Taking a minute to acknowledge and thank the universe for all the wonderful things in my life.

With Thanksgiving just happening, and then so many wonderful things around it, it’s easy to take for granted the things I have. Sometimes I just need to look around and, to quote Kurt Vonnegut’s Uncle Alex, say out loud “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

It was so great to have the kids back home with Jeanne and I for a couple days. Just talking and hanging out and eating and playing games and watching them play with the dogs. Loved it. Going to sleep that night with everyone in the the house, knowing they were safe and home and happy, it was pretty terrific. And soon we’ll do it again for a few days for Christmas.

Plus we had a wonderful Opening week for A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show at the theatre, which is just lovely and so engaging and such beautiful storytelling, it gets me every single time, and watching packed houses fall in love with it is both inspiring and affirming.

Then we had a fantastic “Giving Tuesday” Play Reading Marathon, where we read a seasons worth of plays onstage in a day, 12 hours of readings, all open to the public, and we had so many people stop by for a play or two, or three, and a big group who stayed all day to see five or six plays! It was amazing, people came and went all day as their schedule allowed, and it felt like such a day of communion and togetherness and magic as we shared and discussed six wildly different pieces. Truly it was a humbling thing. Someone asked “Did you ever imagine this when you started this place 14 years ago?!” and the question AND answer got me all choked up because, no, we hoped but had no idea if it would work. Tuesday was pretty damned great.

And now I’m getting ready for the National New Play Network annual Showcase of New Plays – a weekend of staged readings and chatting about new plays and the challenges, joys and pitfalls of producing them with people from all over the country. This is going to be fun.

So much to be grateful for.

I hope you’re able to look around this weekend and find the same things in your life! ❤️

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.

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.


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. 

A week of being thankful. Day 1

It’s Thanksgiving here in the US this week.  The last few years I’ve tried to be very conscious and aware of all the things I have to be thankful for, because the list is big. So, I’m going to spend this week thinking and writing about some of those.  Tonight, I think I’ll start with the big things.

3 years ago today I was home feeling lousy.  We didn’t know it at the time, but I was about two months from going into the hospital with bacterial meningitis.  Fortunately, I got better – with the help of a lot of people.  I’m very thankful to them.  I’m sitting here, right now, at my computer, with 3 subcutaneous needles in my belly, getting an infusion of Hizentra, the medicine that I get weekly that provides me with an immune system.  I am incredibly thankful to be sitting here with these needles, and this medicine, in our house.

On the other side of the house, my wife is sleeping, and my son is in his room, probably pretending to sleep but really watching tv on his iPad.  In the room next to him, our exchange student Tommaso has just turned out his light to go to sleep.  Tonight I got to sit in the family room with Max and Tommaso and laugh with them as they played video games together.  I’m very, very thankful for these 3 people.

Also, tonight, on the other side of the planet, my daughter is sleeping.  In fact, as I type this, she’s only a couple of hours from waking up and starting her day, because Espoo, Finland is 7 hours ahead of us here in Michigan.  One of the things I’m incredibly thankful for is the wonderful host family she is staying with, and her friends there.  I’m grateful for our iPhones, and the internet, and the technology that allows us to stay connected even though she’s so far away – things like the app “Line”.

Today I laughed – a lot – while texting with my brother, sister and mother.  This is nothing new – we text all the time, and they remind me how lucky I am to have a funny, thoughtful family.

This weekend, at Williamston Theatre, we had a very successful weekend of preview performances of The Nerd – the houses were packed and the laughs were plentiful!  Earlier today, I got to attend the first Production Meeting of our next show, A Painted Window, and the designer/director discussions about the piece were fantastic.  Tomorrow, I get to have my first designer discussion about the next show I’m directing, 1984, and I cannot WAIT!  I’m so thankful for my job, the opportunity to do what I do, and the chance to work with some of my closest friends in the world while doing it.

Those are the big things.  They’re also the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things I’m grateful for….. and that’s something else I’m grateful for!thank_you_by_psd_on_flickr.jpg

Giving Thanks…So Many Thanks

Today, I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with family. I got to chat on the phone and text or email with more family, and a ton of friends.

