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.
One day, I was discussing dream projects with my friend Jackie Osterman. I said I wanted to do Little Shop of Horrors… “Believe it or not, I’d love to play Seymour.” This is what Jackie said: “OK, so you’re Seymour.”
The first time I walked into Players of Utica was May, 1994. The group performed in a former church on Oxford Rd. in New Hartford, NY, where they’d been located since 1962. I remember a ramshackle building, peeling blue paint on the outside, entering through the downstairs and going up to get to the theater. The floors groaned, the stairs creaked, it smelled like a hundred years of must. I found it absolutely charming.
Life isn’t usually so sweet. God, I know it isn’t. I just read that Charles Antzelevitch, Director at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica, NY was removed from his position.
One of my favorite pop lyrics is Cat Stevens’ Father and Son (1970). “You’re still young, that’s your fault.” It’s the kind of line you struggle against: “How can it be my fault?” The older I get, the more I understand. I realize that youth was, and still is, my fault.
I am thankful for the Mothers I’ve known. They’ve nurtured me, inspired me, cheered for me and have even saved me. I am who I am because of them. Happy Mother’s Day, with love.