CHOOSE JOY #1

Hi y’all.  I always mean to be consistent with the blogs because I quite love writing them, and then I don’t write.  What is that about?  I think so many people have that occurrence where there is something you like to do but you never give yourself the time or take the time to do it.  Well . . . .this is it.  Anyway…. Here I am.  I have so many things in my head but I don’t know where to start.

It has been the most unusual and wonderful and sad year.  I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this busy professionally.  The year started off with the filming of KILLJOYS Season 4 at the end of January.  This season I had lots of fun things to do in this season which is unfolding now so I can’t talk about details or they will have to kill me.  Juuuuuust kidding.

While I was filming that, I was planning and directing Micah Barnes new Las Vegas-themed stage show, MICAH BARNES AT THE SANDS, which went up on May 14 and was a big success. I was also prepping/planning for the production of Stephen Sondheim’s A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC that I directed for Randolph College for the Performing Arts in August.

https://www.ticketmaster.ca/randolph-college-presents-a-little-randolph-college-for-the-performing-toronto-on/venueartist/131076/2464422

Through this, I was also creating and learning a one man show for a series of house concerts I was doing at the end of June for The Musical Stage Company.  Which I am also on the board of, which I am loving.

Also in June I shot 7 new episodes of the other TV show I’m doing, called YOUR ALL-TIME CLASSIC HIT PARADE, which is sort of a variety show.  It’s sweet. It’s a bit of a throwback to the Hit Parade shows of the … what is it, the 50’s?  It’s a cast of 6 singers and a 3-piece band and we sing songs of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  It’s hosted by the wonderful Marilyn Lightstone who is one of the loveliest people in the business.  It’s also her brainchild.  David Warrack is our amazing musical director and he is creating these fantastic arrangements that are witty, and charming and sometimes hilarious.

Then we came back for more KILLJOYS and I have 3 more episodes of YOUR ALL-TIME CLASSIC HIT PARADE to film in two weeks.  While at the same time, I’m prepping the production of MARY POPPINS that I’m directing at Young People’s Theatre this Chrismas.

https://www.youngpeoplestheatre.ca/shows-tickets/mary-poppins/

I’ll be teaching an Intensive for YPT at the end of August as well that I’m excited about.  Using the material from Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS to explore how to take apart/investigate/perform musical theatre songs.  It’s for post-post-secondary students and I’m so looking forward to playing with them.

We finish – mostly – KILLJOYS by the end of September.  Then I’ll head to the UK for a Fan Event Starfury Conventions, Oct. 12-14

http://www.starfury.co.uk/

Then MARY POPPINS starts on Oct. 15 and opens Nov. 8 and runs until Jan. 6.  Then I will be doing a tour of Adrian Marchuk’s fantastic Andrew Lloyd Webber concert.  We’re hitting theatres around Ontario.  We’re doing 8 concerts between Nov. 16 and Dec. 1

THEN I do a 2-week workshop with Nightswimming which is always I joy. I love Brian Quirt, who owns and runs Nightswimming. He is smart and funny and so wonderful to work with.  Then it’s Christmas.  And there are several other 1-offs and stuff like that along the way.  It’s a full and wonderful year.

On the personal side of things, my family is facing some rather sad times health-wise which started at the beginning of the year which has taken it’s toll on my peace of mind so it’s been really good to be so busy and to have the money to go back and forth to my family in Winnipeg.

What has been good is I’ve been really thinking about where I want to be going, professionally.  And having this year of doing film and TV work, concerts, variety show, directing, I’m getting a taste of many things.  One of the areas I’m finding an increasing delight in is directing.  I just finished A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC a week ago.  1. I really enjoyed directing and 2. I enjoy the teaching aspect too. I didn’t think I would enjoy students but the more I teach, the more I’m enjoying.  I never really thought I would have much to offer but the more I teach, the more I find.

My impulse to perform is changing. I don’t need it the way I used to.  I’m saying yes only to stage projects that really interest me.  I don’t really have a bucket list anymore.  There are so many roles I’ve already gotten to play that I never thought I would, I’m not feeling like I missed anything.  I still want to play MAME, yes…. you heard that right, MAME.  But I’m loving teaching. I’m loving directing.  I still think I’d love to host a cooking show… or any show really.  I like being ME on TV.  hahaha.  Wait, was that out loud… Nope, not sorry.

I feel like I have a much greater need – and I have written this before but it’s really where I am – a much greater need to focus what I’m doing.  I don’t feel contented.  I can feel a low-grade anxiety about finding my real golden place.  I can always tell where I am emotionally by my relationship to my weight.  I’ve been very candid about my struggle with bulimia in my 20’s, which left me with a complicated relationship with food.  Well, though I don’t have full-blown episode, I still gain weight with emotional stress.  I do lose it again with work but it becomes exhausting. I try to breathe and stay easy but it’s very informative.  It tells me when I’m not okay.

Now, having said that, my “not okay” is not hugely intense.  But it’s mine which leads me into other thoughts I wanted to share.

People who know me well, know that my life motto is CHOOSE JOY.  And that doesn’t mean “be happy all the time” because not only is that impossible, it’s infantile.  What it means is, at every turn, after every event we can’t control, we have the opportunity to CHOOSE JOY.

Think about that.  Someone cuts you off on the street – you can A. become insanely angry and yell and speed after them and possibly get yourself killed and ruin your day with your fury or B. you can make sure you’re okay, realize they will probably get in trouble or an accident at some point and CHOOSE let it go and go back to enjoying your day.  Or if you get fired, you can A. fill with self-pity, whine about it to everyone who will listen and hole up in your apartment for a month eating squeeze cheese from a can or B. have a quick cry, go have a drink with a friend and CHOOSE to realize you were probably stifled there, realize you are now free to go after and be free for the job you really want and got on with pursuing your real life.  But the point is, YOU HAVE CHOICES always.  You can’t control all of what happens to you but you CAN control what you do the next second after it happens.   And once you realize that, your life becomes your own. So…. what are you waiting for … CHOOSE JOY. #choosejoy


2 Responses to “CHOOSE JOY #1”

  1. Erin Conrad

    I’m learning that “finding my golden place” is not actually something to strive for. I gave up searching – it’s thinking that you have to actually get somewhere, that if you only do THIS, you’ll find it, that causes the anxiety. Instead, I’m loving the journey itself without worrying about the end point. I’m not always happy about the turns and dead ends I find – but I can accept that they’re going to happen, and accept that they’re teaching me something. It sounds like your journey recently is full of wonderful and joyous moments, with the teaching and directing – instead of being anxious about finding A golden place, revel in the golden MOMENTS instead. The golden place changes. It’s not a fixed point – it’s a combination of this moment’s desires, people, opportunities…. and tomorrow, you’ll be anxious because those desires, people and opportunities are very likely to change, and your golden place won’t be enough any more. Who needs that constantly shifting anxiety? Love the moment, and don’t wish it was more, or different, or better. That’s what I’m learning, every day.


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