FAR TOO LONG

Wow, everyone.  I’ve been away from you for such a long time.  I don’t have any excuse really.  I had this period where I wasn’t sure I had lots to say. But I feel like I want to reach out and let you know that I’m still here.  So where to begin.

Well, both of my shows have opened here at the Shaw Festival.  Guys and Dolls and Major Barbara.  It’s nice to not be rehearsing anymore.  A very interesting rehearsal period and wonderful to have two such different shows and such different positions within each.  In Guys and Dolls, I was playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson, a role that not many people would instantly think of me for but it’s really more where I imagine myself in my mind.  Because I grew up heavy, I always think of myself as a character actor, even when I’m playing a leading man.

For Major Barbara, I was the assistant director.  I also play a small part at the end of the show.  I’ve been asked why I’m doing this small role but it was worth it to get to work with Jackie Maxwell on the other side of the table and learn from her.  I had such a great time working with her on Ragtime.  She was so intelligent and generous and constantly searching for the truth of any and every moment that occurs onstage.  I wanted to walk through a production with her from the other side and it just worked out this way that I could.

Guys and Dolls was a different experience.  A bit mixed, I won’t lie.  (I won’t go into detail) But the cast is a wonderful, fun, loving, generous group of people. Our designers created a great world for us and our choreographer, Parker Esse was a marvel – so joyful and creative and positive; I cannot wait to work with him again. And, as always, Paul Sportelli is one of the finest musical directors I’ve ever worked with.

I was nervous about being shitty in the show after last year’s success with Ragtime.  Also because I knew it would be my last season here for a while.  Yes, folks, I don’t think I’ve said it officially but it’s time to get back to NYC. So once I’m done here, I’m off.  Back to my apartment in New York to really set up shop.  I will be back for a concert on Nov. 30.  Yeessssss a concert.  It’s part of a series at the Metropolitan Community Church – TWO OF A KIND.  It’s going to be me and Lola Cruikshank.  Now for those of you who saw my Christmas Cabaret last year, you met Lola.  Well she was such a hit, we are getting together again.  After all, it is her time of year.  Tickets are available now so pick up that phone and write it in your calendar.

Thom Allison and Lola Cruikshank

Date: November 30, 2013
Showtime: 8:00pm (Doors Open at 7:30pm)
Location: MCC Toronto in the Sanctuary Address: 115 Simpson Avenue, Toronto
TICKETS: 416-406-6228 x 103

And then I’m very happy to say I’ll be coming back to do Acting Up Stage’s revival of the sold-out acclaimed production of  ELEGIES: A SONG CYCLE in March/April of 2014.  I do have a special affinity for the show because it’s a show that surprised even the cast at how much the audience responded on such a visceral level and it was also my second Dora-nomination.  I know it’s cheesy to mention my own Dora nomination but screw it, it’s my blog …. Anyway, I’m thrilled to be getting together my castmates – Barbara Barsky, Steve Gallagher, Eliza-Jane Scott – along with our director, Lezlie Wade and our musical director, Wayne Gwillim to re-explore this wonderful piece. I’ll keep you posted as more details are available.

Beyond that, well, we’ll see what New York and the rest of the world has to offer.  A topic that keeps coming up in conversations a lot these days is the idea of living in the “I don’t know”.  Allow me to explain. We, as human beings (and no, don’t roll you eyes, thinking I’m going to get all metaphysical on you . . . or maybe I am… I promise nothing) anyway, as human beings, we get very preoccupied with working on knowing what we’re doing, where we’re going and how we’re gonna get there.  And yes, we must work our asses off – while still finding balance for peace of mind; and yes, we have to have goals and aspirations while still leaving room for the altering of those visions of ourselves, still keeping a trajectory of intention.  But the how in particular is a nebulous and potentially dangerous thing to “think” is in your hands directly.  But here’s the thing …  there is so much involved in the how that you can’t know about; things that can take hours, weeks, years to come to fruition that you can’t even conceive of until they land.  Yes, we can absolutely do the work on our ends – on whatever it is.  Work, self, personal relationships. But the universe has a whole slew of incidents it is cooking up that are impossible for us to know.

