I OBJECT(ify) … #2ndSundayInJune … part two

UPDATE 6PM – CBS has pulled the Audra acceptance speech from YouTube so it’s blank. REALLY? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK? Like people WANTING TO WATCH A CLIP FROM THE TONYS IS A BAD THING? Every day I am more and more convinced that PRACTICALLY everyone in the entire world is an ASSHOLE — and DEFINITELY every corporation — now that the Republican Supreme Court said they were “people” — definitely ASSHOLES.

Your intrepid cultural critic had been confused about how The Bridges of Madison County had NOT gotten a Best Musical Tony nod, nor a number on broadcast, and why Zachary Quinto was not nominated for The Glass Menagerie; and then, it was announced that Clint Eastwood — a Romney supporter and Republican — was going to present on the Tony Awards, and it all became horrifyingly clear, and terrifying — I was ablaze and achill (yes, dichotomy that) with terror — and, sadly, I was right to be afraid … very afraid. I’m sharing it and trying not to go TOO Theatre-Queen-Bitchy — but, uhm…DID YOU WATCH?

Well that was … confusing. And wonderful. And … CONFUSING. And, of course, FABULOUS. And … confusing.

I speak, of course, of the Tony Awards. At the risk of having my #TheatreGeekSuperbowl credentials withdrawn, I must confess that I have never been in the Hugh Jackman worshipper camp, and, worse, I have never gotten what it was that people so loved about Les Miserables. And Hugh in the film … well, okay, look, I don’t want to be too theatre-bitchy-queeny here. I will leave that to others, lord knows last night’s broadcast has supplied months’ worth of material — albeit a cheap sort of polyester blend that sucks up body odor and stains easily. What a dump.

However; there were highlights. Audra McDonald winning her record breaking sixth, and being the first to win in in all four acting categories, and her beautiful reaction, not to mention the beautiful reactions of her husband, daughter, and mother. Gorgeous. Touching. Lovely. Watch it:

And here is what she won for …

Harris NPH Tony 2014Kind of fabulous. Speaking of fabulous, very sweet, touching, fated and fair that Mr. Neil Patrick Harris won for his turn as Hedwig. I loved the pre-show pics his camp Tweeted of he and David Burtka getting ready for the broadcast. Besides being wonderfully talented and courageous and funny, Mr. Harris seems to genuinely, passionately love his family, his work, and the life he has made. Good for him. Good for us. Now, your kids will not be the ONLY one happy when you leave behind the eight-shows-a-week grind and return as host of the Tony Awards. You were SORELY missed.

But I promised I wouldn’t, so, I won’t. Another FABULOUS moment I enjoyed, Mr. Quinto and Mr. Bomer appearing together on stage. It was like the ideal gay couple, two uber-beauties of great talent. If they are the product of Carnegie-Mellon, I — for the first time in my life — am considBomer Quinto screenshotering a visit to Pittsburgh. WOW. And, here’s the thing, a dear friend of mine met Mr. Quinto in NYC when she went to see The Glass Menagerie (he was robbed, by the way, not being nominated) and had a bowl of soup with him, pre-matinee. Now, follow me, Mr. Quinto used to date Jonathan Groff, with whom, we can presume, he spent time naked. Mr. Groff, later, filmed the HBO series, Looking, in which he spent time naked with my future husband, Russell Tovey. THUS, my dear A having soup with Mr. Q, puts me at 3 degrees of separation from my future husband, Russell Tovey! HOW FREAKING EXCITING IS THAT?

Tovey, Russell Mar 2014 asstovey, russell tweet

And, speaking of amazing: Mr. Jason Robert Brown wins the Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for his musical, The Bridges of Madison County. A musical by one of the greatest living writers of musical theatre, a musical with the best score and orchestrations is SOMEHOW not nominated for best musical, both awards are presented during commercial breaks, and instead of a song from that show we get one from Sting’s yet to be presented musical and one from yet-to-be-produced Finding Neverland, and some WHAT-THE-FUCK rap version of The Music Man? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?  Some team of producers, somewhere, is smoking crack, or, in the interest of equal opportunity, they hired straight men to write the broadcast?

