Category Archives: Gigs

My kids

Many of my Webster University voice students are engaged this summer in theatre work.

Jacob Flekier (BFA Musical Theatre ’19) is in 101 Dalmations at Stages in June, and then returns to Saint Louis to play Eugene Morris Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs at New Jewish Theatre in October. https://jacobflekier.com/

with Jacob Flekier after his last show at Webster.

Cecily Dowd (Musical Theatre rising junior) is at Ozark Actors Theatre in Rolla, performing in My Fair Lady.

Noah Cornwell (Musical Theatre rising senior) heads to Hope, Michigan for a summer full of roles at the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre.

Phil Solheim (rising sophomore in Musical Theatre) is at Crane River Theatre in Kearney, Nebraska in Newsies.

Benjamin B. Love (BFA Musical Theatre ’19) appears at The Muny in 1776, playing the role of Leather Apron.  He heads to Minneapolis after that to rehearse for the China leg of Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol Live tour, which takes him to multiple locations in China, October – January 2020. benjaminblove.com

with Ben Love after his final show at Webster.

Sarah Dao (Musical Theatre rising sophomore) is in Kansas City for part of the summer, in Pippin with Music Theatre Kansas City.

Magnus Kroken (Musical Theatre rising sophomore) goes to Shawnee Theatre in Indiana for a show.


My Music Directing major are staying busy too!
https://musicchair.wordpress.com/2019/04/24/my-mdmt-majors/

 

Back from Helena

I am returning home from Helena, Montana after a whirlwind weekend.  Fly in on Friday.  Adjudicate and catch a show on Saturday, thanks to Grandstreet Theatre.  Fly back to STL on Sunday.  Catch a concert at school Sunday evening.

And now Finals Week is here, with juries during the first three days of the week.


Grandstreet staff booked a room for me at The Sanders, Helena’s Bed & Breakfast.  The hospitality was wonderful.

I was especially delighted to find that the B&B is owned and operated by a great-grandson of one of the five Ringling Bros.  Given my newfound circus interests, I enjoyed seeing some artifacts, including original elephant headgear from the Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey Circus, photos and memorabilia, a show-ring saddle (now refurbished) from Alf. Ringling’s family, and loads of cards and prints.


Grandstreet Theatre hosts an annual scholarship competition for some of the 200 or so students in their youth program.  I spent the day adjudicating auditions, as part of a team of a local actress, and a Seattle-based stage director.  We made a great team!  The kids were so well-prepared thanks to the Grandstreet education staff, led by the wonderful Marianne Adams.

Saturday evening we took in a production of The Bridges of Madison County.  I had listened previously to the cast album, and I teach a couple of these songs, but this was a new show for me.  It’s quite effective.  And when “It all fades away” finally hits as his 11-o’clock-number, the show feels magical.  And when she sings the closing number, “Always better,” the tears flow yet again.

The solid cast in Helena made the most of a difficult score by Jason Robert Brown.

#TBT: Final month

Scenes from my final month as Director of Ball State University Singers, April 2008 —

Seems like

A commence-sabbatical gift from a student.

Ken in Kansas wrote about my sabbatical the other “Seems like it’s been a good one.”

My response: “You know me.  Not nearly enough of the planned work accomplished, but I’ve been happily occupied.  Still too many books to read, too many musical ideas swimming around my head that need to get on paper, too many journals stacked up.  And too much stuff in the house that I had intended to tidy and purge.

“But YES.”

And then I start thinking.

In the last year, trips to Austria and Sweden and Italy and Russia and Spain and Morocco and Canada.  GOOD LORD!

My official statement about sabbatical projects: “engage in professional development and personal enrichment and creative activities.”

In the last five months:

  • music director/composer for Circus Harmony
  • Variety Children’s Charity chorus conductor (prepping now for a concert with Sting)
  • two NASM-related trips to Washington, D.C.
  • a handful of cooking classes at Kitchen Conservatory and Missouri Botanical Garden
  • successfully kept/keeping sourdough starter alive
  • two trips to Chicago
  • Thanksgiving in NYC
  • and three more NYC trips, with shows including The Prom, The Choirboy, Superhero, Kiss Me Kate, and Merrily We Roll Along
  • major curriculum revisions signed, sealed, delivered at Webster
  • NASM HEADS report finished at Webster
  • talk and dinner with Jamie Bernstein, daughter of Leonard Bernstein
  • pandas at the National Zoo!
  • two house-party singing performances with Dr. Ruth Price
  • lyrics written for a new super-song based on my visit to Saint Andrew’s Church, Tangier
  • visits to the Saint Louis Art Museum, Campbell House, the Missouri Botanical Garden
  • all sorts of new pairs of spectacles
  • service on the Faculty Research Grants committee at Webster
  • advocacy consulting with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra
  • Crossroads Hospice volunteer training
  • several books read . . . .
  • lots of new music learned and ready to be taught
  • hundreds of voice lessons at home
  • taxes finished and filed
  • Vienna curriculum meeting in NYC, and follow-up report and planning
  • three senior voice students coached and managed through college musical theatre auditions
  • shepherded four high school students to top ratings at District solo/ensemble contest
  • lunches with alumni and friends
  • successfully passed an annual physical
  • got scolded by my dental technician
  • worshipped at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, St. Mary the Virgin Times Square, St. James Cathedral Chicago, Grace & Holy Trinity Cathedral Kansas City, and Washington National Cathedral
  • blogged daily, and wrote in my journal almost daily
  • lived and loved and left, and am single again.

This is not a bad list at all!  Professional development?  Yup.  Personal enrichment and creativity?  You bet!!

While I was removed from the daily scrum at Webster, I never truly left the fray.  As I said to a friend the other day, “my role and duties at Webster pervade who I am at this point in my life.  I can’t talk away from thinking about the bigger picture, and all that entails.”  And I don’t mind that all.

But I am indeed grateful for some time away from the scrum!


Some photos from sabbatical:

The circus

Hannibal. The second house my parents ever owned.

Late 1960s.  I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.  We lived in this house in Hannibal.  Milk was delivered daily to the door.  We buried a cat in the back yard.  I had a room in the basement. The room was painted orange.

And the basement had a rec room set up of sorts, with a black-and-white portable television that was hooked into the local cable television system.

One Saturday afternoon, I watched a movie about the circus.  This much I remember — not the name of the movie, or the premise — but I remember watching.

Because what happened next was that I tearfully told my parents that I wanted to join the circus.  (Ever the poet and dreamer, am I.)

And the reason I remember all of this?  My parents laughed at me.  Even now, I remember my father saying “You can’t even do a somersault.  How could you join the circus?”

And I cried more in that moment emotional vulnerability.

Honest to god, I still remember this.


2019.  I’m 57 years old.

I am finally joining the circus.

https://circusharmony.org/accelerando/ 

I’m writing music for the show (assisted ably by Noah Lovins, a Webster University first-year music major), and leading the band at the six live performances in January.

Circus Harmony is a troupe of primarily 8-18 year-olds from a cross-section of the Saint Louis area.  They perform most every weekend at the City Museum, which is also where the big annual shows are held.  

The show is great for kids, of course — it’s the circus, after all!  As I attend the weekend shows in preparation for the big show, I see kids of all ages in the audience.  Do bring the family??

We had our dress rehearsal Sunday. This one is going to be fun….

For information about dates and advance purchase of tickets, click here.

Image may contain: 9 people, people on stage, people standing, people dancing and shoes