Wednesday, June 30, 2010


"In my end is my beginning."
~T.S. Eliot

And so our journey with "Annie Get Your Gun" comes to a close. What a great opportunity to rediscover a classic, and what a great way to make my debut with Goodspeed Musicals. Anybody who performs in musical theatre in this country knows the standard that Goodspeed represents, so to be invited to work here is truly a special honor and I have greatly enjoyed my time. I want to take this opportunity to give my thanks to our great director, Rob Ruggiero, the brilliant musical director Michael O'Flaherty and our talented choreographer Noah Racey; to the wonderful stage management team of Brad, Derek and Alicia, and their phenomenal crew, who bring so much heart and so much integrity to what they do; to Bill Thomas and our exceptional band who make eight musicians sound like a full orchestra! Thank you to Kristan and her splendid company management team! And heartfelt thanks to Mr. Michael Price, to Donna Lynn Hilton, and to Bob Alwine for producing such fine theatre and for inviting me to be a part of it all. And of course, much gratitude to Dave and Lucille Viola, our show's sponsors, who treated each of us like gold and who redefine the phrase "patrons of the arts."

From here I will get to enjoy my first summer in New York City in more than three years, and I am looking forward to being in my own space and planting out my first terrace garden. On July 19, I will participate in a very special reading of a brilliant play in Washington, DC; for various reasons I can't say much about that yet, but a full report will follow... On July 26, as I have announced previously, I will return to my classical roots and play Duke Theseus in the rarely produced Shakespeare and Fletcher classic, "The Two Noble Kinsmen." This is one in a series of "Bootleg Shakespeare" productions that my gifted friends at Taffety Punk Theatre Company mastermind. The company received the first ever emerging theatre award at DC's prestigious Helen Hayes Awards this year and they do exciting work; adding to the excitement is the venue for this production, the stage of the Folger Theatre, a gorgeous recreation of an Elizabethan playhouse in the historic Folger Shakespeare Library. Should be thrilling stuff, and of course, I will blog about the event.

In closing, I will say that every production I am a part of teaches me something new--about myself, about the work, about the virtues and foibles of all us human beings. I take away a couple of good friends who I hope will remain good friends; and there are one or two people to whom I genuinely wish good fortune and long life, but with whom I do not share the same values and sensibilities, something I deem essential if one is to use the word friendship. We managed to work together in an intense, fairly close environment for four months and to do our jobs to the best of our abilities and give the audience the best show possible. For that we must all walk away proud and with a sense of accomplishment. I want to give a shout out to the company of "Carnival!" and wish them all a splendid run in this charming theatre. I've no doubt they will bring great pleasure to the lucky audiences who will enjoy the fruits of their labors.

During my first weeks here, as I was exploring the small, charming towns that surround East Haddam, I ventured into a fancy ceramics shop in nearby Chester. The store sells brightly colored majolica style ceramics imported from Tuscany, and on one wall they displayed hand painted plaques portraying various Catholic saints. I enquired with them if they had one for St. Genesius. Now, I'm Jewish myself, but I rather like the idea of patron saints; special envoys dedicated to specific professions or fields of endeavor who accept special prayers.
St. Genesius is the patron saint of actors. His story is that he was an actor in ancient Rome and was hired to perform a propaganda play against Christianity for the Emperor. While he was enacting his role, which required him to reject a proffered baptism, an image of angels appeared to him and, essentially, he improvised a new script, declaring himself a Christian convert and asking to be baptized right there on stage. After the enraged Emperor had him tortured to force him to renounce his conversion, Genesius refused and was beheaded. I leave the Connecticut River Valley in possession of my new talisman commemorating brave St. Genesius. Hopefully, he will hear the prayers of an itinerant actor 'at liberty' in New York, and send me a great new opportunity.

Stay tuned for all the happenings to come in my little corner of the theatrical world, and best wishes for a grand Independence Day celebration and a glorious summer!!

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