A time to be both thankful and helpful.

This week I wound up spending time at Beaumont Hospital in Trenton with an ailing family member.  All is well, everyone is back home and doing well, but times like that are stressful, and worrisome, and one of the things that stands out the most when you look back is the giant amount of HELP and KINDNESS given by so many people.  A big THANK YOU to the wonderful staff at Beaumont Trenton, you guys rock.

Between that event, and Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, it’s a time of year that we all start thinking of others.  Probably we start thinking of them in a way that we should think all year.  I know I do.  I look around and I think about how amazingly fortunate I am, how lucky I am to be loved by people, to have friends and family I can count on, and to still be here in my very own Bonus Levels.  I also, though, am very aware that I could be doing more for others.  Does anyone else feel this?  The kindness of the Beaumont Hospital staff reminded me that a little effort can go a long way when people are in need, and sometimes it’s the smallest of gestures that makes a difference.

Everyone is busy, we’re all working too much and overwhelmed with life and plans and challenges and politics and that’s just the way our lives ARE nowadays.  One of the ways to help slow down, make OUR lives better, is to help someone else.  I don’t do enough of that, but I’m going to try to do more.  If anyone wants to join me, here are some resources that a colleague recently shared with me:

  • To volunteer at your local soup kitchen, click here
  • To donate a meal to food-insecure senior citizens, click here
Got any other suggestions on ways we could all, even in our over-scheduled lives, help make a difference?  Let me know, share them with all of us in the comments.

“Wonder will always get us there…”

What a joy Silent Sky has been. Some shows just have such an affect on people – audience, cast, designers, crew – that you don’t want them to end. Watching this beautiful script by Lauren Gunderson do that to people over the last 5 weeks has been wonderful and, now that we have reached the closing performance, I find myself feeling the same way.

The sense of wonder, of exploration and perseverance from this show is beautiful and inspiring. The sheer joy it evokes, that sense that “Anything Is Possible”, is just so beautifully interwoven with the loving bittersweet reminder “But… we don’t have forever… so Savor Everything.”

Working with the entire production team on this show has been an amazing journey. Telling the story of Henrietta Leavitt, Annie Cannon and Williamina Fleming – true pioneers in their field who persevered and changed the world around them despite incredible resistance – has been an absolute gift, and one of the highlights of my career so far. I offer a giant THANK YOU to the many wonderful people who helped to make it happen!

Because the real point… is seeing something bigger. And knowing we’re a part of it, if we’re lucky. In the end that is a life well-lived. Because thank God there’s a lot out there bigger than me.

-Henrietta Leavitt, SILENT SKY by Lauren Gunderson

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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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.

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!

Pic Post Friday!

I had a wonderful quick getaway with my amazing wife Jeanne earlier this week.   We stole a couple days from the schedule and visited Saugatuck, Michigan.  We stayed in the fabulous Hidden Gardens bed-and-breakfast, where I now want to live year-round.

We spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan, at Oval Beach. Just beautiful.   Here’s the only pic I took at the beach!


To get to the beach, you have to take a short walk from downtown Saugatuck, across the Kalamazoo River.  This chain ferry is the way to cross and, according to the operator, it’s one of only a handful still in operation across the country!

Here is the guy cranking us across the river. Yes, when offered the chance, I did some cranking! Life is short, try stuff, celebrate everything!  😁


Jeanne and I had a great time, it was a wonderful relaxing couple of days. Downtown Saugatuck is adorable with lots of parks and little shops and great food. (If you go, don’t miss The Southerner, or Phil’s!)

This flower shop has the best name ever.

We also enjoyed some relaxing and great wine at a cool place called Borrowed Time…

 

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With life being crazy, and politics driving everyone nuts, and work being always busy, and Jeanne and the kids going back to school in a week…. a little breathing room with the most important person in my world was just perfect.

I hope you’re all able to carve out some hammock time, whatever your version is, before long.  These are the moments all the hard stuff should lead to. Don’t forget to take them.

A week of being Thankful. Day 4…

… the list of little things. Obviously not complete, but it’s a good start! 😉

The view of the trees outside our front window. Reading the “hot stove” reports in the off-season to see what trades the Detroit Tigers are making.  Reading a good play. Kung Pao Chicken and Shrimp. The smell of the woods in late Autumn. Puzzling through a play with a team of gifted people. The feeling of shaping a moment with actors, designers crew and a playwright and then watching it move an audience to laughter or tears or shock just as we’d hoped. Audience members who hug me in the lobby after seeing a play, just because the piece affected them so much. Sitting and reading a real book, not one on a screened device. Still hearing my Dad’s voice in my head every day. A well-made spinach and feta omelette. Making my mom laugh, or my brother and sister laugh, or my wife and kids laugh.  The dogs curling up on my feet. A fire in our fireplace. Theatre without pretentiousness.  Hugs from my wife and kids. A good bourbon. Playing board games with family and friends. The sound of walking through fallen leaves. The muffled sound of a big snowstorm. Text messages with my kids throughout the day. Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and the family around a table!