Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back to Before


"Smart or dumb ...
The dumb will predominate.
Fat or thin ...
The fat will predominate.
Lazy or not ...
The lazy will predominate."
William Finn

DAY 173:  In the fall of 2007, I followed the lead of my good friends, Staci and Shirley, and joined Jenny Craig.  By the spring of 2009 (after about a year and a half), I had lost 70 pounds and felt and looked GREAT!  Since then I've gained back a little more than half of it ... and I haven't been very happy with myself.

Time for some honesty ... When I lost the weight the first time, it wasn't for the right reason.  I felt that if I lost the weight, it would make me more attractive and I would finally find the relationship I had been looking for.  It wasn't about my health or MY self-esteem.  That was the mistake.  I did the online dating thing and went on a BUNCH of dates ... some I dated more than once.  None of them worked out and in my head I KNOW I was saying to myself, "What was the point of losing the weight?"  A year or so later, here's the result.

I recognize that now.  I know that the weight needs to come off, FOR GOOD, and FOR ME.  I remember how great it FELT to be healthy again and I feel very UNhealthy at the moment (even though I'm not nearly the weight I was and people think I still look pretty good).  I need to remember how scared I was during the cardiac catheterization.  I need to remember that my dad died at the age of 48.  It's important, and I need to take care of it.  As Staci reminded me last night ... "that food will never taste as good as being healthy and thin feels."

So ... I'm heading back to Jenny Craig again.  It's clear I haven't learned enough to do it on my own.  I NEED the structure.  I NEED the accountability of having to weigh in every week.  It's worth it and so am I.

I'm grateful for the opportunity to rejoin, lose that weight again, and KEEP IT OFF this time ... and for the RIGHT reasons!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

White


"White ... a blank page or canvas ..."
James Lapine

DAY 172:  Tonight I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of Yasmina Reza's brilliant play, ART.  I unfortunately missed the production when it was onstage at Players by-the-Sea Theatre (courtesy of Our Leading Lady).  It was interesting, however, to see the play performed at a local art museum given the subject and central device of the script.  The story concerns three metropolitan men who are best friends and the fireworks (and hidden issues) that erupt when one of them pays an ENORMOUS amount of money for an essentially WHITE painting.  It's a dazzling play, surprisingly translated from the French since it certainly doesn't sound like a translation and plays convincingly as an American piece.  Add to that some remarkable direction and outstanding acting ... a terrific night of theatre.

My friend and fellow playwright, David, and I discussed the play following the performance.  As writers, it's plays like this that SIMULTANEOUSLY make us want to give up writing (because we fear we'll never match it or write that well) AND inspire us to get working!!

I'm grateful for a delightful, exciting, hilarious, thought-provoking night of theatre!!  Thanks to the cast and crew of ART!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wide Open Spaces


"He's handsome!
He's tall!
That is, from side to side ..."
Sheldon Harnick

DAY 171: So, courtesy of my debt-free life at the moment, a paid-off NYC trip, and a healthy tax return, I have a little, shall we say, "discretionary cash" to throw around.  I decided to pick myself up a little gift yesterday ... a new 23" diagonal top-of-the-line wide-screen computer monitor.  It's particularly lovely for my computer games. That's my new baby above ... ain't she a beaut?

Next up (and before NYC next week), a new digital camera ... my old one's shot!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time in the World


"But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them ..."
Jim Croce

DAYS 168-170:  I'm grateful for a just-about-perfect weekend.  You know ... those weekends that have JUST the right mix of socializing, precious time for yourself, and errands and chores that need to be done.

Friday night was loads of fun with friends and a little bit of culture.  I met my buddies Josh and Staci (who will be the leads in my next production, too!) for dinner, then joined other theatre friends to watch a solid production of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten.  That was followed by a TERRIFIC night out with a group of seven theatre pals at a local Ale House ... I didn't get to bed until about 2:30 in the morning!

