News/Blog

My Son!

As amazing as it sounds, my son had his last day of High School today! I’m so proud of him. Up next for him: a year in Germany, for his Gap Year Student Exchange Program, before he goes to college. I think the current plan is to come back after that and go to college for music composition and production.

I am super proud of his abilities as a musician and a composer, and jealous! I can’t wait to hear his music as he grows, and studies, and his talents expand even more.

Here’s a link to his Sound Cloud account, where he has a number of his songs posted. Check it out!

One of his songs, Jump, has over 11, 000 listens! His song Again was just chosen by the head of the Chelsea show choir, Company C, to be included in their Spring performance, where it was played with choreographed dancers performing to it. That was a pretty amazing honor for Max!

So, in honor of my son’s last day at school, here is a pic montage designed to make me cry.

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Williamston Theatre 2018/2019 Season

We are just past the halfway point of this season, and neck deep in rehearsals for Doublewide, but the wheel keeps turning. I’m so pleased to announce our upcoming Season!

Williamston Theatre 2018/2019 Season

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson
September 20 – October 21, 2018

Based on the true story and science of early 20th century female “computers” at Harvard Observatory. Astonishing discoveries await Henrietta Leavitt as she maps distant stars in galaxies beyond our own. But this brilliant, headstrong pioneer must struggle for recognition in the man’s world of turn-of-the-century astronomy. In this exquisite blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society determined to keep a woman in her place. An inspiring, stunningly beautiful tale.

A Hunting Shack Christmas by Jessica Lind Peterson
Nov. 15 – Dec. 23, 2018

Looking to sort out his life, Charlie heads up to the hunting shack that’s been in his family for generations. Instead of the peace of mind he was looking for, he finds himself buried in a blizzard of snow, unexpected family squatters, beef jerky, crazy internet romance, and more snow. Can he sort it all out in time for his wedding anniversary? And who the heck is Helge?!

To Quiet The Quiet by Christy Hall
Jan. 24 – Feb. 24, 2019
A World Premiere

Having suffered great loss and heartbreak in her life, Kathy, now middle-aged and alone, is a woman on the edge. Haunted by her past, and her own personal demons, Kathy seems to be losing the battle against her thoughts, her words, her fears. And the one man who can help Kathy may prove to be just as powerless against her. This new mystery play will keep you riveted through it’s deepest, darkest secrets.

The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn
March 21 – April 20, 2019
Featuring Ruth Crawford and Hugh Maguire
1978 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama

Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous woman. They discover they both dislike the home and enjoy gin rummy, so they begin to play. As they play, intimate details begin to reveal themselves, and what follows was called by the New York Times “The closest thing the theatre offers to a duel at 10 paces.”

New Releases by Joseph Zettelmaier
May 9 – June 9, 2019
A World Premiere

Jen is going down with the sinking ship. That ship is Avid Video, a small-time video rental store that is circling the drain. One night, a strange woman comes in to rent a video that has never been rented…one that Jen didn’t even know the store carried. The two of them strike a bizarre deal, and as the months go on, Jen struggles to unravel the mystery of this woman, even as the store she loves marches towards extinction. A warm comedy that’ll melt your funny bone and touch your heart.

Popcorn Falls by James Hindman
June 20 – July 28, 2019

The sleepy town of Popcorn Falls is forced into bankruptcy when a neighboring town threatens to turn them into a sewage treatment plant. Their only hope – OPEN A THEATRE! Two actors play over twenty roles in a world of farce, love and desperation proving once and for all that art can save the world. You won’t want to miss this hilarious, theatrical whirlwind!

The last week…

Currently having a blast directing Steve Spotswood’s Doublewide at Williamston Theatre. Man, this beautiful play is thoughtful, funny, heartbreaking and beautiful. It ticks so many boxes for me: Makes you laugh, cry, think, want to call people you love. And the team I get to work with in making it is pretty damned awesome. I’m a lucky guy.

Here’s a screenshot of the scenic rendering by Kirk Domer…

And here’s shot from rehearsal of the thing in action…

And here’s a pic from later that same day, after rehearsal when the scenic crew was hard at work!

This is one of those shows that has a good handful of locations, but a couple of them are the anchors where the majority of the action takes place. Thanks to a great production staff, we’re having a blast embracing the theatrical expressions of those locations instead of trying to do hyper-realistic scenery. This is something I’m wanting more and more as I get older – I don’t know why, but the more I do this the more I want to get away from super realism. Film and TV do that, but I love when theatre does what it does best: Make us imagine.

For more info, check out the Williamston Theatre website!

Every time…..

Every time this shows up in the mail, I think of my Dad.

I think back to when I was in high school, and told him I wanted to go to college for theatre. I was ready to be told I should find something more stable, I was ready to be lectured about responsibility and the future.

Instead, all he asked was “Do you think you can make a living at it?” When I said I thought I could, he just nodded, and said “Okay. Great. Your mom and I will help any way we can.” And that was it.

