From The Mailbag...
So, Mr. Performer, when you get to see an amazing show like the one you described, how does it influence YOUR acting? Do you spin off into how you might write your next one?
Well, it totally does. I think the best way to learn excellence is to experience it. To see a great work of art in one's field automatically raises the bar on what you can envision as a possibility. As you know, we've gotten great reviews for our show, but that doesn't automatically turn me into Sondheim. So much of our great reception comes from our story, how real it is, Jimmy's superb book, and, frankly, luck.
But for me, as I work on new music, once I see something as great as Grey Gardens, I start to think how I can achieve similar results. How I can find a way to more intricately mix book, music and lyrics.
As for my acting, I feel like I learn something new every night. I'm still trying to simply stay as "present" as possible every single moment on stage. To say my words meaningfully and to keep it "real." As I learned when my voice was weak, I don't need to "act" or "push." I can just be there, say the words and let the emotions come to me as naturally as possible. It's a moment to moment thing and it can only be done by concentrating, wholly and completely, while on stage.
I have so much more to learn, but where else better could I learn than in a city filled with the best stage actors in the world?