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

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.

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!

A weekend of thankfulness!

Yesterday we had final preview AND Opening Night for The Nerd at Williamston Theatre!  (Not what we normally do, but Thanksgiving was in the way of having a Thursday preview, so we had a double show on Friday – both shows were packed and it was fun!)  So THANKFUL for the great folks who attended the sold out shows, and the whole team of people who made the show happen!

And I have to share this.  I was lucky enough to see this Musicology concert in Detroit twice, and I’m so thankful!

AND – if you haven’t checked out the Team Tony page here at my website, you should take a second and do it.  There are some pretty amazing people on there, and I’m thankful for each and every one of them.

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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!

A week of being Thankful. Day 2

Continuing spending the week with things to be thankful for… because too many days go by where I forget to look around, and embrace the amazingness of the people around me, the situations and experiences I get to share, and the beauty in front of me. 

This morning, I woke up, and there was 1/2 pot of coffee waiting for me.  My wife is awesome. 

Today I got to chat for 90 minutes about a play I’m directing in a few months, plotting and planning and dissecting and “what-iffing” a piece that I’m incredibly excited to attack.  Talking with smart people about cool topics is one of the best parts of my job!

I also got to spend some quality one-on-one time with the apprentices at Williamston Theatre, and their energy and enthusiasm and talent and heart are inspiring!

This evening, I had a great time chatting online with members of the Central City Underground as the new episode of The Flash aired on TV!  One of my things to be thankful for is that podcast, and the terrific community surrounding it, and all the folks at Golden Spiral Media. I get to Get My Geek On and enjoy some DC Comics Superhero TV, and then talk about it on a podcast with my pal Joe, and then share that with a bunch of other fans of comics and the show!  Pure fun, a shared experience with people from all walks of life with a common love of something that we enjoy.  

My evening is coming to a sleepy close.  Right now, I am lying in my bed – my wife is asleep, breathing gently. On the floor by our bed are the two dogs, Sneakers and FlipFlop. Sneakers is snoring, and it’s adorable. FlipFlop is chewing something, I’m hoping it’s his chew-bone and not more socks.  As I type, I can hear the click and hum of the furnace in the basement firing up to keep us warm. This wonderful nighttime symphony, this is something I am thankful for.