AKB #Forever17 and Tuck Everlasting

I have been admiring (from a distance) Andrew Keenan-Bolger onstage and on camera (and behind the camera) for a while now. He's an inspiring creative artist and a remarkable citizen of the theatre. Now that I'm in a company with him, I find there's just more and more to admire. Take a look at his first vlog installment for Broadway.com and Tuck Everlasting

What you see if what you get with this man. And what you get is quality, through and through.

Visionaries, Architects, and Engineers

We need all three on the Actors' Equity Association Council. 

Last year's election brought some really great new blood into the council room. As I make my voting decisions this year I'm looking for candidates who have proven records of shepherding change within the complicated constructs of Equity. I am looking for candidates who will partner with the new blood, speak for membership, and move our union forward.

In the Eastern Principal category I am voting for and fully support the following candidates:

Wally Dunn
Bryan Myers Cooper
Jeff Applegate
Francis Jue
Jimmy Ludwig

They possess, as individuals and as a group, imagination, passion, and pragmatic discipline. They have, through their prior service of our membership, accumulated intellectual as well as emotional wisdom regarding our very complex union that is beyond value. 

I have personal experience with all five of these candidates, serving on or observing committees on which they serve, watching them carry out the work of council in both regional and national sessions, and in seeking their help and advice on my behalf or on the behalf of fellow members. I believe in them. 

Please read their statements, review their candidate speeches, check out their web presence, or… just take my word for it and vote for them. 

But, whatever you do, VOTE! Here are some handy links for you: 

Wally Dunn - http://ift.tt/1NlgQzV 
Bryan Myers Cooper - http://ift.tt/1NlgTf1 
Jeff Applegate - http://ift.tt/1NlgTf4 
Francis Jue - http://bit.ly/JueForAEA 
Jimmy Ludwig - http://ift.tt/1NlgQQe 

Voting Information - http://ift.tt/1NlgTf6 (requires AEA Member Portal login)

New Year

"Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page. Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past." -Henry Ward Beecher

Staring On The A Train

I spend my southbound ride on the A train staring at a man at work. He's an actor. One I've seen on stage a few times since I moved here. One whom I admire. We're kind of the same type, though he is, I think, a little older. The roles I've seen him play are roles I would like to play. His palate is a subtle brain and heart balance I always find compelling and hope I share.


I'm staring not because of what I've seen him do in the past, but because of what he's doing right now. Right before my eyes. On the A train. He's working. He's creating. He has a script in one hand, a pencil in the other, and he is mouthing words and making notes and his face is changing then changing then changing with movement and stillness and thought. 

I stare because I want to know. I want to know: is he running lines or trying out reads or just letting thoughts bubble up? Is he retracing the path of yesterday's work to remind himself where to pick up today? Is he looking ahead? How does he do what he does? What could I learn?

I love the A train from 181st to 42nd Street. There are often one or more of us reviewing sides or sheet music. For an audition, probably. Usually. But my favorite is when there's an entire script or score in someone's lap and fingers and lips are quietly moving, only hinting at what's firing away inside. They are not chasing work, they are at work. 

I assume Henry Stram—for that is the man across the way—is working on Doug Wright's new play, PosterityI just received a mailer from The Atlantic Theater Company saying that Mr. Stram will be appearing in that piece starting later this month. I'd go, if I were you. He's always worth watching. On stage and on the A train.

Situational Awareness • After The Hub & Beyond Traditional TV

Two interesting items in this morning's NYTImes:

Hasbro Apres le Hub

The toymaker Hasbro is in advanced talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, potentially gaining a new big-screen outlet for its wares...
...Hasbro’s four-year joint venture with Discovery Communications to establish a children’s cable channel, the Hub Network, ended in October when Discovery bought a controlling stake and rebranded the channel Discovery Family.


Skating To Where The New Media Puck Is Going

"...with broadband coming in, the future of television is apps, smart TV, cord-cutting, so my goal is not to become a big network in the traditional sense.”
In producing content for the website, Mr. Harris is recruiting people who are already successful in the realm of video, whether on television, online or on social media platforms like Vine and YouTube.


Inspiration • Donald Palumbo

I worked in the wardrobe department at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in the late 80's. It was my summer job while completing my BFA in Musical Theatre at Webster University. The opera company, as it does to this day,  worked on the same main stage as the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. And my school.

Donald Palumbo, the Metropolitan Opera’s chorus master, rehearsing about 150 chorus members for “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.”  Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Donald Palumbo, the Metropolitan Opera’s chorus master, rehearsing about 150 chorus members for “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.” 

Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

I started as a chorus dresser and graduated up to principal male dresser over two seasons. I loved it. I learned so much. I was surrounded by object lessons in art and life. 

Donald Palumbo was one of those who taught me, though I'm sure he wasn't aware of it. Because he was the chorus master he was backstage. A lot. Just as he continues to be in his current tenure at The Metropolitan Opera. He was, therefore, the artistic leader/creator whom I could most closely observe from my position backstage.

Donald Palumbo, the Metropolitan Opera’s chorus master.  Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Donald Palumbo, the Metropolitan Opera’s chorus master. 

Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

What I learned from him then, like most lessons in my life, I continue to try and try and try to remember and integrate into my life and work today. I'm not a great student. I feel like I never really finish learning any lesson. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't.

No detail is too small. They all count.

The work is never done.

The work is not theoretical. It is actual.

They (the audience) may not know it, but they will feel  it.

The wings are still the world of the opera (the play, the dance).

I am so fortunate to have had the chance to witness this man's work up close.

He is a part of the artistic compass I carry with me now.

Video : The Pulse of Amazing Grace

Here's a lovely video (by the lovely Beatrice Copeland*) featuring Grant Braddock, the percussionist on Amazing Grace here in Chicago.

Love that in the final shot from the top left to the lower right of the frame you can see all four of our core music staff: MD Joe Church in the conductor video monitor, Grant, Associate Conductor/keyboard Julie McBride, and Assistant Conductor/keyboard Dan Pardo.

*Follow Beatrice Copeland on Vimeo, Instagram, and check out her site at www.beatricecopeland.com.

I'm On A Podcast!

Not just a podcast, but the wonderful creation of Nikka Graff Lanzarone and Mo Brady, The Ensemblist. I've been loving this podcast since it's launch last year. And recently I got the call to be a guest. Only one Broadway credit to my name, but they asked anyway. 

Christopher Gurr, Leah Hofman, Nick Corley

Christopher Gurr, Leah Hofman, Nick Corley

Ukulele Zen • Spencer Moses

If you don't have Spencer Moses' uke videos showing up in your on-line stream… well, I'm just sad for you. That's all. Here's a recent one to give you a peek into his loveliness:

I'll See You In My Dreams (1924, music by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn)

For more Moses, head over here - www.spencermoses.com

Video • Kevin Spacey's NOW

Looks interesting. As does the distribution model. And AEA members (or really anyone who uses the code) can get a buck off the the digital download. Code : ACTORS

Come on, Spacey, you can give us a better break than a buck, don't you think?

For the showing dates and times at IFC in NYC click HERE.