Showing posts from June, 2012

Rufus Finds TLS Tasty.

Today, I'm laid up with a sore throat. Luckily, I was able to slide into my doctor's office between appts. to get a test and a prescription. So, all is well. I just have to stay still, warm and quiet. But, I was feelin' a big down when I saw this:
That adorable face belongs to a Rufus, who lives with a friend of mine, J.R. Stuart, an acting coach at Indiana University Southeast, an actor, producer, director and god knows what else -- we ALL have to be all of those things in this business. Apparently, Rufus loved it. He commented, particularly, on sweet insouciance of the binding glue.
With the renewed attention coming to TLS by the London production, I'm starting to get more and more inquiries -- especially from people in college towns. TLS has great educational value about AIDS and does it in a humorous and entertaining, almost family friendly way. Maybe not for young kids, though I remember the 10 year old in Laguna who sat in the front seat, riveted.
When Rob Harr…

Remembering the Plague.

This new production of The Last Session brings back a lot of painful memories. Andrew Sullivan has been discussing this on his blog.
People forget that HIV decimated the immune system - but people actually died from the opportunistic infections. These "OI"s were something out of Dante's Hell. So many drowned to death from pneumocystis. Or they would develop hideous KS lesions, or extremely painful neuropathy (my "buddy" screamed once when I brushed a bedsheet against the tip of his toes), or CMV where a friend of mine had to inject himself in the eyeball to prevent going blind, or toxoplasmosis, a brain degenerative disease where people wake up one day to find they can't tie their shoe-laces, and their memories are falling apart. Within the gay community, 300,000 deaths amounted to a plague of medieval dimensions. Once you knew your T-cells were below a certain level, it was like being in a dark forest where, at any moment, some hideous viral or bacterial c…

Why Teach Music?


"The Last Session" will open in London, Fall 2012.

In a brand-spanking new production, Climar Productions in London will produce the first U.K. production of "The Last Session." Ticketing info. The Playbill story.

This is news I've been sitting on for months, dying to tell everyone. But it's not just bad luck to announce something too early, if there's a glitch of some kind before the last "i" is dotted, you just end up disappointing everyone.

Even though it's been 15 years since it debuted Off-Broadway, I get emails and random handshakes (when out and about) from people I never knew who tell me that the show had a profound impact on them that has resonated through the years.

One of these people is a guy -- a producer in London -- named Rob Harris.

Rob wrote us a few months ago, saying that back in 1997, he and his partner, Simon, were visiting from London. Simon had gone to see a show that Rob -- who was a young agent back then -- wasn't interested in, so he wandered over to the TKTS booth to …

Mark Evanier's Nail-Biting Ray Bradbury Story.

If you are a comic book geek, or were ever a Ray Bradbury fan, or comic book geek, especially in the 50s/60s/70s, (or both!) Mark Evanier is recounting a story about a historic meeting he precariously arranged with the late Ray Bradbury and horror comic publisher, Al Feldstein (and Julius Schwartz).

It starts here, continues here and here. And he's left us at a fabulous cliffhanger.

EDIT: Which now here in part 4.

Ann Rutherford (Gone With The Wind) Has Died.

Here is a video I made of her, once, with filmmaker Rick McKay asking her questions.

Space Shuttle Enterprise Entering New York


Zachary Maitlin is going to be a star.

I was standing in Shubert Alley just after the Irish Rep's annual big musical all-star fundraiser, held at the Shubert Theater. Two friends of ours from Chicago were in, visiting. Two highly talented directors.

"Where did they find that kid?" he asked." I never see this show done by someone so naturally himself. Usually it's done by some older boy who's small, and who's a real Broadway type." Meaning, someone who looks "trained."

Zachary had this unabashed ability to just stand and be himself. Quiet. Unassuming. Real. Would that we all had the ability to just stand and be ourselves, quiet and unassuming.

I thought, wait. That sounds like the bonus round! How can a kid this young already be in the bonus round? Or is this how we start, and then we circle back around and find it again?

(Anyway, for the record, I'm not professionally associated with this kid, nor is this some kind of publicity stunt for anyone. I don't know if he had …

Calling Out Kolecki.

I stood up at choir rehearsal yesterday morning, interrupting the gentle, friendly chatter of the singers, just after Mark -- our conductor -- stepped out to find copies of some ancient hymnal, the only one that contains a certain arrangement of a song written in 1855, which Fr. Hamblin had designated as the communion hymn. (The hymn, btw, was musically complex and just gorgeous, written by Bonar, which fellow tenor Stephen Wilde and I decided he wrote just to counteract the effect of playground ridicule he must have endured for having a name that sounds like boner -- which will give you the 'tenor' of our level of humor).

In a very stern, sober voice, I loudly proclaimed, "If anyone here finds a piece of sheet music with the name 'Kolecki' on it, it is to be immediately destroyed! Do not sing it! Do not even touch it!  I came in here and saw a Psalm with Paul Kolecki's name on it! I'm the court composer here! And I'm calling you out Kolecki! What is …

Please join us for Mark Janas' 60th B'day Party & Fundraiser. June 9th.

