As Judas, Brandon Victor Dixon was simply fantastic. The only capable actor among the principals, Dixon sang beautifully, interpreting the material instead of painting by numbers. He brought unpredictability and riveting vitality to the production, and made it seem effortless. He pulled me to my feet several times, my internal 16 year-old pumping his fist and lip-syncing with the TV.

This weekend, New Hartford High School is performing Guys and Dolls. I advocated for the show, and I’ve been pleased with the process. My lighting students are doing next-level work, and for the first time I have two students on the fly rail. The set is really amazing – I expect applause when it is revealed during the overture. This will also be my daughter’s final effort as student stage manager; in all likelihood, the last time we’ll work together as creative peers on a show.

My favorite moments in theater are when I’ve been caught off guard by a performance, or was surprised to love a piece I hadn’t expected to. Director Nick Abounader and company pulled off something close to theatrical alchemy with their recent production at Players of Utica, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: the ensemble was so in sync with the material and each other that the whole thing became gloriously more than its parts.