AND WHILE ALL THAT WAS AWFUL ENOUGH … (warning- BITCHY THEATRE QUEEN ALERT) … how in the hell did the transcendent goddess, Kelli O’Hara, once again get denied the Tony Award she so richly deserves? I am gob-smacked. Flabbergasted. Appalled. Horrified. Disgusted. Furious. All I can think, again, is that old, heterosexual white men who vote Republican were mistakenly given the vote (which explains Clint Eastwood being on the Tony Awards — CLINT FUCKING EASTWOOD? REALLY?) and so knew who Carole King was because they spent their youths trying to get laid by playing Tapestry  for co-eds.

LOOK:

WHATEVER. By that point, my promise not to drink more than one glass of wine was — understandably — broken. I mean, alcohol was the only logical relief for such an egregious oversight and dis of all that is Broadway. SO, yes, hooray for Audra and NPH and the awards given to Mr. Jason Robert Brown, but big-loud-picketing boos for the lack of respect given to Bridges and BIG FISH – I mean, NOT ONE NOMINATION?

So, well, joy and sadness, great excitement and great disappointment — kind of like dating, and life, right? All I know is, if last night didn’t get me to start smoking again, nothing will. I OBJECT!

Speaking of which, this is supposed to be an I OBJECT(IFY) post and so must include an almost naked man … luckily Harry Styles was Tweeted almost nude by a cousin … I don’t know about you, but I never hung out without pants around my cousins … maybe I needed better cousins? LOL.

Styles, Harry

I know, I should stick to objectifying Russell, after all, we are engaged to be married — when I’m finally committed … to an asylum somewhere.

Tovey, Russell Mar 2014 2

Tovey, Russell Jan 2014

Tovey, Groff Looking 5

Tovey, Groff Looking 4

Tovey, Groff Looking 3

Tovey, Groff Looking 2

Tovey, Groff Looking 1

Looking 5

My lover, Russell Tovey, after one more satisfying and exhausting session of passionate sex

My lover, Russell Tovey, after one more satisfying and exhausting session of passionate sex

My BOYFRIEND, Russell Tovey

My BOYFRIEND, Russell Tovey

My HUSBAND, Russell Tovey

My HUSBAND, Russell Tovey

 

 

The Tony Awards …Bridges of Madison County and Big Fish

Usually, The Tony Awards are one of the highlights of my year. This year, I am a little torn. I honor all the nominees and take nothing from any of them — I worship their dedication and work, but I am horrified by the fact that BIG FISH received no nominations and THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY did not receive a Best Musical nomination and that both have already closed. My trips to both of those musicals were amazing, glorious, emotional roller coasters of great joy and intense feeling. I am further horrified that there is no performance from Bridges scheduled for telecast when it has a Best Score nomination and will likely win that. And if there is ANY justice in the world, Kelli O’Hara will finally win Best Actress in a Musical.  I am NOT dissing Steven Pasquale — and would get all high dudgeon about his not be being nominated, but, confession, I saw his understudy who was MIND-FUCKINGLY-AMAZING as well, so I can only imagine Mr. Pasquale was also brilliant — and I mean, would Laura Benanti, the goddess of musical theatre, have married him if he wasn’t amazing? I think not — now listen:

 

 

THEATRE REVIEWS: “Mothers and Sons”

mothers and sons marqueeMothers and Sons, by Terrence McNally, starring Tyne Daly, Frederick Weller, Bobby Steggert, Grayson Taylor, at The Golden Theatre [CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL SHOW SITE AND TICKETS]

Full disclosure: (Why can’t I ever write a review without a Full Disclosure?) Bobby Steggert is from my home town, where I still (again) live, Frederick, Maryland and though he and I never worked together — which is some sort of weird miracle – I taught virtually everyone in his age group and cohort while he lived here, we shared a singing teacher, and some of my best friends and dearest children are his actual friends though we were never introduced prior to this weekend after I saw this show.