After sleeping in late on Saturday morning (as is my fashion), I met one of my dearest friends, Marcia, for some lunch, dish, dirt, and catching up.  I love spending time with her.  I spent most of the rest of the day doing errands - groceries, a load of laundry, grading some papers, and writing a test ... but it was all done at a very leisurely pace, and most of it while watching some DVR-ed TV shows and rented flicks.  The good news is that I finished ALL of my schoolwork.

Today began with some e-mails to Florida legislators about some dreadful bills up before the State Senate and House that threaten public school teachers.  It felt like I was doing my part by getting out the word and expressing my opinion as a voter.  That was followed by a thrilling, creative, brainstorming "working lunch" with my ultra-talented friend, Aaron.  She and I are working on a musical - the subject of which will remain a highly guarded secret.  We spent a good hour and a half tossing ideas back and forth ... really really exciting stuff.  On my way home, I picked up a new widescreen 23-inch-diagonal computer monitor and it looks WONDERFUL!  Tonight - it's time for myself, maybe a little gaming on my new monitor, and maybe even some lyric writing. 

It's back to school tomorrow morning knowing that there are only THREE DAYS of students before Planning Day on Thursday and the beginning of our 10-day Spring Break on Friday!

And it must've been a great weekend if it kept me from my blog for the past three days ...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Morning Glow


"Morning glow by your light
We can make the new day bright ..."
Stephen Schwartz

DAY 167:  It's absolutely amazing what a full eight-hours of sleep will do for you!  Now that I'm responsibility-free for the next month (at least in the evening ;-), I've been doing a lot of glorious relaxing at home.  Last night, I decided to hit the hay surprisingly early and this SOOOOO-NOT-A-MORNING person was bright and energetic from the moment he woke up.  I'm grateful for the morning burst of energy that allowed me to get an unusual amount of work done during my first period planning period today!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Movin' On Up


"Behold the hills of tomorrow!
Behold the limitless sky!
Fling wide the gates
To a world that waits!
As our journey starts,
Behold! Our hearts are high!"
Stephen Sondheim

DAY 166:  So, it's that time of year when we starting making course recommendations for our students for next school year.  I've been talking to my classes about the math courses I will be recommending for them.  Generally speaking, when a student is in a "Standard" track, he or she usually stays there ... it isn't typically common for many students placed in Standard classes to actually WANT to make the move to the Honors track after having been in the lower track for years.

HOWEVER ... I've had a surprising number of my Standard-level Algebra II students over the past couple of days ASK me to recommend them for the HIGHER math (Pre-Calculus)!  I don't know what to make of it OTHER than I've made them feel more comfortable and/or more successful with math, and they feel they are up to the challenge.  I think part of it may also be that this year I'M teaching some sections of that higher-level math that they're requesting, but even though I warn them that there is FAR from a guarantee of having me as a teacher next year, they still seem to want the class.  I'd like to think I've made the difference ...

I've had a somewhat similar experience with my recommendations for the Pre-Calculus kids.  I wasn't expecting them to all jump at taking AP Calculus next year (the highest possible option for them), but almost ALL of them have!

It's really GREAT to see kids WANTING to push themselves ... and I'm grateful for whatever part I played in that!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Good Medicine


"I have to laugh.
I have to love.
I have to live.
That's my trip."
Stephen Sondheim

DAY 165:  I'm grateful for my theatre friends who keep me laughing every step of the way, even when I'm ticked off or "under the weather"!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sir


"Little lamb, little lamb,
My birthday is here at last.
Little lamb, little lamb,
A birthday goes by so fast."
Stephen Sondheim

DAY 164:  Today "The Master" turns 80 ... the musical theatre TREASURES that Stephen Sondheim has penned are inspiring, haunting, and challenging masterworks.  There is no doubt that he holds this musical theatre connoisseur's HIGHEST position of respect.  In fact, I'll be seeing THREE Sondheim shows in a little over two weeks during my annual Spring trip to New York City.  And, ALSO in fact, I'll be meeting up with a LARGE group of dear online friends from all across the country (and world) whom I met through the community bulletin board (called "Finishing the Chat") on Sondheim.com.  But Mr. Sondheim and my Sondheim.com friends are subjects for blogs of their own at some point.  For now, I just want to say "Thank You" for your astounding scores and lyrics, Mr. Sondheim, and HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