Right now, as the night winds down, we are relaxing at home. We had a great dinner at my in-laws, then the four of us came back here and watched a movie. Now Jeanne is at the table, working on a beautiful wooden jigsaw puzzle she got as a gift. Max is playing a game online with some of his buddies from school, laughing and yelling as they talk to each other over their headsets. Maggie had a workout and is just about to fall asleep…and I am thinking about how thankful I am to have had today.

Lord, I’m thankful to have been here for this day. I’m thankful for my wife and children, my parents and brother and sister, nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles. I’m thankful for all my in-laws, all of my amazing co-workers, my incredible friends, the wonderful “Team Tony”, and the skilled, dedicated, compassionate doctors and nurses and health-care professionals of St. Joe’s Hospital who very literally saved my life.

I’m thankful for a career I love, and the theatre I get to help run, and the people who support it. I’m thankful for the giant pile of leaves that we should’ve gotten to by now, but didn’t, and thankful for the wonderful way they smell and crunch and blow in the wind and I know that in the Spring they’ll be a mess to clean up…and I’m even thankful for that.

This list could go on until my fingers wear out from typing. Baseball, podcasting for Golden Spiral Media with my pal Joe, Prince’s new albums, directing one of my best friends in a beautiful play this week, my new coat, the pot of coffee my fabulous wife leaves for me every morning, the little jokes that only she and I will get, seeing my kids knock everyone’s socks off in their school play and being the proudest father to walk the planet.

Life. I am so thankful for life. And for the second chance at it. And for the clarity that there is joy to be found everywhere, and reasons to celebrate everything if you allow yourself to recognize and embrace them.

Thanks, Universe…for helping me remember that every day is worthy of giving thanks.

SO Much To Be Thankful For!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here in the USA, it’s a great day to take a look at and appreciate all the reasons we have to be thankful.

And boy oh boy, do I have things to be thankful for…








First and Foremost – these three people!  Just look at how awesome they are.  I am constantly amazed at how strong, talented, thoughtful and wonderful they are.

My parents and brother and sister, my whole extended family and in-laws.

The amazing technology that lets my family stay in touch and talk/text/share photos daily, even though now we all live far apart.

The doctors who are helping me solve my breathing and lung issues.

The Williamston Theatre, and the amazing family of people who I get to work with there.

Zombies:  Specifically, tv shows and games about them.

The fact that our power came back on after only 3 days of being out after the recent storm, and we have a warm place to live.

Our pets.

The wind storm that blew most of the leaves out of our yard.

The theatre industry in Michigan – thanks for letting me have a career for 20+ years.

Science Fiction!  Books, movies, games, tv shows!

The wonderful friends I’ve got, some who I’ve known since 1st grade, and some I’m just getting to know.

The fact that we can get a new coffee maker, and that I can have decaf coffee.

The fact that I’ve been able to mostly eliminate caffeine, and still enjoy decaf coffee.

The incredible people who donate time, money, energy and positivity to Williamston Theatre.  In the middle of our 8th season, it’s still amazing to me that it exists and prospers.

TV Talk, and getting to host a fun show there with my pal Joe.  A little extra income, a lot of fun, and a great new experience to learn from.

Those moments in the middle of the night, when I wake up and walk the house just to check on doors and kids, and the gentle breathing and talking-in-their-sleep sounds that my family make when they sleep.

My Fitbit Flex, which helps me keep motivated to stay in shape, and the LoseIt! app on my iPhone, which helps me track calories and glucose!

Major League Baseball!

Turkey and Stuffing.  With Gravy.

Slippers.  Man, I love wearing my slippers.

And pajama pants.  Warm ones.

Our elliptical running machine, and the “Zombies, Run!” app that I use while exercising! (Nothing like a good interactive zombie story to motivate you to lose some weight and get in shape!)

Almost 20 years of marriage to an amazing person.  The life we’ve built together.  It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darned great, and it’s ours!