I have long loved the work of Terrence McNally and Tyne Daly, so when it came time to choose shows for my birthday wish list, Mothers and Sons was a no brainer. From the moment the curtain rose, exposing a beautiful New York apartment and Tyne Daly as Katharine, wrapped in the armor of her second-hand, full length fur and Frederick Weller as Cal, wearing clothes and mien that communicated without question that he had not been expecting any visitors, this one in particular, I was riveted by the artistry and construction of this piece of theatre — No, not just theatre, but, even more importantly, History. Capital H, History.

Long story short, Katharine is the mother of Cal’s deceased lover, the son she never fully accepted. Cal is now married to the fifteen years younger Will and they have a son. Katharine, recently widowed, has ostensibly come to return to Cal her dead son’s journal that Cal long ago sent to her, a journal neither has yet read. But there is, of course, much more going on, and much more at stake.

I know (and hope) that it will someday soon be inconceivable to people, both gay and straight, what it was like to be a gay man during the 20th century — specifically the 1960’s through the early 2000’s — and I fervently pray that some day the ways we define and limit people by gender and the gender of those to whom they are attracted is a distant memory. I am the sort of Pollyanna who wants to think that we will achieve a Utopian world in which gender race age religion size etcetera will be details that have nothing to do with how we are seen or what we are allowed, that the ONLY thing that will matter is the quality of one’s soul. I want to think that.

But it isn’t so now and it certainly wasn’t so in recent history. And being a gay man and living through the age of AIDS (which, by the way, isn’t over yet) and the indignities and the hate and the perfectly legal and — even — expected and accepted by the mainstream discrimination was a horror from which I do not expect ever to actually recover.

And I certainly won’t forget it. And the generations to come should not forget it either. We need to know the history. When Cal speaks McNally’s words about the horrors of AIDS and having been gay during that era some day being a quaint footnote in history books, I sobbed without shame. I sobbed because — like Cal and his dead lover, I too fought a fight the details of which will never be known. I spent my life changing minds one by one, and in the middle of it had to spend years in fear that who I loved, how I loved, might have been a death sentence, watching my peers and my cohort die and watching as government did NOTHING for YEARS to ease the ache, the pain, nothing to stop the disease.

Attention — as another playwright once said — must be paid. Mr. McNally pays it, in spades, and without polemic or lecture or judgment. He tells a story that tells the story. And Katharine is not unlike many people I have known, basically good, decent, loving people whose fear and ignorance caused them to be cruel, to offer silence where they ought to have offered love, who thought they had the right to judge and sometimes, even, the obligation to judge.

The world is still full of Katharines. And we do ourselves no favors — we who have been judged because of our genders ages colors religions sexualities and labels ad infinitum — by hating Katharines. We must strive NOT to judge as they have, but, rather, to understand. Not to be silent and accept their ignorance or hate, but to see beyond it, to change minds with love.

Mr. McNally does so with his work. I honor him and his journey and his experience and the ways in which he has shared it with us.

Mothers and Sons John Golden Theatre

Bobby Steggert, Grayson Taylor, Frederick Weller, Terrence McNally, Tyne Daly

As for this production, I stopped weeping long and often enough to laugh and appreciate it. Funny. Touching. Well wrought and constructed. Tyne Daly is a glorious presence, her eyes transparent screens to her soul. She plays a woman who might be called despicable and makes you want to embrace her, and yet Ms. Daly does not pander nor soften the sharp, unloving edges of the character, she simply reveals in moments of such clarity and insight this woman’s fear and loneliness and anger that she has never, herself, been seen.

Frederick Weller was me in many ways. An older gay man, still enmeshed in what it was and how it was before, amazed and abashed and astonished at how it is now, and still not quite sure in which of those worlds he really belongs. I thought the manner in which he radiated his love for the younger Will, and his surprise at that love, and his gratitude, and yet his reticence to really believe it, somehow still connected to what was, was simply brilliant and lovely and sad and moving.

And Mr. Steggert, well, yes. He was. He simply and truly was. That he was playing a novelist with no novel yet, ha, that was enough for me. On top of that he managed, somehow, to radiate the energy of a younger gay man who is impatient with the past, with the history, but still, a little in love with it — well, he turned what could have been a caricature — a role that might have come off in lesser hands as a symbol rather than a person — into a living, breathing, I would like to marry him too human being. Lovely work. (Let me add that I also had the honor of seeing Mr. Steggert on the closing night of Big Fish in which he was equally marvelous. Believe me, if you lived in Frederick, as do I, you would be bursting with pride — and you — unlike me, did NOT get to see Mr. Steggert as Joseph many years ago in that Lloyd Webber Dreamcoat thing. So, there!)

