What just happened?
It seems like four minutes ago when I packed up the rumbling, rambling 2005 Sentra with the broken side-view mirror and aimed it at Northampton and New Century Theatre where I was about to direct LEND ME A TENOR. Now it’s a week past the non-waiver deadline and I’ve director not only TENOR but also GUYS AND DOLLS with the Greater Lowell Music Theatre.
And…wait, let me check—yes, it’s true—the Red Sox are in first place. Clearly this can’t last. I mean, they were PICKED for last by pundits in the contiguous 48 and beyond, and yet…well, it can’t last. Right? Right. Good. I feel better now.
I had directed LEND ME A TENOR a number of years ago at the Lyric Stage in Boston and it was one of the great experiences of my life. So I went into this second TENOR, not with apprehension, but rather with a sense of “Well, that can’t happen again, so just enjoy the ride and hope for the best.” Well, it did happen again, mainly because, as I’ve espoused so often to anybody who will listen, “Directing is Casting.” And my second TENOR, like my first TENOR, boasted a cast from, if not Heaven, from at least very, very high up in the acting stratosphere. Okay, Heaven. I won’t name names because I am far too lazy, but my New Century cast grabbed Ken Ludwig’s bull by the theatrical horns and, with precision, clarity and comic instincts worthy of Phil Silvers (my hero), delivered a knockout punch. Directing is very, very overrated. The best directing is done in the casting session. I am a good caster.
Before GUYS AND DOLLS, I traveled back to Noho to participate in the eastern Memorial Service for my recently-deceased pal and onstage collaborator, Phil Kilbourne. It proved to be a wonderful evening with many old friends in attendance, and some brilliantly executed tributes during the ceremony. Phil would have loved it. Plus, I got to sing one of Phil’s favorite tunes, “Goodness, Gracious Me” with the inimitable Sandra Blaney. And, yes, I looked up “inimitable” and, yes, it works here.
I co-founded New Century with Sam Rush and have co-founded The Greater Lowell Music Theatre with Lee Grande and Phyllis George. Now, with Managing Director Donna White on board, and the enthusiastic backing of Paul Marion, Marty Meehan and lots of folks at UMass Lowell, we are a fully-functioning theatre. Seems the only way I can get work is to start a theatre and work there. Whatever. GUYS AND DOLLS was our third show, and first full-scale (almost) production. I say (almost) because we are not able as yet to bombard the audience with flying set pieces and turntables and all those nutty things those rich Broadway folks can do. But we told the story by putting onstage some fantastic performers (see my casting riff above) and telling the Loesser/Burrows/Swerling/Runyon tale with what I hope was perceived as aplomb. You can see a song from the show HERE:
GLMT will be back. You can find our web site HERE.
If you want to play along, either as a performer, or in some kind of backstage capacity, or if you’d like to make a donation…let me know via the web site.
Okay, that's it for now...Wait, let me check…yes, they’re still in first place.