Beautiful at the Ballet

I’m guest-blogging at Jennifer Lynne’s blog today about self-image, mean boys, dance, and confidence.  Please join me, and feel free to share a story about your own personally inspirational moment.

Jennifer Lynne Blog - Laura Sheehan Guest

Guest Blog: Action Movies are Really Romance Novels

Join me on Roz Lee’s blog today as I discuss how the best action movies are basically just romantic suspense novels on film.

Check out the blog to see my Top 10 Best Action Movies that are really Romantic Suspense Novels on Film.  Agree? Disagree? Comment today (May 8, 2012) for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card! (Which you will hopefully use to buy my novel, DANCING WITH DANGER, wink wink nudge nudge)

Dancing with Danger (cover art) - by Laura Sheehan

Guest Blogging on Romanceaholic Today!

Join me on the Romanceaholic blog today as I discuss dancing in romance novels (and in real life)!  One lucky commenter will win a free copy of my romantic suspense novel, DANCING WITH DANGER, and a $10 Gift Certificate to Amazon!

Dancing with Danger (cover art) - by Laura Sheehan