In short — though not so short, really — I laughed, I cried, I recognized, I gasped, I argued along, I grasped at the hope, I saw the past, I envisioned the future, I thought, I remembered, I experienced along with Cal and Will and Katharine and Bud (the son) all the ups and downs and ins and outs that Katharine’s visit brought about.

Katharine, mother of Andre. Because, in the end, we must all find those who see us not just as someone’s mother or son or lover or any other label-ed thing, but, indeed, as someone with a name.

We must all be seen and have our names spoken to us, with love, with appreciation of who we are.

I am Charlie. And here I am, going. Thank you for reading me.

Please, go see this play.

 

 

Theatre Reviews: “Bridges of Madison County”

bridges marqueeThe Bridges of Madison County, Book by Marsha Norman, Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown, Directed by Bartlett Sher, Starring Kelli O’Hara and Kevin Kern at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. [CLICK HERE FOR OFFICIAL SITE AND TICKETS]

 

 

Watch this.

 

Fair and full disclosure: I think Jason Robert Brown is an under-appreciated genius. If the world were in any way fair, the arrival of a new musical by Mr. Brown would occasion the fireworks and media coverage akin to a SuperBowl or  summer blockbuster super-hero film. He would be heralded and showered with accolades and his songs would be heard everywhere, twenty-four hours a day. His music is never less than stunning, its melodies and leaps both surprising and inevitable, completely new and still speaking a soul language that is ancient, and those lyrics; holy mother of all that is holy, those lyrics so breathtakingly – make – you – gasp truthful that it is clear he is channeling the pain and love and light from the universal heart and soul of experience we all share. He is ridiculously brilliant, prodigiously gifted, a blessing.

I defy you to listen to the following song without being moved, without wanting to see this musical with its score full of such glorious, soaring, romantic, achingly true and beautiful songs. Listen:

jason robert brown

Jason Robert Brown, Kelli O’Hara, Steven Pasquale – opening ight of Bridges, photo by Bruce Glikas at Broadway.com

And Kelli O’Hara isn’t bad either. That voice. That acting. That (here I go again) truth. There was so much honesty in her performance, so much depth of fearless feeling. And, THAT VOICE. I am not usually a fan of sopranos but THAT VOICE. Her opening aria, To Build A House, very nearly brought down the house in which we all sat. The music soars and dips and builds and teases and tells us where she’s been and how she got there and where we are going and during the course of such a beautiful delivery of such a brilliant song we, the audience, are given the additional gift of glorious staging by a fantastic and committed ensemble on a phenomenally suggestive yet simple set that is stunningly lit.

I knew that I would love the music, but I had no idea how much I would adore and admire and marvel at everything in this show. The direction is fantastically evocative of what it is to live in a small town, what it is to love an impossible love, what it is to surrender that love because it would hurt others, and what it is to love beyond reason, outside of reality, and, too, to lose that love, to lose other loves, to lose one’s own self in the choices one has made.

And, holy crap, was I pissed when I got my program and it informed me that Steven Pasquale was out? Well, yes and no — full disclosure again — I have LONG been stalking Laura Benanti, and I’d been feeling guilty that I was going to see her ex-husband in a show. So, I didn’t. I saw Kevin Kern — who is, forgive me, NOT an understudy, but, rather, the standby — and if Mr. Pasquale is any better an actor, any better a singer, any better looking in a pair of tight jeans and shirtless, any sexier with Kelli O’Hara — well then, it is a good thing I missed him, because as it was, by the time he was done singing his first song I was not only also in love with the character of Robert, but having to physically restrain myself from rushing the stage and wrapping myself around Mr. Kern’s legs, pleading with him to love me as his character loved Francesca — AND SING FOR ME 24 HOURS A DAY.

Holy shit. In case you couldn’t tell, I LOVED THIS SHOW.

