Wednesday: things to be grateful for. 

Hanging out with these awesome people…


When this awesome person comes back after being in Finland for almost a year…. 


Having a nice breakfast with these two!


This bit of cleverness!


A great day at the ballpark!

Starbucks Matcha Lemonade 


Season 7 of ERNIE!

Closing this amazing show, and being really proud it was on our stage…

Starting rehearsal for THIS amazing show! 


And…. just this sentiment!

All good news…

So, yeah, this space has been silent for a few weeks.  In truth, I was unsure what to write, because I was going through a health scare thing, so I just didn’t write anything…..

Fortunately, everything has turned out pretty much okay.  Want too much medical info?   Here ya go:  The doctors discovered a tumor in my bladder.  So, we had a month or so of worry about whether it was going to be cancerous and, even if it wasn’t cancerous, if the removal of it would necessitate the removal of my bladder.  Fortunately, we got more or less the best news – it was removed without too much damage to the wall of my bladder, and it was not cancerous, although I now will have to get checked every 6 months for cancer cells there, because statistics show that a certain percentage of people who get this type of tumor do eventually develop bladder cancer.  Still, with all of the other medical stuff I’ve had going on over the last few years, I’ll take the win!  🙂

Of course, following that, I was reminded by the doctors that because of my CVID, and all of the aforementioned medical adventures, that I should probably make sure I’m not taxing my “compromised” immune system.  So, the “slow down” message was given again, and I need to listen to it.  SO, some slowing down is in the works.  More QFT* and less overlapping, back-to-back work projects, etc…  All good news.

Other good news:
Ernie opened this week, and I got to spend the week doing brush-up rehearsals with the gang.  Season 7 – it’s a fascinating thing, this “bring a play back for 7 seasons”, from a directing viewpoint.  Finding things, 7 years later, that make us go “OH! This moment will be better if we XYZ instead of ABC! – Cool, let’s do it!”  There are some serious lessons to be found in watching your own work replayed over years – I’m grateful for that.  I’m also grateful for the super team of actors, stage managers and designers who work to keep the show fresh and engaging.

We are running Taking Shakespeare at Williamston Theatre, and it’s just wonderful.  Funny, smart, thoughtful, and full of love and joy and hope! Great performances, terrific direction and designs – I just couldn’t be prouder to have it on our stage.  This weekend and next weekend are the final performances, check it out if you haven’t! Click Here!

OH!  I redid the layout of my website.  I still need to update with a bunch of new show photos from my directing gigs, but let me know if you like the new look of the site.

Maybe the biggest good news of all: Maggie comes home in less that 2 weeks!  Our world-traveling, Finnish exchange-studenting oldest kid finally returns.  It’s been about 10 months since I got to hug her and squeeze her, and I can’t wait!

I hope good news is running through all of your worlds this month too.

*Quality Family Time

Good things!

This week needs a bit of perking up. Here, in no particular order, are some things of beauty I got a chance to see this week!

This image of Prince was something I found on the internet, the artist made it as a tribute to him.  Friday the 21st was the 1 year anniversary of his death.  I lost the link to it that shows the artist’s name, unfortunately. 

The march for science was this past weekend.  Among many, many articles about it, this was one of the best signs I saw posted online!

On a sunny morning, some times of the year, when the angle is right, the sun comes in and reflects off of my wife’s necklaces (that she’s hung on a spare towel rack!), and it fills the room with a million little explosions of color!

This week we started rehearsals for the next show at Williamston Theatre, Taking Shakespeare, and it’s going to be fabulous.  The script is smart, funny, thoughtful, hopeful, and just a terrific ride.  Plus, the cast is amazing, and it’s being directed by the wonderful Mary Job! Can’t wait for previews!  (This pic was taken by Chris Purchis, of me making some big announcement about something or other at first rehearsal!)

This is a pic of Maggie, in Finland, in a car with a couple of her host-siblings, Aatu and Venla!  Love it!

I took this shot a couple days ago in the theatre – the seats look cool in the ghost light!

Some Spring has sprung in our yard!

More spring in the front yard!

Arriving early for the Tigers game on Wednesday.  Man, what an incredibly beautiful night for a ballgame.  Sunny, 75 degrees, the park was full and buzzing with energy and smelled exactly how you want a ballgame to smell.  One of the best places to spend an evening that you’ll ever find!  🙂

Jeanne and I were raking in the yard, and I couldn’t resist taking this pic of the sunset.

I hope you’re finding the beautiful things in your week, too!

Closing weekend!

It’s closing weekend of 1984 at Williamston Theatre.  Producing this show has been something I’ve looked forward to for a few years, and I’m really pleased at how the final product turned out. The process was fabulous, the team was wonderful to work with, and the audience response has been terrific. 

In fact, we got one final glowing review that you can check out right here: The Cranky Critic

The rest of life has been incredibly busy this past month, but I’ll write about that later. For now, and for fun, here are a bunch of random pics from 1984 that I want to share! 

The Williamston Theatre 2017-2018 Season!