PS ... It's also Sir Andrew's birthday today (turning 62), believe it or not, and except for a few of his early shows ... meh ... not so much ...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chillin'


"I'm free ... I'm free!
And freedom tastes of reality.
I'm free ... I'm free!
And I'm waiting for you to follow me."
Pete Townshend

DAY 163:  Now this is the life ... Our Leading Lady closed last night, by now the final Gilbert and Sullivan Chorale concert is finished, Parade rehearsals don't start until April 25, and I haven't left my house all day long (and don't intend to).  To top it all off, I have NO evening commitments ALL WEEK LONG (except for seeing a play Friday night), no afterschool appointments this week other than tutoring on Tuesday, Spring Break starts in less than two weeks, and my Spring trip to NYC is less than three weeks away!  Ahhhhhh ...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gifts


"From your Little Troupe
of Embattled Clowns
2010"
The Cast and Crew of Our Leading Lady
(and Charles Busch ;-)

DAY 162:  In a few hours, I'll be heading out to grab dinner with friends and then spend one final evening with my crazy gang from Ford's Theatre.  Closing night and time to put another show "to bed."  I haven't watched the entire show since Opening Night two weeks ago.  I'm intrigued to see how the show has grown and developed over the three-week run ... I've said it before and I'll say it again, Our Leading Lady has been a delight from beginning to end ... not only one of my EASIEST shows to direct and produce, but also a product of which I am so VERY VERY proud.

I spent a LATE evening last night with the cast and crew at a terrific post-show party.  It was a BLAST and was topped off by a game called "Apples to Apples," that had me laughing so hard I was crying.  Trust me, it would be a little hard to explain ... it was definitely one of those "you had to be there" moments.

During the evening, the cast and crew gave me the extraordinarily BEAUTIFUL gift in the picture above ... a silver drinking flask with the engraved inscription "From your Little Troupe of Embattled Clowns 2010" (a drinking flask is a prominent prop in the show and the inscription is drawn from our most-quoted line).  I was deeply touched, but I'm even more grateful for the other gifts this show has given me, not the least of which is an amazing group of talented and generous people, many of whom have become such dear friends and will remain so.  Thank you for everything ... it's been a terrific ride ...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Top of the World


"I'm on the top of the world,
Lookin' down on creation,
And the only explanation I can find
Is the love that I've found
Ever since you've been around ...
Your love's put me at the top of the world."
The Carpenters

DAY 161:  A moment of sheer HORROR in class today ...

I said today, in the course of a lesson, "and we've only just begun."  Now, you must understand that virtually EVERYTHING coming out of my mouth is a song cue in one way or another.  So you KNOW I started singing "such a feelin's comin' over me, there is wonder in most everything I see ..."  It was met with BLANK looks.  "Are you serious?  You don't know that song?  Do you even know who the Carpenters ARE?"  BLANK looks.  "Top of the World?  Rainy Days and Mondays?  Close to You?"  BLANK looks.  It's enough to make a grown man break down in heart-wrenching sobs.

So, I'm going to do my best to move past the tragedy that is today's youth, and express my SINCERE GRATITUDE for the WONDER of Karen and Richard's music - a family which, by the way, grew up not very far from my Connecticut home town!  In fact, they were born in New Haven, CT, just like me!!