Now, I have spent most of my life performing and directing and listening to and seeing and loving musicals and theatre, so, were there things I would have changed? Yes. But these were cavils and tiny complaints about decisions and choices made by people of such gargantuan talent that I say to myself, “What do I know?” For example, we were treated to Kelli O’Hara stepping out of a bathtub at the same time as Mr. Kern was off-stage in a shower. I wanted to see him in the shower. You see what I mean? It wasn’t, however, JUST that I wanted to see Mr. Kern naked (but I do, I really, REALLY do) but for dramaturgic reasons: as in, metaphorically both characters are cleansing themselves for the other, a baptism of sorts, a holy rite of readiness, and I felt we should either see both of them or neither of them doing so; to just see her made it somehow more important for her, and I don’t think the story works if that is the case. (See how I justified my hunger for naked singing actors? I was a HELL OF A director!) Too, it seemed somehow anachronistic to me that a teen boy was smoking marijuana at a state fair in 1965.

And, honestly, I never read the novel or saw the film of this story. It is NOT my kind of story, not really. I did not believe that you could make me believe a love story in which a few days would last a lifetime. But I did. And that I did is due to the book of Marsha Norman, the music and lyrics of Jason Robert Brown, the direction of Bartlett Sher (the brilliant conceit of the towns people always on stage and moving the set), and the acting of Kelli O’Hara (surely this will finally win her that Tony Award) and Kevin Kern and the rest of the cast.

Go. Now. At the very least, buy the CD.

 

 

OPENING NIGHTS: Catch It If You Can; TJStage “Catch Me If You Can”

Your intrepid bloggist has been to many opening nights during the course of his life, having played his first non-school role at age twelve and spending the next few decades making the journey from performer to director to producer to teacher to librettist and finally, to reviewer. So, it seems only natural he’d use his literary, sassy gay uncle, diva worshipping, Zeit-biting, homophobe-baiting, ranting and raving Here We Are, Going platform to renew his theatre writing. Why is he (am I?) writing in third person? Enough . . .  

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at TJStage [Click Here for TJStage Twitter]

You just never know how the first time is going to go. Will it be everything you’ve hoped? Will everything slide into place, flow easily, smoothly, and result in paroxysms of pleasure for all involved? Or, will there be pain, awkwardness, discomfort and messy, bloody bad memories?

Happy to report that a stage and crew full of eager, fervently talented, avid, ardent, and (for the most part) enthusiastic teens did a wham, bam, bang-up first time job of the musical Catch Me If You Can [CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS] at TJStage last night.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at TJStage - photo from their Twitter feed

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at TJStage – photo from their Twitter feed

If you’ve not read the bio, seen the film, nor heard the story on which it is based, here is information from the musical’s tour website:

Based on the hit DreamWorks film and the incredible true story that inspired it, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is the high-flying, splashy new Broadway musical that tells the story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teenager who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer – living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl chases Frank to the end…and finds something he never expected.

This delightfully entertaining musical has been created by a Tony Award®-winning “dream team,” with a book by Terrence McNally (The Full Monty, Ragtime), a swinging score by Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (Hairspray), choreography by Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Legally Blonde) and direction by Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels).

The “dream team” that opened the show at TJ — marking its regional premiere — consisted of the justly revered team of director Jason Hoffman and Costume Designer and wearer of so many hats (as Hoffman writes in his director’s note) Elizabeth Tringali. Year after year, the two of them manage to gift their student performers with the opportunity to take part in amazing productions of the latest and most challenging work, never allowing themselves or their charges to be content with doing those war-horse shows done over and over again, but, rather, producing the innovative and modern rather than playing it safe.

For this production, there was the additional bonus of choreographer Colleen Hayes, who worked as a student with Hoffman, and was in the post-Broadway tour of Catch Me If You Can, and managed to shape an adolescent chorus line into a cohesive unit of dancing actors, bustling and amusing with character driven movement that transcended the touch-step-grapevine and everybody raise both hands to the heavens for a count of sixteen pablum that all too often serves as choreography for groups not overrun with skilled dancers. Adapting professional level choreography for a group with little training or technique is an incredibly difficult task, and Ms. Hayes did a remarkable job. As did the performers.

