Tag Archives: musical theatre

Upside down

The world is turned inside out, upside down.

Broadway, Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera. Closed for thirty days.

Webster University. Teaching on-line with no course meetings for at least three weeks.

Faculty. Forced to move courses on line, even though they never signed up for this.

Saint Louis. Banning all gatherings of 1,000 people or more for a few weeks.

The Fox. Closing for the month. SLSO calls off the Berlioz sound-orgy this weekend.

The NCAA. All remaining winter and spring sport tourneys are canceled this year.

MLB. Postponing the start of the season for two weeks.

NHL. MLB. MLS. All dark.

Variety Children’s Chorus. Stopped for the remainder of the program year.

Italy. Shut down.

European citizens entering the USA. Forbidden in the next few weeks.

Travel from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran. Forbidden.

Ireland. Closing all schools and universities for two weeks.

As of March 12, nearly 30 countries worldwide have closed all schools.

Apart from the grim human toll, the disruption to lives, the anxiety and fear this virus is inducing . . . apart from the fact that people I know and love are out of work because of this virus . . . the UN is now suggesting that the worldwide cost of this virus this year could be $2 trillion, and that a global recession is inevitable at this point.

The world is turned inside out, upside down.

Said John Donne —

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man’s death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Three weekends

Three weekends in a row . . . and one of my private voice students in a show.

I dashed after a Les Miz at Chaminade last week (already a long show!), so I didn’t get my photo with a wonderful Julia Hartweger, who played Eponine.

But here’s Alex Bollini after a tour-de-force performance as Billy Flynn in Chicago at SLU High:

And Ronan Ryan after his stop-the-show performance as Robert in Drowsy Chaperone at Parkway West:

I have tall students.

And my pride in them makes me taller too.

Next act

So, with the announcement that I’m stepping down as Chair of the Webster University Department of Music on May 31, 2020, I am thinking about the next act in my life.

(Well, I’ve been thinking about this for several years, and more fully for the last few months.)

God willing, I’ll have another ten years on the faculty at Webster, since I do not expect to retire until I’m 70.  Sixteen months hence, my teaching load will of course shift a bit (although I’m already teaching a full-time load each semester), but the hours of administration each day will no longer occupy so much of my week.  I’ll not be doing email at 11 p.m. to catch up from the day, which means time to read and write and watch and listen.

Questions on my mind right now:

How will this act in my life differ from the previous?

Be summative?

Be valedictory?

Engage the community?

Meet people where they are?

Secure a solid financial retirement?

Secure a legacy, if I am to be granted one?

Give to others?

Grow in connection with others?


I have some clear thoughts about all of this, but I’d love to hear from my readers.  Your comments are welcome!

 

Last two weeks

I am missing three shows, but this is the loot from the last two weeks.

Missing: Lightning Thief, Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and Big Apple Circus.

What a two weeks! Two operas at the Met. Circa from Australia as part of the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center. John Williams with the SLSO. My own voice student heading Brighton Beach Memoirs. And all these musicals, both in NYC and in STL . . . .

Fall Break NYC: three-show day

I’ve only done this once before in my life, this thing called a three-show day.

And at 11.30 p.m. and just back at my hotel, I’m pretty wiped out.  Physically. Mentally.  Emotionally.

Wednesday 9 a.m.  Meet Grace & Greg Jones in Central Park West for breakfast.

10 a.m.  Arrive a couple of blocks away, just off Broadway, for an invited first public reading of Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a new musical in development by The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle and Abingdon Theatre in New York City.  Paul Fujimoto is the composer and lyricist, with book and direction by Lainie Sakakura.  The source material is Jamie Ford’s book Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Spencer Donovan Jones, my voice student, is playing Teen Henry at the current moment.  He had the audience in tears at the end of Act One.  I was so proud of this kid today.

2 p.m.  After appropriate post-read greetings, and a quick chat with the creative team, I took the 1 line south to 50th, grabbed a hot dog, and ended up at the Walter Kerr on 48th, where my matinee was Hadestown.

5 p.m.  From my journal: “Hadestown. A towering production of brilliant originality, perfectly cast and stunning in its final effect.”

By the time the show was over, I had already had three cries in one day (two at Spencer’s show).  The curtain call number is the most effecting moment in a superb show.

Write a bit.  Give some tourists directions.

And then subway north again, this time Lincoln Center for a solo dinner at The Smith.

7.30 p.m.  And then Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera.  In spite of a fidgety few nearby in the third act, this rusty museum-piece production by Zeffirelli still has some legs.  Christine Goerke holds her own as Turandot, and tonight’s Calaf, Ricardo Massi, got progressively better after a wobbly start.  The whole thing lacked some steam, though. The hit of the night? Eleonaro Buratto as Liu.

And of course I cried again at the final scene.

Now midnight, and time for bed.  Thursday is a totally different kind of day!

Fall Break NYC: Tuesday

How I LOVE the Morgan Library…..

And Rossini:

And Schubert:

And a Book of Hours:

And kitchen photography in the atrium:

And an exhibition of John Singer Sargent charcoal drawings:

And stumbling upon the Penguin Books publishing headquarters:

And panna cotta dessert at dinner:

And a final preview of Scotland, Pa., which was very funny, for a while: