Catching Up On The Work Stuff 

This past weekend was pretty great. After an incredibly busy couple of months I’m in a slower period, for which I’m grateful, but this weekend was the fun culmination of all that work. We closed the world premiere of Pulp by Jospeh Zettelmaier that I directed at Williamston Theatre…

…and opened the world premiere of Rights Of Passage by Kitty Dubin at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre. 

Getting to do two new plays at two different theatres (with a one week overlap!) was a wonderful opportunity, and a great challenge. I got super lucky, and was able to work with some really fabulous artists. Very happy with how both productions turned out, and grateful for the chance to spend so much time laughing and enjoying doing the work with quality people.  The older I get, the more I realize what a gift it is to be able to enjoy the people in the work as much as the work itself.  Sometimes that’s not always possible but, when it is, it’s a thing to be cherished.

I’m excited to spend the next couple of months producing The Nerd (here’s the set being installed TODAY!)……and producing A Painted Window, and I’ll be prepping to direct one of the shows I’ve been wanting to do for years, 1984.

In the meantime, though, I’m looking forward to having a bit more time to spend with my family.

And now – to sleep! G’night everybody!

A Tuesday Autumnal Pic Post Celebration

Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?

– Hal Borland

Autumn is almost upon us. I love this time of year. After a weekend where I got to rehearse a brand new play with an amazing team of people, and I got to have a 30 minute phone call with my daughter in Finland, I thought I’d celebrate with some pictures. 

Maggie got to go on a cruise from Finland to Sweden! I sure miss having her around, but it fills my heart to see her enjoying herself. 

My son Max, and our new son Tommaso (our exchange student from Italy), had a great time this weekend. I stayed home to work, but Jeanne and the boys went north to the lake where my in-laws live and had a great time visiting and swimming!

A couple shots from rehearsal of Pulp by Joseph Zettelmaier:

Here, John Lepard and Joe Bailey have a little standoff.  (Well, their characters do. The actors get along great! 😜)
And here are Michelle, Sarah and Anna -some of the amazing people making the show happen!

Recently I made my first foray EVER into an IKEA. We and our pals the Woodards went in a big group. My ratings:

Store: Fun.  

Coffee:  Good. 

Meatballs: Meh. 

And so – today starts a new year for our house. The start of a new busy cycle. I’m deep in rehearsals for our new season of plays. Maggie may be off in Finland, but Max Tommaso and Jeanne all began a new school year this morning, which will include classes, tennis, choir, theatre guild and lots more. It’s easy to look at that and think “Oh geez, back to the grind” – but it’s also an exciting time. So much good stuff is on the way, so many new exciting projects. I know many of you are going through your versions of this transition too – and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

The season for enjoying the fullness of life — partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest with others, and reinvesting and saving portions of the harvest for yet another season of growth.
 -Denis Waitley

So much good stuff coming up at work

Some weeks are pretty darned great, y’know?   This week I got to have an amazing 1st Production Meeting with the team for Pulp.  Rehearsals start in about 5 weeks, and I can’t wait!  I LOVE the beginning of a project when you’re working with a great production staff – the excitement, the ideas bouncing around, the energy – such a good time for digging into the work.

Not only did I have that meeting, but I had a great playwright meeting for Rights Of Passage, the other show I’m directing this fall, and I’m feeling super enthusiastic and energized about the project, and the direction it’s headed in.  I’ll be directing this show at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, and can’t wait to work with the great cast.

Heard from the amazing David Blixt at Sordelet Ink, and very shortly we will get the proofreading copies of our Williamston Theatre Anthology Of New Plays: VOLUME II, so in another few weeks we’ll have copies of both volumes available for sale!  PS – To buy VOLUME I, click here!

And today (a little later than normal because of REASONS) we finally were able to nail down the last cast member of our 2016-2017 season, so not only is the whole season cast and staffed, but we just finalized our brochure and it’s off to the printer.

So – for your viewing pleasure – here are some screenshots I took of some of the brochure pages.  Here’s what we’ve got coming up!

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 3.18.10 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-28 at 3.05.37 PMNerdAPW1984TSMF2

SO MUCH great stuff happening – lots to be grateful for.  I hope you’re finding all the things in YOUR day to celebrate and enjoy.  🙂

So lucky, so much goodness on the way!

I’m so excited with the upcoming slate of theatre that I get to be involved in!  Not only do we have 3 more great shows coming up at Williamston Theatre for this season, but next month we hold auditions for Season Eleven, and now we can talk about the shows we have lined up for that!   And I LOVE ALL these shows coming up!

So, we’re in rehearsals right now for The Decade Dance by Joe Zettelmaier, which is a really funny, really thoughtful exploration of life, love, politics and race in 1970’s America.  We just had the first read-through earlier this week, and I’m absolutely stoked about the show.

After that we have Chapatti, by Christian O’Reilly.  This is a beautiful, charming, intelligent and theatrical love story that delves into the question of life, and love, after people have started to give up hope on either.

Wrapping up Season 10 is a hilarious and really warm comedy by Annie Martin called Summer Retreat. The show explores the relationship between a group of women from college through middle-age and how, as we grow, so does our love for our friends – even if we’re not all headed in the same direction.

THEN comes Season Eleven at Williamston Theatre!

First: Pulp, by Joseph Zettelmaier.  I’m directing this one, and I can’t wait.  It’s a noir/genre/detective/thriller/mystery comedy, and it’s a blast!  And it’s a world premiere, and part of a Rolling World Premiere with the National New Play Network (of which Williamston Theatre is a member).

Second: The Nerd, by Larry Shue.  An absolutely hilarious show, not nearly old enough to be called a chestnut… but is it old enough to be called a classic?  Either way, it’s a popular piece that is well known for a reason: It’s hysterical.  This will be our MSU collaboration show, and it’s a perfect showcase for our excellent partnership with Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre.

Third: Another world premiere, this one by Christy Hall.  A Painted Window is a beautiful exploration of sisterhood, and aging, and wanting to be appreciated and understood and connected to the world. It asks the question “When it’s all over… when all we have left are the memories… will we want a do-over?”

In our fourth slot I’m directing a show I’ve been excited about doing for a while:  1984, by George Orwell.  This adaptation, by Michael Gene Sullivan, explores some of the most prescient aspects of Orwell’s classic story, and some of the most socially relevant, in a terrifically theatrical way. What happens to people when their humanity is forcibly stripped away, when being different is a crime, and when people are afraid to think anything but what they’ve been told to think?  Can compassion and empathy exist in that world? Can love?

Fifth is a Michigan premiere, a terrific play that was at the Stratford festival a few years ago called Taking Shakespeare by John Murrell.  A charming, funny, poignant story where what seems to be a simple clash between people from different generations turns into an exploration of life, and the power of storytelling and taking chances.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand our final slot of Season Eleven is still TBA.  We’re waiting to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on the rights, but I’ll let you know when it’s announced!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that I’ll also be directing at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre next season!  I’m excited to be working with Kitty Dubin on the world premiere of her new play Rights Of Passage!

So, when you add all that stuff together, and throw in the exciting Dark Nights in Billtown festival coming up in May (where we’re exploring several excellent Protest Theatre pieces), I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of so many great pieces of theatre.

So – what about YOU?  What upcoming things in your life are YOU looking forward to?!