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
On December 14, 2017, I sat in the second row mezzanine at Walter Kerr Theatre, about 60 feet from Bruce Springsteen. It was the closest I’d ever been, and the clearest I’d heard him over ten concerts I’ve attended. Unfortunately, it was my least favorite of his shows.
The Bible says, “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” I spent 48 years not seeing and yet believing. I’m done.
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.