Speaking of the performers, and I will – but first let me say, there were far too many to give everyone space. There wasn’t an embarrassing performance in any of the speaking roles, and even in the ensemble — save the occasional mummified, unaware, walking-dead looking member or two — there was a marvelous level of energy and “being there” presence. This is NOT, I promise you, one of those shows where you will be saying, “Oh what have I done to deserve this?”

Now, a few stand-outs. Megan Kelly essayed Paula Abagnale from French accent to torch song to maternal warmth to disloyal lover with insight and just enough edge to make you believe she was a real grown-up who had suffered disappointment in long-term love and life, rather than a teengirl pretending. Lovely job.

And then there was an impressively accomplished trio of young men, amazing for their aptitudes and strengths.

Ian McGregor Anderson as Frank Abagnale Sr, Paula’s husband, was adept at projecting a wearied, mid-life presence and conveying the damaged soul of a dreamer gone to seed. He managed to be the loveable loser, certainly and obviously doomed, but for whom you just can’t stop rooting.

Evan Wormald as FBI agent Carl Hanratty was revelatory, nearly bringing down the house early in Act One with his balls-to-the-wall performance of Don’t Break The Rules — here is the original Broadway cast from the Tony Awards:

TJ’s version of this number and the riveting Mr. Wormald in it, was another marvelous example of choreographer Hayes adapting the intricate and explosive original Broadway staging for this cast — during which Wormald proved to be not just comfortable in the character’s skin, but fully and completely at home. He managed the neat trick of making being schlump and lumpen exciting, and played convincingly the dichotomy of Hanratty’s determination to capture his prey and too, his eventual admiration, concern, and, yes, love for the criminal kid, Frank Abagnale Jr.

Which brings us to Brent Comer as Abagnale Jr — and all the other aliases he wore along the way. Comer has long been one to watch.  He has star-quality, the kind of presence and glow that radiates to the back of an auditorium, an intensity of spirit and grace that leaves the impression one has seen his entire performance in close-up. You will swear that you saw his wink or eyebrow arch or flick of a single finger in IMAX, widescreen hugeness — such is his ability to focus your attention. It’s a gift that can’t be taught, a person is born with that particular mesmeric gift. What can be taught is vocal control, acting technique, and the discipline to control the stage when required and cede it to others when appropriate, and in his final senior performance, the development of those talents is evident in Comer. From his beautifully modulated delivery of his songs to his insanely on-target comic timing — he is particularly good when something on-stage goes wrong, his ad-libs left me praying for more mishaps — to his easy movement and communication of the emotional journey his character is taking, Comer has developed from someone who was genetically/dumb-luck blessed kind of great into someone who has started the work and the training to become not just great, but good — a very different and absolutely essential thing.

Despite it being opening night, despite the fact that this same team JUST FINISHED another full production of the musical  Bonnie and Clyde two weeks ago (which, damn the luck, I could not attend), despite what must have been widespread exhaustion, the show moved along at a fast-clip, with remarkably few glitches – and those glitches were quite some of my favorite moments. This production boasts two of my very favorite set changes EVER – including one where a wall fell on a set person who, somehow, managed to drag it offstage by herself when left to flail with no assistance, and another, wherein a fellow pushed a set-cart onto the stage by thrusting himself, face to the boards, fully prone that the cart might hit its mark. I thought I might die. LOVED IT.

BUT (RANTS AND RAVES WARNING) I do NOT however for the LIFE OF ME understand WHY a magnet arts program like Advanced Theatre Studies is NOT given the budget so that its technical equipment can be modernized. Mr. Hoffman and these talented kids deserve FAR BETTER than second-hand, hit-or-miss microphones, light board, etc. Somebody needs to donate or raise some money for this program. Okay. I’m done.

As far as first times go, this was a good one; it didn’t hurt a bit and it made me laugh and cry and get the chills all over with joy and warm stuff. SO …  get your tickets and go see the show. Do your bit to support the future of the arts. And write your own review and share it with friends. I leave you with this, my favorite song from the Broadway production — it would be my favorite, it’s the eleven’o’clock female ballad:

 

… these masks we wear … these masks we won’t wear …

I just spent 45 minutes working on today’s blog and thanks to WordPress having update issues, it disappeared. Lost in the ether. Sadness. And from the loss and sadness, change. Because what I was going to write about – had – in fact, written – is crowded out by my musings about loss and its requisite sadness and the changes that occur.

