On cue, I stepped onto the historic Stanley stage. Butterflies rose up…I could do this. I’d taped a few cheats to my handheld microphone – keywords for lines I tended to mix up. I never looked at them.
So many days this winter, I’d stare at my computer monitor without any motivation to be productive. I stopped running, writing, reading. Gradually, life returned. It took longer than a week. I kept wondering, “Do I feel normal yet?” and eventually realized this was the new normal.
Bob was the great romance of my mother’s life, a blessing she never expected. About ten years ago, I started calling her every other day or so. “How are you today?” “Pretty good. Bob and I had great sex last night.”
We didn’t love our time at Grandma’s for the food, the Christmas presents (usually clothing), or even the Polish music. We loved being loved by her. I’m sure we recognized the feeling, even if we didn’t know how rare it is in life.
At one point during the show, Sarah crossed through the dividing curtain and bumped into a tall black man. “I just need to go to the other side of the stage,” she said. “OK,” he replied. About that same time, Leon’s manager Bill Dustin reported that rapper 50 Cent had walked by. “Hey,” Bill said. “Hi,” Fiddy said. Leon was furious that Bill hadn’t told everyone sooner. Sarah: “I thought he was a security guard.”
In August 1987, before he left for college, Chris Champion and I decided we’d drive to Atlantic City and sleep under the boardwalk. We had no plan beyond that. It seemed like something 18 year-old best friends should do: odyssey, iconic quest, scatter oats and all that.
I’ve watched the new trailers as they’ve been released, and my physiological reaction to John Williams’ music is probably similar to every other 40-something sometime geek’s: increased heart rate, loss of peripheral vision (starry eyes), flood of cerebral endorphins… I feel young again.
I was born September 11, 1969, at 3:36 PM. I didn’t breathe right away, so one of the delivery nurses baptized me…A few years ago, someone approached me after church: “We weren’t sure you were going to make it; look at you now!” She’d been there when I emerged stubbornly, four decades earlier, in the hospital just across the street from the church where I was now a cantor.
Rest in peace, my brother. You’ve earned it. Respect.
In June 2012, Dan Fusillo directed Avenue Q at Players’ State St. theater. I was cast as Nicky, the Ernie-like puppet who sings If You Were Gay to his Bert-like roommate. The show was a success, and I couldn’t wait to get back into lighting and maybe perform more frequently.