Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Finishing the Chat


"It started out like a song.
We started quiet and slow,
With no surprise.
And then one morning,
I woke to realize
We had a good thing going ..."
Stephen Sondheim

DAY 187:  I was doing a little web surfing in 2002 and typed in "www.sondheim.com" just for the fun of it.  After perusing the treasure trove of Sondheim information on the site, I glanced at its discussion forum/bulletin board called "Finishing the Chat" (a play on the song title "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George).  I "lurked" for quite some time ... that's Internet lingo for reading and watching without participating.  I was ASTOUNDED by the musical theatre knowledge of the people who were posting on the board.  I've always been considered kind of "the musical theatre encyclopedia" in my immediate circle of friends, but here were other folks whose knowledge in many cases FAR exceeded mine!  I summoned up the courage to "go public" on an Internet forum and started posting.

Eight years later, my Internet friends on FTC are some of my favorite people and I am SO grateful for them.  They live all over the country (Los Angeles, St. Louis, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Florida, Texas, NYC, and elsewhere) AND the world (such as Canada, South Africa, Norway, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and England).  It's an unusual bulletin board where personal information and discussion is as prevalent (often more so) than the "on topic" discussions (often "spirited disagreements" ;-) of Sondheim, theatre, and other art forms, such as current movies and TV.  They have supported me and congratulated me on theatre projects, given me generous and helpful personal advice, and consoled me during losses and disappointments.  For a year or two, these friends remained photographs and text on a computer screen.

Since then, I've been able to attend three in-person "gatherings" of the FTC gang in New York City, the most recent being this past weekend.  The FTC folks will often meet on the occasion of a new Sondheim production or special event.  For this meeting, there were THREE Sondheim productions playing simultaneously on Broadway - A Little Night Music, Anyone Can Whistle, and the new revue, Sondheim on Sondheim.  About 20 of us met for dinner on Friday night (a few of them in the picture above), prior to seeing A Little Night Music.  I had already met a number of them on previous visits, but there were many new faces as well.  We had a blast at dinner and I actually had the chance to "hang" with some of them later in the weekend, too, especially my friend, Connie, who I've met for dinner and lunch a number of times on my "home turf."

What a GREAT group of people ... thanks, my fellow Cookies!!

3 comments:

  1. It took this long for you to be grateful for us ! ;)

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  2. I am grateful for the board as well. I still love that article that was written about us when we went to see Donna in Pacific Overtures.

    Aileen

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  3. And we're grateful for your presence on FTC, Michael. See you in Ireland later on in the year.
    JimW

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