My Once and Future Passion?

I don’t think any of us really know where it is we’re going to wind up in life, but it’s certainly not where we think we will. When I was 18 I was sure I would be working on Broadway by the age of 25. Then I graduated. And again and again and again. Got married, had a child, moved several times, started various jobs, and…you get the idea. I never got to Broadway. At least not yet.

My relationship with Broadway has been a love/hate one over the years. When I was performing more, had more money to see shows, felt in some way connected to the NY theatre scene, I’ve taken more of an interest in its “doings.’ When I felt dispirited, broke, sick, or just plain didn’t like what I was finding, I would put my interest unconsciously away, just forgetting that it even existed for years at a time.

In 2014, after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with my Theatre MFA, I was full of excitement and hope about my prospects in the business. It didn’t last long. The job market wasn’t great (is it ever for the arts?) and I didn’t find my place in academia (again, at least not yet). I lost interest in Theatre, perhaps due to its lack of immediate interest in me, put my scripts and cast albums away, and turned my attention to my son, my family, my stable church gig, and the education of my students. Through all that time, I’ve felt incomplete somehow, but it somehow seemed in my best interest to turn my attention elsewhere. Cue the last few weeks…

Flower Drum Song

The 1961 movie of Flower Drum Song

For the last few weeks I’ve had a renewed interest in my old love, Broadway, especially musical theatre. I don’t know why it came on. It just did. It started with me deciding to watch Flower Drum Song, the last of the big Rodgers and Hammerstein successes that I was mostly unfamiliar with. That led me to listen to both its cast albums, and then turn my attention to the other lesser known scores of R and H: Allegro, Pipe Dream, and Me and Juliet. I’m currently reading the script for Pipe Dream and I’m sure the other two aren’t far behind. They’re in the pipe line so to speak.

As of this writing, Spotify has become my best friend. I’ve listened to cast albums that I’d never heard before from Brigadoon, The King and I, Pipe Dream, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And I’ve turned my attention further back to the operettas that were never part of my education, but should have been: Babes in Toyland, The Student Prince, and The Desert Song. I’m learning a lot, and hearing a lot I’d never heard before. It’s frankly, thrilling.

Pipe Dream

City Center Encores sings Pipe Dream

I don’t know what brought it on. I don’t know where it’s going or where it will end. But for this moment, this “brief, shining moment” (now I have to listen to Camelot) it’s nice to be in a mental place where I can appreciate the music I once and always loved; the music of my childhood; the music my father and I especially shared. It’s like hearing from an old friend you’ve been mad at but can’t remember why.

Now please excuse me, I’ve got listening to do.

Musically Yours,

Jason

Brigadoon

Kelli O’Hara as Fiona in Brigadoon

What Means This 45?

On Monday, I celebrated my 45th birthday. Many wonderful people via Facebook, texts, phone, and in person honored me with messages of love, well wishing, memes, little videos, and the like. It was all quite wonderful, and I was and am filled with gratitude that so many people chose to remember my special day and milestone. Most of the day was spent taking care of my son, John Adams: he played at the YMCA while I worked out, we went swimming, we went on the slides and, later that night with Nancy, we all went for seafood and had a cake that Nancy and the little guy made just for me. It was a lovely, if exhausting day, taking care of a 2-year old, and held little time for reflection.

Now a few days later, as I’m settling in to my new age, I’m wondering what it all means. I feel different. I feel restless. I feel, frankly, cantankerous. My life has been in many ways in a holding pattern since John Adams’s birth and my graduation from VCU in May 2014. I’m ready for new challenges, new accomplishments, new journeys. I’m ready for a bigger house. I’m ready for an expanded family…that includes a dog. I want to walk the Appalachian Trail and the Camino de Santiago. I want to see the Great Pyramid and Machu Picchu with my own eyes. I want to wash in the Ganges, filthy or not. I want to float down the Colorado surrounded by the Grand Canyon. I want lots of things.

Turning 45 has stirred something in me. I’m restless and less afraid, and ready for “the road not taken”. But two days later, that said, I have no idea what turning 45 really means. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. And I’ll let you know.

Namaste,

Jason

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Steal my birthday corn, will you?!