In fact, in celebration, I'm going to turn on my Carpenters iTunes playlist RIGHT NOW!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Love a Parade


"I go to fight for these old hills behind me -
These Old Red Hills of Home.
I go to fight, for these old hills remind me
Of a way of life that's pure,
Of the truth that must endure ..."
Jason Robert Brown

DAY 160:  I'm still seeking out some additional ensemble members, but the cast of Parade is set and it's a STELLAR group.  Although the turnout for the audition was smaller than anticipated, the folks that came out were strong, talented, and perfect for the roles.  I'm tremendously happy with and grateful for this cast ... I can't wait to get started!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm Alive!


"I feel groggy, and weary, and tragic,
Punchy and bleary, and fresh out of magic,
But alive, but alive, but alive!
I feel twitchy, and bitchy, and manic,
Calm and collected, and choking with panic,
But alive, but alive, but alive!"
Lee Adams

DAYS 157-159:  The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated ...

What a few days it has been, but I am happy and GRATEFUL to report that I'm back.  I haven't posted since Sunday morning ... since then I've been EXHAUSTINGLY busy. 
 
I spent most of the day Sunday anxiously fretting over the auditions for Parade that evening.  The auditions went well, though the turnout wasn't QUITE as large as expected.  They did, however, take nearly SIX HOURS.  I wasn't in bed until nearly 1 a.m. on Monday morning.  It'll be a post for another day, I suppose, but we managed to get a TERRIFIC cast for the show (though we have a few more spots to fill). 
 
After my first comatose workday on Monday, I would've LOVED to go home, relax the rest of the evening, and go to bed early.  Unfortunately, I had yet ANOTHER rehearsal to attend to ... the final rehearsal for the Orange Park Chorale's Gilbert and Sullivan concert that I staged.  I also spent a large part of the day in e-mail exchanges concerning roles left to be cast in Parade.
 
I was ZOMBIE DEAD on my feet all day yesterday.  I don't quite recall the last time I felt quite THAT tired ... running on fumes.  However, it was a FREE EVENING!  Except for the pleasure of calling all the people who had been cast in Parade, I did absolutely nothing other than sit in my recliner and watch some DVR-ed TV shows that I had missed the past few days.
 
Bottom line ... I feel like a living, breathing human being again ... refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face the day!  And the good news is ... NO REHEARSALS for ANYTHING for at least another month!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bravo


"Bravo, bravo, bravissimo,
Bravo, bravissimo!"
Marshall Barer

DAY 156:  Wonderful messages about Our Leading Lady continue to arrive in my "mailbox" and on Facebook pages.  I am so proud that this play and performance that I love so much is bringing such joy and happiness to audience members.  Today I received a beautiful note from my friend, Evan, who saw the show last night.  It's particularly important to me when my theatre friends ... the ones who truly know and "get" theatre ... love the show.  I hope he doesn't mind if I repeat some of his message here.  Thanks, Evan!!

"I know a performance had an impact on me when I wake up the next morning thinking about it. The acting was just superb; the nuances and subtleties and (most important, to me) the great use of ensemble. They were having so much fun on stage working with each other that the audience couldn't help but come along for the ride. The sets, costumes, the props ... were all amazing.

Having only seen two of your plays (but experiencing one of them intimately), I think I sense a pattern. It's very obvious that you had a strong vision of the final product before the play ever started rehearsing. But it's also evident that the actors felt organically involved. They weren't just moving around on stage to blocking, performing lines from a script. They WERE those characters, living out those experiences right in front of our eyes. And we couldn't help but watch their every move ..."

OH ... and Parade auditions are this evening ... gulp!  But, I'm as ready as I'll EVER be!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Orderly World


"Made of light I project
My orderly world.
Full of sounds I select
My orderly world.
From a grain on a beach
And the atoms within,
To the stars out of reach
That for me alone spin.
Ev'ry part of the whole,
Imagined or real:
Mine to chart, to control,
To choose to reveal."
David Spencer

DAY 155:  I keep extensive "To Do Lists."  My books, DVDs, and CDs are arranged alphabetically on my shelves.  Everything in its place and a place for everything ... filed, categorized.  Anal retentive?  Sure.  A bit obsessive compulsive?  In some things (just ignore the layer of dust on that shelf of books ...).

