So far the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 has been pretty amazing.
On December 26th, the day after Christmas, I directed the most incredible kids in A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant: In Concert at Feinsteins/54 Below and it was such a wonderful experience. The amount of talent on that stage from kids all under 14 was mind-blowing. I miss these kids all the time. Of course I couldn't do anything without my producer team of Jamison, Alyssa, Billy and Van, my music director Luke and my stage manager Dabney. It's not every day you get to teach kids about scientology--much less with kids who had either been on Broadway or Off--and then put a musical on about it, so it's fair to say this one was really special. While the show is worthy of side-splitting humor and is so intelligently written--it touches upon a real, scary issue which is that Scientology, which is a cult, is 100% legal and it reminded me that we should not ever normalize it. While I don't think Kyle and Alex ever had intentions of making fun of Scientologists, I believe at the very least the piece is critical, and asks questions. At what point is there a difference between a religion and a cult? What is a pageant? Why do we do them with children? Are they exploitative? And my favorite: What does the L. in L. Ron Hubbard stand for?
Almost immediately after the show, I went up to Bangor, Maine where Stephen King lives (!!!!! picture to the right !!!! )
to tour I'm Smiling Because I'm Uncomfortable in Emma's hometown. That was a really fun experience seeing as I had never been to Maine, and I finally got to meet some of the real-life people that Emma mentions in her piece which was really trippy. The tour was a huge success and we've been invited to Dickenson College to present for their Love Your Bodies week on February 16th, and I'm super excited to go. I never imagined I'd be invited by a college to present my work. In many ways, I feel like my own alma mater was almost begging me to not create work so it's awesome in the most unexpected way.
Speaking of body positivity (which, if this transition is lost on you--I'm Smiling Because... is a show all about social anxiety and discomfort with one's body) I wanted to share that almost two weekends ago I went to Bear Your Soul upstate at Easton Mountain and attempted to love my bear body. For those who don't know, a bear is a gay man who might be overweight or hairy--which is uh, me. But bear status is really more than that. It's an identity. One of playfulness, kindness, and body positivity. Here's a picture of what Easton Mountain's campus looks like. Beautiful.
Of course, not wasting any time I'm taking two assistant director positions right now. One, which is quite a bit more intensive is a concert of Phantom Of The Paradise with the music of Paul Williams at The Secret Loft on March 11, 12, 16, 26 (one Sunday, and every Monday night in March) with Weasel Wardance Productions directed/produced by Elann Danziger, produced by Lindsey Freeman with music direction by Emily Croome.
It's so great to be going back to the three things I love: dark musicals, working in cool, theatrical venues, and the influence of the sweet, sweet 70's. It's going to be totally groovy. We won't be able to send out the address publicly until patrons buy their tickets, but its around the Union Square area.
I will also be Assistant Directing Intimate Bar Plays with The Motor Company/The Instigators, devised by Fergus Scully and Lillian Meredith. It's going to be at Murphy's Tavern (977 2nd Ave) on February 24th, 27, March 4, March 6 and March 11th. I don't have any fun pictures for this.
My last thing that I'm FINALLY directing at one of my favorite theatres, The Flea!!! I'm directing for their #serialsattheflea series on 2/1, 2/2 and 2/3 at $11pm. Go to the Flea's website for more info! My playwright is Ali Keller.