Thursday, October 9, 2014

Even the Darkest Night Will End, and the Sun Will Rise…

At this writing, I am in my final week of “Les Misérables.”  What a fulfilling journey it has been, creating my own creepy, boorish Thénardier.  It’s a vastly satisfying part, shameless, dynamic—enhanced by the special relationship I forge with each audience—as repulsed as they may be, they can’t help but love me!  Who wouldn’t love that?

I am also proud of the fact that this has been the most successful production in Orlando Shakespeare Theater history.  Ticket sales at 96% capacity, excellent reviews, and the amazing reach we have had via the flash mob we performed of “One Day More” at the Mall at Millennia.  The major network morning shows featured the flash mob on Labor Day weekend, reaching millions of viewers, and the video has had nearly half a million views on YouTube.  If you haven't seen it yet, you can view it by clicking here!  Additionally, our participation in the annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fund drive has raised over $10,000 for people living with HIV and AIDS.  In every respect it has been a success.

I have made good friends amongst this positive and talented company of artists, and forged a new relationship with a new theatre.  OST gave me an opportunity to work with their interns and MFA students by teaching a Shakespeare text master class, and we had the opportunity to do talk backs and discussions with high school groups and musical theatre majors at University of Central Florida.  “Les Misérables” inspired me immeasurably when I was a college student, and I feel great pride in paying that forward.

Despite all the triumph and artistic satisfaction, this time in Orlando was shadowed by the death of my beloved father during our rehearsal period in August.  Donald G. Beaman died of complications from surgery at the age of 81.  A brilliant artist and set designer, he taught generations of theatre artists over his nearly three decades at Boston University.  He was also a scholar of ancient civilizations and universal symbolism, writing volumes on the subject, as well as designing and publishing his own Tarot card deck, The Tarot of Saqqara.  The inspiration he brought to my life and my work as an artist cannot be adequately measured.  I was helped so much in my time of loss by the kindness and generosity of my fellow artists here in this production, and the work itself was a source of solace in the midst of grief.  My father would have loved my performance in this role, and he would have approved of my turning to the work of theatre as a way through the process of coping with his passing.  And so, life moves forward.  If “Les Misérables” teaches us anything, it is about the endurance of the human spirit to survive and to find redemption.

For me, it is on to my next project!  For my final role in 2014, I will have the delight of playing Smee in the Pioneer Theatre Company production of the magical theatrical adventure, “Peter and the Starcatcher.”  This Tony-winning blend of theatre, music, and storytelling imagines how Peter Pan became Peter Pan, and how ‘Black Stache’ became the memorable villain we know as Captain Hook.  I am excited to do this fabulous piece, and to proudly make my fourth regional theatre debut of the year with this great company in Salt Lake City.  There is truly nothing like working at the holidays, enhancing the joy of the season and creating family memories for festive audiences.  Stay tuned for casting news and more as I venture into Neverland in November and December!

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