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.
A high school musical is a kind of miracle. Hundreds of people come together and work furiously for a few weeks to create something that didn’t exist before. Theater kids get it done.
This week, I’m preparing for my sixth musical at New Hartford High School, the third one entirely designed and run by a student crew. This is an abridged version of the letter I gave the crew, as they begin attending rehearsals.
We said our job was to raise a self-sufficient, contributing member of society; mission accomplished.
Recently, a friend ran into an old classmate, who said she remembered me from school. I looked her up on Facebook, and although the recent profile shot rang a bell, I couldn’t place her. That sent me back to a much earlier facebook, the 1987 FHS (Fairport, NY) Hourglass.
He awoke in the dark, instantly alert. Curious, he sat up and listened. The pale glow from the bedside clock blinked 3:48 am. The house was still; the neighborhood was quiet except for the rustle and last drips of rain through the trees and on the roof. Nothing else moved, but anticipation sparked the edges of his consciousness. What had called him?
I wish I’d seen La La Land a year ago. It would have made that moment at the end of the Academy Awards ceremony, when Faye Dunaway accidentally announced it had won Best Picture and the production team got up on stage and started making speeches and then it turned out Moonlight had actually won, so much sweeter.
I expect better movies will be made about the Obama years, but as one chapter in a first draft of history, The Final Year isn’t bad. If for no other reason, it silences the talking heads and lets us think for ourselves.
Then down my chimney did clamber
A gentleman quite portly
He saw my dram and asked for one
With manners oh so courtly