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.
I stepped out of the car, into the cool pine air. The ground crunched underfoot, a combination of dirt, stones, tree roots and leaves. What I’d missed most of all: the unhurried silence. My heartbeat slowed, I breathed deeper, I was home.
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.
On Friday, Ireland voted to allow same-sex marriage. 62 percent in favor, with over 60 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. That’s huge, especially when you consider Ireland’s reputation for religious observance. (Maybe that’s what tipped the scales? Worth thinking about, America. As one woman said, “We’re pro-family, so of course we voted in favor of same-sex marriage.”) I shed a few tears of joy, despite my own attitude toward marriage.
POEM: Opening Night
NEWS: God of Carnage
MOVIES: Going Clear
SOUND COLLAGE: Three.3
ESSAY: Struggling With Christianity
HUMOR: Sex Miseducation
MOVIES: The Commitments
SONG: Johnny B. Goode
MEMOIR: A Theatrical Romance