I’ll give you a for-instance.  Over The Rainbow, the TV show I was a judge on last year.  How did that happen?  Okay so I’ve worked my ass off to become a somewhat liked and moderately well-known musical theatre performer in Canada but I didn’t seek out a TV show.  I got a call last June “out of the blue”.    Hmm not so much.  I found out eventually that one of the lead producers on the show at CBC was an usher at the Princess of Wales theatre during Miss Saigon in, what? 1994/95 (I was in the original Canadian company) and she remembered me being really nice to her.  She also new I had gained some notoriety in the business … so when someone mentioned me as a possible judge . . . . she thought it was a good idea.  Miss Saigon was 19 years ago!!!  That’s a lot of brewing.  I couldn’t have known all of the “how” was going to happen but I did what I could on my end. I tried to be a good singing story-teller, and a good person.  And almost 20 years later, there was a big payoff.   One that may keep paying off.   I think it’s important to make friends with the “I don’t know”.  It means that anything can happen, anytime.

I have to be honest, I loved being on TV.  I don’t know if I talked about that in the last blog.  My God, what a trip. But people were soooo nice and there were lots of laughs. And it takes a lot of people to make that stuff go. Wonderful, hardworking people at the CBC and Temple Street Productions.  The biggest thing I realized is I WANT TO BE ON TV.  And as me.  I will gladly be on a sitcom or something but it never occurred to me that me on TV would make good TV and now I want to BE fun TV watching. (That was the weirdest sentence but I like it… it tickles)  So that is one of my new goals.  Just putting it out there. And whoever gets me on TV again first, gets the credit. 🙂

How much “I don’t know” is going on out there in your life.  Welcome it with open arms, my people.  The beauty of the moment after this one is . . . anything can happen.  Let this be the summer of “I DON’T KNOW”.


9 Responses to “FAR TOO LONG”

  1. Micah Barnes

    Thom Just had a quick skin before heading out to sing a tune at the JCC fundraiser..man that’s some strong writing… Some bodies on fire!

    Sent from my iPhone running from one thing to another!

  2. Audrey

    That’s wonderful news Thom. I think you have to go for what you think is good for you. NYC MUST be good for you.

    You were great as a judge for Over the Rainbow, so maybe there is something more for you to do on TV. I think you’re a fabulous entertainer and will succeed in anything you put your mind to.

    Break and leg or whatever you say in the enertainment world to wish someone all the best life has to offer.

    Kudos Thom,

    Love Audrey

  3. Mel Dade

    To date, I’ve seen Guys and Dolls three times–yes, I’m obsessed, plus, I have a friend who plays in the orchestra. I’m sure I’ll see it again before the season is over. I had heard how wonderful your performance was in Ragtime and I’m sorry I missed it. Do you think I’ve made up for it with my repeated visits this year ?
    I saw you riding from the theatre after the matinee on 27 June, and on my way out of town, I was able to say hi and congratulate you from my car window while you unlocked your bike.

    Your blog post has touched a nerve with the concept of making friends with “I don’t know”. Although I’m not in the business,I am a visual artist, a musician with a military band and have worked in the film industry. Closer to 50 than 45, I’m at a crossroads with what I want to do and know that there’s great power in letting go.
    If you don’t mind me saying: You remind me of John Barrowman as your paths are quite similar. I’ve seen what he’s done in his career and with your goal of being in television, I have no doubt that you’ll be a success.

    As I’ve mentioned above, I expect to see G & D at least one more time and would love to meet you at the stage door.
    Cheers, Thom !
    Mel (Melissa) Dade

    • Hi Mel,

      I’m so sorry for how late this comes. I haven’t checked my blog in a long time. I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk more at the stage door but thank you for the generous words. I’m so glad the blog inspired you. That’s always a wonderful thing to hear and what I like about blogs. They can sometimes inspire, sometimes inform, sometimes entertain and sometimes explain.

      Sending you the best wishes for the New Year and beyond.

      Thom

  4. Cheryl Kaufman

    Just saw ‘Guys and Dolls’ and you were the highlight of the show. My Dad especially loved ‘Sit Down You’re Rockin the Boat’. He’s still talking about it. We saw ‘Ragtime’ last year and it was wonderful. We had no idea what to expect and were very happily surprised. Sorry you won’t be there next year but look forward to seeing you on Broadway.
    Cheryl

  5. Brenda Morris

    We were at Guys and Dolls last night and absolutley enjoyed it!

    I must say that you “stole the show” with Sit down,You’re Rockin’ the Boat! You really got the audience going!

    We couldn’t stop talking about you after the show ended!

    You were very memorable as a judge on Over the Rainbow also!

    Good Luck in NYC and have a great time!

    We will be watching for you!

    Brenda and Jeff


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