University of Portland in Oregon "The Servant of Two Masters" production, directed by Michael O'Neill. Mago Hunt Theatre

University of Portland in Oregon “The Servant of Two Masters” production, directed by Michael O’Neill. Mago Hunt Theatre

Last night I went to a delightful updating of a Commedia dell’arte performed by a talented group of high school performers as directed by a dear friend, L. My heart was warmed by the energy, the effort, and, most of all, that my dear L. manages still to have a heart of such abundant Love and Light and Joy that she can continue to teach and make art, and blaze trails for youth who need trails blazed. She is a treasure. She makes the world a better place and she grows better, more thoughtful and insightful and contributing citizens by providing these outlets and exposing her students to wider ways of thinking and seeing the world. We are blessed to have her. I am blessed to call her my friend.

I thought about this as I sat in the very small crowd, many of whom I knew from my long history in theatre in this town. Attending theatre here (anywhere, really) anymore is bittersweet for me. I loved making theatre. I loved blazing trails. I believed in the good I did. Unfortunately, the cost to my soul and self, the compromises I had to make in order to make theatre, these outweighed the rewards and made me increasingly ineffective as creator and mentor. That was a loss for me and in many ways sorrowful, but I knew that I had to change my life.commedia masks 4

Sometimes loss and sadness lead to change. Sometimes change leads to loss and sadness. In my case, it was a storm of both, a storm that tossed and turned my world, my reality, and for which the cleaning up of the after effects continues. But last night, in that audience, I sat and stood and walked and interacted with some who knew me before the after, and on the other hand, wasn’t talked to by some for whom the after was too much. The Commedia dell’arte masks in which they have cast me, make me the villain.

So be it. I long since stopped explaining myself. Everyone is entitled to their own reality and I realized – quite painfully and only after long bouts of weeping and wailing and “why”-ing – that once someone has made the decision to see you as a villain, once they have needed you to be the bad guy in the story, if that is where they go and how they spin it, then why in the world would you want to win their love or affection again?

commedia masks 3As a dear, cherished loved one said to me recently; “Charlie, face it, most of your family and friends are somewhat insane, and you are expecting rational behavior from people who are not well-balanced or grounded in reality.”

Sort of true, with the caveat, I don’t much believe there is a baseline “sanity” or “reality” – we all have our own for whatever the journey we are on, and sometimes, you (I) just have to accept that only a very few people can see you behind and without the mask, and for all the rest, you (I) must realize – it’s a scripted farce. Don’t take it personally because you are (I am) not a person to them – you are a mask of a character they need in their drama.

Happy Saturday.commedia masks 2

 

the sun will go DOWN tomorrow … it’s only a day away … AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN …

I am so excited. AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN. Tomorrow night.

So much genius. Starting with Ryan Murphy. And, I am bowed down; Miss Jessica Lange.

covenschool1

I am thinking of actually eating tomorrow night in celebration.

ahscoven

It is rumored that one of the themes of this season is the discrimination and disrespect toward the aging in this culture; I am all in on that and have been thinking about that very thing quite a lot lately, which – of course – makes me once again think that Mr. Ryan Murphy((CLICK HERE TO SEE HIS TWITTER)) and I are OFONEMIND. I love that man. I wish he knew who I was. Oh well. ((CLICK HERE TO SEE MY TWITTER))

The Last 5 Years . . . theatre review

L5Y Signature

I’m still high from last night. The beer buzz wore off hours ago, but the euphoric afterglow of all the slam-bam-here’s my truth, from the soul banging continues. First of all, as I said in my late-night post last night, I spent the evening with three of my favorite people. Second of all, we spent 90 minutes of it at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia seeing a production of Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years” which was heart-shatteringly good.

Walking into the space we were greeted by an imaginative set depicting a world literally surrounded by a tornado whirl of creativity intruded upon by time. Now, I am a sucker for  Continue reading