As many readers of this blog know, my friend and musical mentor and teacher, Mark Janas, recently had brain surgery. And we want to support him and celebrate him through his recovery. If you know him or have ever worked with him, RSVP for the party and come on down. GREAT entertainment is planned, including Jim Brochu and myself doing a couple of songs from The Big Voice: God or Merman?, for which Mark helped me edit the score.

Theater review: Potted Potter, the unauthorized Harry experience.

Potted Potter, the unauthorized Harry Experience, which just opened at the Little Shubert here in NY, from several years touring England and Edinburgh, with its original cast of Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, is the kind of family-friendly/adult-friendly show that is so proud of its silliness, you get swept up in the fun of it all, even if you're a 58 year old man who gave up reading the series at about book four. (The conceit of the show is that they promise to condense the entire series down to 70 minutes.)

When I arrived at Potted Potter and saw that I was surrounded by kids I thought, "Oh, dear. This is going to be a long afternoon." I mean kids and theater? I could just imagine the chaos ahead of me as the kids start running in the aisles or bawling or whining or crying.

Nightmare in Diagon Alley.

I was wrong. And here's why.

The kids got all the jokes. Not only did they get the jokes, along with a few ridiculous references to Lord of the Rings and Mary P…

68th Annual Theatre World Awards.

What a pleasure it was to attend the Theatre World Awards, the warmest awards show in town.. We had tickets for the balcony, but we're too big to sit in most Broadway seats very comfortably, so Jim said, "Let's sneak into a box."

Normally, I hate box seats. I want to be out front. You hardly see the actors' faces in a box seat. So, like a scene from a Lucy Show, we crawled into the closest box seat to the stage. The Belasco Theater looked like this from our vantage point:

And then this was posted to Facebook:
I grabbed our camera and, turning off the flash, started taking pics of the stage, which, as you can see, was right below us.

Though we wore a coat and tie, these awards are not intended for the glamorous crowd. It's a very particular award and you can only get it once because it's awarded for the most outstanding Broadway and Off-Broadway debuts of the year. There are no nominations and no stress. They choose six men and six women given to them…

New York Morning Light.


Queen Elizabeth is in the Bonus Round

You know, that's the new paradigm for life. You go and you go, do as much as you can. And then, at the end, nice and quick.

That was my doctor today.

Tests were good. A1c down to 6.3. That's good! You were up to 9. Cholesterol normal.

But the kidneys.

This combo you're on, he said, one of the three meds. I call it a poisonette. To the kidneys. Like chemo. In fact, it's just like chemo. The next wave of therapies are going to emphasize empowering the immune system.

Nothing to worry about just yet. Are you hydrating?

I tell him how I make my own sugarfree lemonade with truvia.

Come back in a month and let's look again.

He's talking about changing combos. I hate changing combos. He can tell.

It's nothing to worry about.

You go and you go in life, do as  much as you can. And then, at the end, take a bow wearing a fabulous hat.

 Photo on John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Image

Jason Mraz in the Bonus Round.

I like how he talks about having stepped up to the edge of suicide, but then thought, well, as long as I'm gonna die anyway, I might as well do everything I can. What's to lose? We all have to learn the lessons in life, one at a time. In the Bonus Round, together we're going it alone.

I Won't Give Up (VH1 Storytellers Sneak) - Music Videos - Live Performances

What A Scene Is About.

As I sat in Andy Gale's acting class, yesterday, I thought about a graphic on Facebook about beloved "Desperate Housewives" actress Kathryn Joost, who just passed away at age 72.

There was a time in this world's history when even LIVING to 42 was considered an accomplishment. That she began her career at that age is truly an example of Living in the Bonus Round. When most people have already set their life's course and have more or less planned the rest of their existence, she decided to begin hers.

I got up to do my "scene." I mentioned it before. It's the last speech in the play "As Is." By a hospice worker. The first time I read it out loud, I bawled like a baby and knew that it was a powerful "read." Half the other actors were also bawling their eyes out! And it more or less gave me hope that I wasn't going to make a fool of myself, starting my acting training at age 58.

But, then, after memorizing it, I stood up to deli…

54 Below is a Cut Above.

It was just a trial night, not even a soft opening. Some drinks were available; a sampling of (delicious) finger food. And a kick-ass band trying out the new stage, with its expert lighting design and perfectly balanced sound system that managed to be fully present without being too loud to hear every word and every syllable of the singer.

And when the singer is Terese Genecco and her Rat Pack era swing band (piano, bass, drums, sax, trumpet & slide trombone--The Little Big Band) expertly kicking ass, you don't want to have to worry about whether you can hear her. Or whether she can hear herself. You don't want the brass overwhelming the piano or the singer. And, by Jove, they've made a perfect listening space.

This night, Jim and I were just a few of the friends allowed to sit, watch, eat and drink in "54 Below," a stylish and sumptuous new cabaret space about to open, yesterday profiled in the NY Times. (Go there for more great pictures and to read more ab…