What a season. From late August 2010 to late August 2011. Wow.
A year ago yesterday, I posted this story about my son – who has gotten funnier as the year has passed. And a few days after that, I journaled about the beginning of the 2010-2011 Season.
And what a season it turned out to be!
I had a blast guest-directing The American Clock at Michigan State University, working with some fabulous students. That giant sweeping epic of a play was chosen by the American College Theatre Festival as worthy of production at their yearly gathering! (and then the lead actor broke his collarbone and the show couldn't be re-mounted!)
I directed 3 other shows this season:
Greater Tuna: working with two of my favorite actors, Daba and Aral, we had a blast making this hilarious show, which broke box office records for the Williamston Theatre and became the biggest attended and biggest moneymaking show up to that point in our history!
Oedipus, also at the Williamston Theatre: This was an amazing show to work on. Adapting the script with Annie Martin, working with the incredible production staff of Dana White, Dan Walker and Holly Iler, and creating the piece with the fantastic cast of John Manfredi, Sandra Birch, Brandon Piper, Barton Bund and Jamie Weeder. This set a benchmark for how I want to create new plays and adaptations, and I hope to continue doing it! (In fact; Last night at the 10th Annual Wilde Awards, Oedipus was awarded Best Drama for the 2010-2011 Season, and John Manfredi won Best Actor in a Drama for his riveting portrayal of Oedipus. What an honor!)
Ernie: Mitch Albom wrote a beautiful play about the legendary baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, and I was incredibly lucky enough to get the job of directing the world premiere of the piece at the City Theatre in Detroit. Working right across from the baseball stadium, doing a play about baseball and one of its revered gentlemen… the experience was wonderful. A design team that was a director's dream, and a cast that knocked it out of the park! (See what I did there? Outta the park… heh!) The run of Ernie was extended several times, played to 28,000 people this summer, and has been booked for an encore presentation in the summer of 2012!
I also got the opportunity to direct the Otterbein University Senior Showcase again, which is a wonderful gig – working several times through the season with the Seniors who are about to graduate, we prepare a Showcase of audition material and take it to New York and L.A. to perform for agents, directors, producers and other industry professionals. I love doing it, working with the students is always a rewarding, inspiring challenge! I'm lucky enough to be doing it again this coming season, and I'm looking forward to it!
In addition, I am blessed to continue serving as Artistic Director for the Williamston Theatre, working with the finest staff in the state, and a family of artists that is simply amazing. This season the Williamston Theatre produced the gorgeous, riveting Blue Door, Greater Tuna, Oedipus, the laugh-until-you-cry-then-it-just-makes-you-cry While We Were Bowling, the heartbreakingly beautiful Eleemosynary, and the record-setting World Premiere of And The Creek Don't Rise, which garnered great reviews and fantastic word-of-mouth. In fact, it was such a hit that, for the second time in the season, our box office and attendance records were broken, and And The Creek Don't Rise now holds the records for most box office revenue and most attended show in WIlliamston Theatre history! In fact, I'm proud to say that the entire season was a success: The growth of the Williamston Theatre has continued, and once again we topped all previous seasons in overall attendance and box office revenue. This has happened every season since we opened, and I'm honored to work alongside the designers, actors, directors, stage managers, volunteers and staff who make it happen.
I'm so grateful to be working where I do, and with the people I work with – I am not going to lie – I think I'm one of the luckiest guys on the planet. The opportunities I get to work with wonderful people on wonderful projects amaze me sometimes.
This season has been a joy for me professionally, but also because my family and I had a great year: the blend of work and family that we all struggle with was tough, but we have had a wonderful "August through August" and, as I launch into a new theatre season my wife and kids launch into a new school season. This is always an exciting time of the year, and with all the wonderful things the last 12 months brought, I can't wait to see what's in store for us next!
Bring on 2011-2012!