… There’s something due any day, I will know right away, soon as it shows. It may come cannonballing down through the sky gleam in it’s eye, bright as a rose…
“Something’s Coming” from Leonard Berstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story.
What is your passion? Baseball? Golf? Opera? Graphic Novels? Shakespeare? Politics? Soup Kitchens? Helping the needy?…
There was a time in your life where you were deeply touched, moved, compelled even, to pursue your passion. When you saw Ozzie Smith make diving catches in the 1982 World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals;
Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer win any number of their majors;
when you first read The Sandman series of Neil Gaiman;
seeing Laurence Olivier play Hamlet or Richard III;
when you saw your local congressman make a change in your community that hadn’t been accomplished for years and years of lobbying by other representatives…
and that moment or moments propelled you into the line of work you do creating a desire to recapture that moment for yourself.
That event can create a desire so strong that you seek to capture it, or recapture it, for yourself over and over in your life.
I was raised in a home where religion was a major focus of our daily lives. My father was a preacher and my mother was the church organist.
I began singing at an early age and the songs I sang were telling an “important message” with a deep meaning. We weren’t a religiously fanatical family but as the son of the leader of a church what I said through song was of the utmost importance to be heard and understood. It may hold sway over important spiritual choices people make.
As I grew up and was introduced to theatre I had a wonderful time entertaining an audience, making them laugh and having a great ol’ time. But when I was introduced specifically to music theatre that had an “important message” or “something to say” but was equally entertaining I was taken, taken with a capital T-A-K-E-N.
Shows like Sweeney Todd, Sunday In The Park With George, Cabaret, Chicago…
Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury and George Hearn.
Joel Grey in Cabaret.
…musicals that addressed topics that are serious but done in a non-preachy way, which my dad had a great talent for doing in his sermons; entertaining, fun, humorous but ultimately an event that left you thinking and talking about for a very long time.
My career has been about keeping a keen eye out for that opportunity and I’ve had quite a few.
Floyd Collins: A musical about a Kentucky caver who gets trapped in a tight squeeze and the media circus that essentially danced on the grave of the man while everyone fought over the best way to save him.
Next To Normal: A musical about a woman suffering from bi-polar disorder and how her family deals with the immense roller coaster ride and serious consequences of her emotional fragility.
And now The Visit: A musical about love, deceit, revenge and back again to love that transcends time.
I am one lucky bastard to have opportunities like this, and not unlike my father in his “calling” to preach I feel that sharing musicals of substance that have something to say is somewhat a “calling” for me. I’m not saving any souls but, in a way, if we can reflect on some of the deeper issues in life through entertainment, maybe we can make our journey through this world a little more meaningful.
The Visit begins previews tonight March 26th 2015 and we open on April 23rd. This is a monumental piece of theatre that I hope you take the time to see.
“You be good… and I’ll try.”