I’m very excited to be able to release this into the wild!

Williamston Theatre

2017-2018 Season

 

THE TAMING

By Lauren Gunderson

Directed by Lynn Lammers

September 21 – October 22, 2017

A Michigan Premiere

Tweetering, pandashrews, and undying giddiness for James Madison – what else would you expect to find at a Miss America pageant? In this hilarious, raucous, all-female “power-play,” contestant Katherine has political aspirations to match her beauty pageant ambitions. All she needs to revolutionize the American government is the help of one ultra-conservative senator’s aide on the cusp of a career breakthrough, and one bleeding-heart liberal blogger who will do anything for her cause. Here’s lookin’ at you, America!

 

BEAU JEST

By James Sherman

Directed by Tony Caselli

November 16 – December 23, 2017

Sarah is a nice Jewish girl with a problem: her parents want her married to a nice Jewish boy. They have never met her boyfriend, a WASP executive named Chris Kringle. She tells them she is dating a Jewish doctor and they insist on meeting him. She plans a dinner party and, over the heated protests of Chris, employs an escort service to send her a Jewish date to be Dr. Steinberg. Instead, they send Bob Schroeder, an aspiring actor who agrees to perform the impersonation. Hilarity ensues in this charming family comedy with a tender heart.

 

OUR LADY OF POISON

By Joseph Zettelmaier

Directed by Shannon Ferrante

January 25 – February 23, 2018

A World Premiere

1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries, and skilled poisoners. This mother-daughter team run an infamous underground operation to provide unfortunate wives with an escape from untenable marriages. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that very love threatens to destroy the life Giulia has built for her family. Based on historical events.

 

DOUBLEWIDE

By Stephen Spotswood

Directed by Tony Caselli

March 22 – April 22, 2018

NNPN Rolling World Premiere

Jim Starkey’s version of the American Dream is a modest one: to build a home on his one-acre plot of land and replace his doublewide trailer with something his daughter, Lorelai, can inherit. When a highway expansion project shatters their dreams, Jim must decide how far he can be pushed and Lorelai is left to build her own future. A heartfelt and often funny drama that explores how far one family will go to hold onto their American Dream.

 

OUT OF ORBIT

by Jennifer Maisel

Director Frannie Shepherd-Bates

May 17 – June 17, 2018

A World Premiere

Meet the Jet Propulsion Lab Scientist mom and her underachiever teenage daughter. Sara lives on Mars time, spearheading the Mars Rover Expedition, visiting a planet she cannot touch. Her daughter, Lis, on earth time, falls under the spell of an internet Romeo. Sometimes it takes being worlds apart for an exploring woman and a longing-to-be-explored girl to find each other in our increasingly disconnected universe. A tender comedy about the challenges of a unique mother-daughter relationship.

 

THE GIN GAME

by D.L. Coburn

Directed by John Lepard

July 12 – August 18, 2018

Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady. The friendship between these two made-for-each-other strangers comes about when Weller talks Fonsia into letting him tutor her in the fine, if forgotten, art of playing gin rummy. The relationship develops and the brutal realities of aging are revealed through their card playing. This Winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama shows that a hand of cards can pack as hard a punch as boxing gloves.

Thursday Pic Post

We start previews for 1984 this evening, at Williamston Theatre. Having an amazing time working with a fantastic cast and production team! 


It’s been a heck of a few weeks. We, like many people, lost power at home for several days. Fortunately we have a fireplace! 

Once the power was back on, we found ourselves with a rare occurrence this month: everyone home at once! We played some games….


…and I got Tommaso and Max to eat some vegetables! 

Speaking of kids – here’s a pic of Maggie with her significant other, Beni, at a dance in Finland. 


And here’s a picture of Max and his significant other, Sophie, going to the Winter Carnival dance a couple weeks ago!


Now, we’re a couple hours away from first preview for the show. There is some really cool artwork in the theatre gallery by Anita Brett:


Also in the gallery is a very cool “Orwell Installation” from the MSU Department of English students, with some great displays about Orwell and the novel. 

And now, no more time for writing. Gotta get ready for tonight. Excited to introduce audiences to our version of Orwell’s dystopia! 

Quick Tuesday thoughts…

Got to hold some callbacks last night for The Turn Of The Screw that I’m directing for The Penny Seats in October.  Man, I love watching what good actors do with good material. Blessed to have spent the evening with some fine performers!

Speaking of good material and fine performers, we start rehearsal for 1984 today at Williamston Theatre. I’ve been excited about doing this show for a couple years, can’t wait to get to work with this amazing script and team! 

And, boy, Facebook Memories, you are just hitting me right in the heart this week. 3 years ago I was starting to wake up from my coma. I don’t remember much about that time, but I remember being amazed at the kindness of people who were inexplicably wearing shirts with me on them. This week 3 years ago is, I think, when the shirts started arriving in the mail, because there are so many pictures popping up in my Facebook Memories feed of people wearing them – Check them out here, if you like!

I’m just overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of people. Overwhelmed, amazed, and so grateful.