Here’s one case for NO separation of “Church & State”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16+00:00 March 14th, 2017|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, broadway, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, donation, education, elections, family, grief, gun violence, hate crime, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, motivation, nyc, politics, prayer, relationships, religion, sadness, school|

I don’t talk much about politics in this space, although if you have been a reader of this blog, you can pretty much gauge what side of the dais I would sit on. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics….really, well, not really, but sort of, maybe a little bit. This post is going to be about theater, drama, comedy and friendship. I went to theater the other night with a group of friends, to see a play that was written and produced by friends, and it had equal parts comedy and drama. The play is called “Church & State”, and it’s in previews now at New World Stages. While I was watching the play, I was struck with imagery of a heated tennis match, because my emotions were being slammed across the net between laughter, anger, fear and sadness. In less than 90 minutes, I was moved to a point of paralysis. Yes, moved so emotionally, that I couldn’t move physically for a few minutes after it ended, because I was taking it all in and letting it wash over me. I was having varied experiences, mind you. I had just watched a play that someone I know wrote and someone I know produced, and it was good. I mean, not just like “Oh wasn’t that sweet” kinda good, I mean “Holy crap, that was impressive” kinda good. And, the content was just so relevant, and important, and crucial to the current state of affairs of our country and our communities, that I wanted to get up and holler that something needs to be done!!! So here is my holler, GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Powerful new play!

I can tell you that this play is about a lot of things including politics, but also faith, speaking your mind, marriage, community, and death. I can tell you that this play is already making an impact and it hasn’t even opened yet! Politicians and celebrities are not only coming to see it, but some will even be participating in panels throughout the run of the play to further conversation about the controversial subject matter. I guess I’m being a little vague on purpose here, because I want to protect the power of the play and if you go in knowing too much, it might color the way you receive it. Even thinking about the play now, I get choked up! Of course, you can click on the link above and learn a little more about it and what inspired it, or you can take a chance and see something that will undoubtedly leave you thinking, if not shaking just a little bit.

Off my soapbox!

Stay well.

 

Theater of the absurd.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:54+00:00 November 18th, 2015|animals, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, artists, broadway, broadway musical, brotherhood, brothers, childhood, children, creativity, family, Life, lions, mental health, motherhood, musical theater, nyc, parenthood, parenting, stress, stress relief, Uncategorized|

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Cue lights. A hush falls over the audience. The first actor takes position on the stage and the first note is heard, crashing like a wave over all of us: “Ahhhhh-segon-ya babba-di sebabba” or whatever it is Rafiki calls out in the dramatic opening of The Lion King on Broadway. No matter, it’s beautiful, and the african jungle comes to life before your eyes in the middle of Times Square. The opening of the show still chokes me up because it’s so exquisite and masterful, and not many shows have an elephant move so gracefully through a theater. I’ve given you the show setting, now picture me sitting with my three boys, who, living in NYC, are lucky enough to experience the theater on a regular basis. My three boys understand that the actors spend hour upon hour rehearsing, and then hours putting their makeup on, that the least they can do is wear clean socks to a show! (I do try for the occasional collared shirt, too.) My kids have been going to theater since they were fairly young, and respect for the actors on stage was something instilled from their very first show. My two older ones have seen The Lion King before, and they were super excited for their younger brother to experience the magic. Back in the theater, gazelles are prancing across the stage, birds flying above, the elephant makes its way through the house, and it starts, “Where Simba?” “Is that Simba?” “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Where Simba?” These are not the sounds of animal calls deep in the african jungle, these are the sounds of the unrestrained 3 year old in row L, orchestra left. I took a deep breath and thought, he’s just excited, he can’t wait to see his pal Simba, he’ll calm down once the dialogue starts. Right? WRONG! When the little boy wasn’t talking, even trying to be quiet with what I will refer to as “whisper-screaming”, he was bouncing in his seat. That meant bouncing on the not one booster seat, but two booster seats that propped him up right in front of my kid (my boys switched seats so my youngest could see.) I am incredibly tolerant, and generally very patient, and I tried very hard to remind myself that theater, especially family theater, is a wonderful blessing to enjoy. I realized that getting angry and complaining wouldn’t help, because we were surrounded. There were chatty little kids everywhere!!!! Even the website for the show has an FAQ that reads:

Does my child need a ticket? Is there a minimum age requirement to attend the show?