So when my membership card from SDC arrives I, naturally, get a sense of pride that I’m following my dream and making it work, and I’m thrilled that I’m contributing to the world the way I’d hoped to… but I also feel like I’m keeping a promise to my Dad. I know he was proud of me, of all his kids, but putting this card in my wallet every year makes me feel worthy of the trust and faith he had in me on that afternoon, sitting together in our kitchen, over 30 years ago.

On Tuesday I start rehearsal for Doublewide, a play about a guy who spends his life working in a factory and doing everything he can to provide a good future for his family.

Thanks, Dad. This one’s for you.

Random Thoughts on a Sunday

Okay, the weather is cold outside, but soon it won’t be. Soon the Tigers will be back, and MLB will begin the marathon of a regular season. There’s fear in Detroit, though – the Tigers will be in a big rebuilding season, and the new predictions for Wins/Losses just came out. It’s not looking good for the Tigers. Click here to see the dismal prediction.

I heard a great quote from a TED Talk by Susan David: “Discomfort is the price to a meaningful life.” She gave a very nice talk about dealing with negative emotions in a positive way.

Speaking of negative emotions: Is it just me, or is Facebook almost unbearable lately? No dialogue, no fun, just people deciding they’re authorized to tell everyone else what they’re allowed to believe, like, say, or do. Maybe I just need a break from it, but right now it’s just a tiresome repetition. One that I know I’m just as guilty of as anyone else. I feel like we all need a reminder (me included) that maybe our best option is to embrace the connections from our similarities and shared opinions, and embrace non-judgmental curiosity about our differences. *sigh* I just know I’ve enjoyed not being on it as much lately.

On a more positive note: I’m so proud of the team at Williamston Theatre, and the response we’re getting from audiences for the current production of Our Lady Of Poison. Shannon Ferrante led a terrific staff and cast, and did marvelous work. 27625370_10156102918764629_6048259823109898447_o.jpg

Right now we are deep into pre-production for our next show at Williamston, Doublewide. I’m having a blast working with this production team, and even though we have a few weeks of Our Lady… left, I’m raring to jump into rehearsals! I really hope folks enjoy this show, I think it’s a beautiful and honest exploration into life in this part of the world, and the struggle to find a place in it.

Speaking of Doublewide, here’s a Work-In-Progress of the scenic design by the amazing Kirk Domer. I’m not going to explain anything in it yet, it’s just a sneak peek.Doublewide Rendering - House Left - Draft 2-11-18 No Walls for Tony

I can’t remember if I posted these before? The last show I directed, Beau Jest, was a ton of fun. During the show, which took place in the late ’80’s, a little camera was used by a couple characters to take pictures of other people in the play with them. We used real film in a camera, and got some of them developed. Here, for fun, are some of them!

Ah, there are Pat Loos, Vanessa Sawson, Michael Lopetrone, Sandy Birch and (barely) Fred Buchalter! The quality is awful because they were under stage lights and it was an old camera, but I love that you can also see audience members in the background!

Random TV Thoughts: The Good Place is so freaking good. If you haven’t watched it, start at the beginning and binge. Star Trek Discovery has become a pleasant surprise for me, and I’ve really enjoyed Agents of Shield also! Tops on my list, and I’m late getting to it, is The Great British Baking Show! Jeanne and I have just started watching it, and we’re in love! Thanks to everyone who recommended it. I now desperately want to take some baking lessons.

Lastly – because it’s time to work: Man, I am so excited to see the Black Panther movie coming out this week. I just think it looks terrific, for lots of reasons, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it.

Hope you’re having a good weekend, everyone. Stay safe, and spend time with people you love!

A quiet morning

Here we are, almost halfway into January, and I still feel like I haven’t yet recovered from the holidays!

So much quality family time, so much laughter and storytelling and love. Oy -so much food (yes, that’s the part I -and my waistline- need the most recovering from.)

So, this morning I’m up before almost everyone. Maggie crept quietly out of the house a while ago – she’s taking care of a friend’s dog today, so had to go do that early. It was wonderful having her boyfriend visit from Finland for the holidays. Now of course it’s hard on both of them because he’s back home. I see them and think simultaneously “Boy, I remember being 19, that exciting young love, waiting for your future to start” and also, at the same time, “Good Lord, was I ever that young?!”

Max and Jeanne are sleeping in. It’s Saturday, they deserve to. Max will work later, Jeanne will be grading her student’s homework, like normal on the weekend, but I think today will be a quiet day.

In a couple of hours I’ll head to Williamston Theatre. We closed Beau Jest a couple of weeks ago – what a treat that show was. Wonderful team on and offstage, and audiences just loved it. We set some attendance records! Such a gift, to hear packed houses filled with people laughing together, sharing a moment of lightness and joy.

Next up is a wonderful piece, Our Lady Of Poison, a world premiere by Joe Zettelmaier. The elevator pitch: “Mother-Daughter poisoning team. Italy. Based on true events.” ’nuff said. 🙂

So, today I’ll go in and see a stumble-through of that, we’ll have a production meeting, and I’ll do some more work on the next play.

Before that, though: A little quiet in the living room. The dogs are curled at my feet, and my cup of coffee is still mostly full.

I hope everyone has a restful, fulfilling Saturday!