It's certainly not debilitating. In fact, it's a personal characteristic that I'm proud of and that many hold in rather high regard.  My world can be a bit controlled, but I feel comfortable that way.  It sometimes keeps me from being spontaneous or going "with the flow" when it's not in "the plan," but that's something I'm always working on and it's something that I find gets easier as I get older.  And it's often struck me that when I find that "someone" who will win my heart, I suspect it's going to be the person that can make my world a little more surprising, spontaneous, and ... gasp ... disorderly.

On the lighter side, it provides my friends, students, and co-workers a ready source of amusement - just slightly change the alignment or position of items on my desk and see how long it takes Lipp to realize it.  Chuckle, hee hee ...

So ... I'm grateful for my organizational ability.  It's hitting home today because tomorrow night are the auditions for my next directorial gig, the musical Parade.  We're expecting a HUGE turnout and I know it's only through my organization and planning that those auditions will run like clockwork.  It makes them feel FAR less daunting and scary ... so ... back to work!

PS  The phrase "anal retentive" does have a hyphen in it, but only when it's used as an adjective.

Friday, March 12, 2010

No Doubt About It


"When life's all meager scraps,
Don't you use lose heart, sir.
Drop that cleaver,
Grab the old taps, and perhaps
You'll land a meaty part, sir!"
Lynn Ahrens

DAY 154:  About a year and a half ago, I had the incredible opportunity to perform the role of Father Flynn in the play Doubt.  It was a remarkable experience playing a leading role for a change ... prior to this show I was stereotypically cast as the plump lovable loser (Charlie Brown, Horton the Elephant, and others).  This show came at a time when I had shed a LOT of weight and I took the chance of auditioning for the role.  I will be forever grateful to Barbara Evans, Joe Schwarz, and Players by-the-Sea for casting me in this amazing part.

I'm writing about this now because I finally got the chance to watch a little bit of the production on DVD.  The theatre had trouble locating a copy of the DVD recording, but Joe finally found one and handed it off to me last night.  No actor enjoys watching himself perform on DVD, particularly filmed stage productions.  They NEVER capture the live experience or performance.  I was only able to stand myself for a few moments, fast forwarding to the more "explosive" scenes in the play.  But it was GREAT to see the "thinnest" me ... I've put a bit back on and I REALLY needed to see that I looked pretty danged good in that black priest garb.  I SO need to re-shed those pounds!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The State of the Art


"Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part ... 
Having just a vision's no solution,
Everything depends on execution.
Putting it together, that's what counts!
Stephen Sondheim

DAY 153: I just got home from our very first production meeting for the musical Parade, for which we have auditions on Sunday.  The show won't start regular rehearsals until late April and doesn't even open until mid-July, but we've ALREADY got amazing ideas for the production and set design.  I'm SO thrilled and SO excited about our plans that I can hardly wait to get started!!  Much more to follow, I'm sure ... THANKS, Lee!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunshine Day


"I think I'll go for a walk outside now.
The summer sun's callin' my name.
(I hear ya now)
I just can't stay inside all day,
I gotta get out, get me some of those rays.
Everybody's smilin' -
Sunshine day."
Steve McCarthy

DAY 152:  OK ... so I couldn't help the picture and the lyrics.  I was 12 when this song bopped on to the small screen, sung by that fabulous bunch of Bradys.  It actually ran through my head today as I was driving home with all of my car windows ROLLED DOWN.  It was a balmy 72 degrees with cloudless sunshine ... just a beautiful afternoon!

It also helped that the drive followed a VERY easy day of four hours of FCAT proctoring, a planning period, and only ONE HOUR of teaching (that the kids actually picked up rather easily).  AND ... it's been followed by a COMPLETELY FREE weeknight at home.  I was in my "jammies" by 5 p.m., ready to relax in front of the DVR for the rest of the evening.

