"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
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, Posterity. I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As we head into the colder weather, here's a little beach tune for you from Walk Off The Earth.
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.
Here's your video zen for the day. A little Mike Nichols continuous shot action, a little Busby Berkeley shot from above action, a little drone work, a little high speed… Got to love it.
And here's a little background on the how and who… Motion Grapher.
Delighted by the poster art for the new NYC & Company campaign encouraging New Yorkers to explore our own city. These hearken back to another collection of tourism posters that I love from the WPA period.
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.
Please to enjoy:
the website: http://theensemblist.com
on PodBean: http://theensemblist.podbean.com
on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-ensemblist
First Published by NYTImes on Dec 31, 2012
When Christoph Niemann stumbled on a "Fresh Air" interview with Maurice Sendak, wild things started to transpire.
(best with headphones)
Today's ukulele zen comes via a bass zen find. Listen/look at both. I think I'm in love...
(Love those chord changes, Kate. Gonna steal 'em.)
And here's how I found Kate this morning...
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
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.
Thanks for all your help, people. I'm now an official candidate. Check out my campaign HERE.
Hi, Guys. If you're a paid-in-full, member in good standing of Actors' Equity Association, I need your help.
I've decided to put my name in to run for AEA council for the first time. Though I'm technically qualified to run either as an Ensemble or a Principal candidate, I've decided for a few reasons to run to fill one of the three open Eastern Region Principal 4-year term seats.
The first step in the process is collecting Nominating Petition signatures. If you're in NYC and care to add your name to my petition there are two ways to do so.
1) Hunt me down. I've got copies of the petition on me and a working pen.
2) Print out the PDF below, sign it (including your AEA member #), and drop it off at the Neil Simon Theater stage door, my attention, by noon next Friday, March 7th, 2014 . Or, if you're far away but still want in, you can snail mail it to me:
15 Magaw Place
NY, NY 10033
Scanned, emailed, and faxed copies don't count, so this takes the death of trees and some leg work.
If you decide to print it out and sign it, check around you to see if there are any other friendly AEA members who might care to sign as well. I mean, let's kill as few trees as possible. Right?
I appreciate any help you can throw my way.
At drinks last night, Jonathan Hadary (I love that man) told me about the new version of the tv commercial for All The Way. Besides the primary "hey, look, that's really Bryan Crantson" pitch they're also flogging the size of the cast. So my name (though I'm truly in a minor role) is right there on the screen. Blink and you'll miss it, but it's there. Bizarre.
And, yes, he really is a great guy.
(Cranston not Hadary. I'm mean they're both great but you're probably wondering about Cranston, right?)