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.
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”.