After posting a blog entry, of course ... :-)  'Night!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clipping


"It's better than pot,
It's better than booze,
A shot of applause
Will stamp out the blues."
Lee Adams

DAY 151:  A lovely review today in Entertaining U Jacksonville ... thanks, Dick!  SO proud of this show ... looking forward to seeing it again on Closing Night!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Word of Mouth


"Listen to that!
Did you listen to that?
Do you know what that means?
Let me tell you what that means —
Wait, no, anyone who even thinks it,
Don't say it, you'll jinx it —"
Stephen Sondheim
 
DAY 150:  Well, the "reviews" are in ... well, word-of-mouth ones anyway.  It's almost unanimous praise for Our Leading Lady.  I've heard from LOTS of folks who saw the show during Opening Weekend, and all but one or two have raved and told me how much they liked it.  This includes many of my most critical and honest theatre friends (and Charles Busch lovers!) who would tell me exactly what they thought if they hadn't cared for it (in a tactful and friendly way, of course :-).  Even my biggest critic, my MOTHER, who doesn't pull ANY punches saying what she thinks, really enjoyed it.  Most of these folks commented on how unusual a show it is - a HYSTERICAL first act and a mostly SERIOUS second act - but many of them, like me, find that fascinating about this script. 
 
It's particularly thrilling for me because I've had a really GREAT time putting this show together and I'm so VERY proud of the product.  I'm grateful for all of the support and ALL the positive feedback!  Two weekends left if you haven't had the chance to see the show! 
 
PS ... I couldn't pass up the penguin taking a bow ... ;-)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's Lovely Up Here


"Come up and see the good we're giving.
Come up and see the grounds for living.
Come poke your head out,
Open up and spread out,
Hurry it's lovely here!"
Alan Jay Lerner
 
DAY 149:  Ahhhh ... a free Sunday, without a care, all the chores finished, nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the beautiful weather (sunny and in the 60's).  It seems we've broken through the cold snap with temperatures forecast to be around 70 (my FAVORITE temperature) for the foreseeable future. 
 
I love the picture, too ... reminds me of the glorious days in college when you could just lie out on the quad and read - boy, do I miss those times.  But, I'm grateful for this lovely, restful, THEATRE-LESS day ... the first of many until I start serious rehearsals for Parade in a couple of months. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Father to Son


"Father to son, I for one would take love slower.
I've made my choice.  You can sing a different song.
Watch, as you sing, how your voice gets much lower.
You'll be, kid, a man, kid, whatever the song.
Sing for yourself as we march along."
William Finn

DAY 148:  I just realized that my father would have been 73 today (that's he and my Mom in the picture above).  He passed away in 1985 from congestive heart failure at the age of 48.  I was only 24 at the time and had JUST started teaching my first year at the newly-opened Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (though it was actually my second year of teaching).

I never really "connected" with my father.  My brother was always much closer to him.  We didn't have a "bad" relationship, it was just rather distant.  Most of my family, including my Mom and brother, would probably tell you it's because we were SO much alike, and I think I've gotten MUCH more like Dad as I've grown older.  I often regret that my Dad never got the opportunity to know the man that I've become ... I'd like to think he'd be very proud.  There were things he never knew about me (one rather significant one, in fact), and I've often asked my Mom how she thinks he would've reacted.  I believe that she's right when she tells me he would have been supportive no matter what.

I'm grateful for my Dad for two reasons ... one, he had a hand in creating the kind, generous, loving, sensitive, intelligent, competent, productive, accomplished, and respected man that I am today.  And he and my Mom did a great job with my brother, too.  Second, his death always serves as a reminder to me that I need to watch my health VERY carefully.  I inherited a number of his health issues (including heart problems) and, though I've now outlived him by a year and I have access to medical care and medications that he did not have, I know I must do my best to eat properly and exercise.  I want to live a long full life and not leave this world at such a young age.  I've let my diet and exercise slide over the past year or so ... and theatre can be an EXCELLENT excuse.  But it IS an excuse and I need to get back on the program. 