All guests require a ticket, regardless of age. We recommend that children be at least six years old to attend a performance of THE LION KING.

For younger children, consider one of these exciting Disney touring productions: Disney On Ice or Disney Live.

Which is why I decided I would take to the internet with this simple theater primer for families.

  1. Do NOT bring children under 6 years old (probably even under 8 years old) to a Broadway show where other patrons have spent well in to the hundreds to escape into some other world, and not to be assaulted with your child’s pleas of “pee-pee”  and “soda”, “Now, MOMMY!”
  2. If you do bring a child, make sure that they are prepared to sit for an hour and a half at a clip without making any noise, other than the appreciative clapping after every number. Maybe even a respectful hoot and holler.
  3. If your child normally goes to bed at 7pm, for goodness sakes, DON’T bring them to an 8pm show and expect them to behave!
  4. Consider buying a less expensive seat, perhaps in the mezzanine, so that if your child is struggling to sit still (and it’s a struggle for most under 8), you won’t feel terrible having to leave midway through the show, out of respect for everyone else in the theater!
  5. Start with shorter theater experiences. New Victory Theater has great children’s programming and is perfect introduction to the wonder of acting.
  6. Be respectful of others around you, and hey, even apologize for what you know is distracting and detracting from the experience.

I could go on and on with rules and such, but I won’t. I will add the suggestion that family shows should consider offering those with youngsters a special section, so that other theater goers can choose their seats accordingly. FAR, FAR, AWAY! Hey, aren’t matinees tailor-made for the family set?

Stay well.

Sometimes the scars we can't see, are the ones that hurt the most.

By | 2018-04-07T23:22:39+00:00 April 19th, 2015|anxiety, broadway, broadway musical, Life, musical theater, stress, sutton foster|

My little one got a haircut yesterday, and this time got his wish of wanting to buzz the sides and the back very closely to his head. I’m not one to argue about personal style, so I let him own his choice. As the stylist was buzzing away, a “bald” patch appeared on the back of his head. At first I thought he had clipped a little too closely, but then realized it was in fact a scar. It was an injury from a couple years ago that we didn’t think needed stitches, but looking at the scar now, maybe we should have.

Oops!

Oops!

Either way, it got me to thinking about the scars we can’t see. We all have experiences that have left their marks on us either physical or emotionally. Some manage to have both qualities, like my c-section scars, for example. I can see them and they elicit an incredible emotional response because it’s evidence of my three beautiful children. Other scars I carry, are ones that aren’t visible, but certainly hold with them pain and wounding that impact the person I am today. Usually in a positive way, or at least that’s what I hope! There was a Broadway show last season called “Violet”. It starred the amazing Sutton Foster, along with other incredible singers and actors, and was in short, a story of a woman whose face had been scarred in a terrible accident when she was a child. We watch as the character, Violet, makes her journey away from home for the first time to find a preacher who might heal her and remove her scar. As she passes through various bus stops, people react to her scar as though she were hideous and disfigured. What was so remarkable, was that Sutton Foster was not layered with makeup or props to simulate a scar, her face was her typical, flawless beauty.

Sutton Foster as "Violet" Photo courtesy broadwaybox.com

Sutton Foster as “Violet” Photo courtesy broadwaybox.com

However, by the second act, that scar is as real on Violet’s face as the pain in her voice when she sings about the accident that made her that way. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending, and we watch as Violet falls in love with someone who sees her as a person, not just a walking wound. I was certainly a mess of tears by the end. There’s a line in the show (several for sure) that resonated with me, so much that I’m taking it and making it my own. It’s the preacher character, who is giving a sermon and repeats several times “Are you IN the way? Or are you ON the way?” It seemed to be a question of healing and moving forward with one’s life. I came up with an answer for myself and hope somehow it resonates with you, too. “Are you IN the way? Or are you ON the way? If you don’t know, then GET OUT of the way!” For me, it means, stop trying to understand why, or blame how come certain things don’t happen, but rather get out of your own way so that new experiences can present themselves. Some of us have matching scars and we find each other and give each other comfort and solace, but we must take care to make sure our scars don’t define us and prevent us from truly living. That’s ultimately what a scar is, whether physical or emotional, it’s a reminder that we are alive and that we are blessed to keep finding opportunities to create memories even if some of them end up hurting.

Stay well.

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