Long Live the Dame

A few weeks ago, I sat down to write a letter to one of my personal heroes, Dame Judi Dench.  I kept it short as I’m sure she gets many letters, though I could have written much more.  I simply stated that I believed her to be the greatest actress of our time, of both the stage and screen.  I have been moved deeply by her art.  I also noted how much I enjoyed her jovial spirit as written in the anecdotes of the John Miller biographies, as well as her genuine affection for her fellow artists.  I tried not to make it too flowery.  She simply IS.

Today, I received a signed photograph from DJD in the mail!  I just adore her.  This has made my life.

Pina

I didn’t get the chance to see the film PINA in 3D.  Oh, the gnashing of teeth!  I love bodies in space.  I’m a director.  I love movement, lines, compositions, shapes, and how these produce story/emotion for both the artists and the audience.  If I could play around in Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints all day long, I would be a satisfied artist.  I’d love to visit SITI and learn more about their explorations.  In the meantime, I’ll keep waiting for this film to arrive from Netflix:

On the Horizon

This summer I have been preparing for my next directing project: The Pajama Game by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross.  I will be directing it for Lipscomb University this fall.  Here’s what MTI says about it:

Two Acts, Book Musical, Rated PG 
Original Broadway Version (1954)

The dangers of a workplace romance are explored to hysterical effect in this romantic comedy (from the creators of DAMN YANKEES). Conditions at the Sleep Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful, as sparks fly between new superintendent Sid Sorokin and Babe Williams, leader of the union grievance committee. Their stormy relationship comes to a head when the workers strike for a 7 and a half cent pay increase, setting off not only a conflict between management and labor, but a battle of the sexes as well.

Bright and brassy, this unconventional, fast-paced Broadway favorite is every bit the embodiment of legendary director George Abbott at his very best. The energetic score byRichard Adler and Jerry Ross is brimming with songs and dances, which have become popular and musical theatre standards (among them “Hey There,” “Steam Heat” and “Hernando’s Hideaway”) and features plenty of splashy, fun production numbers.” For solid, classic musical comedy, it’s hard to beat THE PAJAMA GAME!

Here’s a production photo from the 2006 Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway:

I love this musical.  It’s classic, bright, and fun, but also timely and honest.  At the end of the day, it’s about the human spirit.  I’m looking forward to getting this pajama factory moving!  HURRY UP!

Love, Loss & What I Wore

Last week, I had the immense pleasure of directing and performing in Love, Loss & What I Wore by Delia and Nora Ephron as part of the First Night Honors/Sideshow Fringe Festival.  In this play built of 28 monologues and scenes, women of various voices reflect upon their lives through the remembrance of specific clothing.  All true stories collected by the Ephron sisters, these pieces highlight every woman’s individuality while reminding us how much we really do have in common.  This experience flooded me with memories, and over the course of the rehearsal process, my fellow performers and I gabbed, guffawed, and choked back tears reading these stories and sharing our own.  I was amazed at how this play could peel back our social masks and unite a group so quickly.  I learned so much about the human spirit, as I always do working in this field.  It was a good reminder, too, in the power of sisterhood.  I don’t have any real sisters, but in a way, I do.