Thanks, Dad, for the reminder ... and Happy Birthday.  Love, Your Son.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Children and Art


"Everything's right, this is the night -
Love hits you right where you're at 
'Cuz you've had a taste of
The sound that says love ...
Applause! Applause! Applause!"
Lee Adams

DAYS 144-147: I suppose it's like raising a child ... there comes a point when you have to "let go." The child has become an adult - someone bigger than the sum of his or her parts, someone who has developed a distinct personality that is beyond the direction, advice, and nurturing you have provided as a parent. It's bittersweet but, as a director "letting go" of his play as it begins its run, it's mostly sweet.

Two nights ago as I watched the final dress rehearsal without an audience, I experienced that magical moment of recognition when a show has moved well beyond my direction and has taken on a life of its own.  My work here ... is finished ... and I have little trouble with "giving" the show to the performers and the crew.  It belongs to them now ... as does all the enthusiastic applause that they will CERTAINLY receive during the three-week run.

Our Leading Lady has been a REMARKABLY easy play to design, rehearse, and put together.  It has been a conflict and crisis-free rehearsal period and all of the parts have come together smoothly with such a BEAUTIFUL result.  Even Production Week has HARDLY been the "Hell Week" that most directors, actors, and technicians dread.  The costumes are gorgeous, the set and lighting designs are clever, functional, and visually lovely, and the technical aspects of the show are fluid and efficient.  And the performances of the actors are JUST as strong, courageous, and loving ... With all modesty aside, it's a FABULOUS show and I am VERY PROUD of the final product.

I am EXTREMELY grateful to all the people (actors, designers, technicians, crew, theatre staff) who have made this experience one of the easiest and most fulfilling directing jobs I've ever had.  Have a FANTASTIC run, my friends, and you more than deserve all of that thunderous "sound that says love" that I know you will hear as the curtain comes down each night.

Monday, March 1, 2010

It Don't Make Sense


"No, it don't make sense to me
To put her in the cold and lonely ground.
And no, it don't make sense
The way the world can let you fall ...
I swear it don't make sense to me at all."
Jason Robert Brown

DAY 143:  I hadn't seen Bonnie in probably close to 30 years.  Our families have been longtime friends since Bonnie's mother worked with my father.  She and her older sister grew up in the same small Connecticut town as my brother and I.  We lived right down the street from one another and went to the same high school, where Bonnie was one year ahead of me.  No, I hadn't seen Bonnie in decades, though we would always visit her Mom when we took a trip home to Connecticut.  Tragically, I won't be able to bridge those years and see Bonnie again ...

Last Thursday night, something terrible happened - something so incomprehensible that I'm still having some difficulty wrapping my mind around it.  Perhaps it's just so awful that it CAN'T be comprehended.  Bonnie apparently had a very turbulent marriage and had only months ago filed for divorce.  There was a history of protective restraining orders that her husband continually violated, with only small fines as punishment.  Last Thursday night, she called 911 as her husband broke into her home ... the line went dead and when the police arrived on the scene, they found Bonnie, who had been stabbed repeatedly.  She lived long enough to name her attacker and identify his car, and they later found him after he reportedly attempted to take his own life.  Bonnie was 51 and they had no children.

It's really really really hard to find ANYTHING to be grateful for in this situation.  I've wondered much of the day how I can possibly begin to express sympathy for grief that can't be explained and certainly can't be consoled, particularly from a great distance.  In fact, the wake is occurring right now as I write this.  I'm not a religious person, so it's hard for me to say "she's in a better place."  Given the circumstances, I don't think it's a fair statement for a woman whose life was cut brutally short.  So, I'm going to hang on to the gratitude that Bonnie lived long enough to name her murderer and that her husband did not succeed in taking his own life.  I'm liberal in many areas, but criminal justice has NEVER been one of them.  I am grateful that he has survived to face justice and is put away for as long as humanly possible for this horrific act.