One & Done Sunday #20

Welcome to One & Done Sunday. One picture, and five links that are worth your time.

Here’s your picture:

It’s a total geek shot of my Superstar console. The question people always asked when they saw it was, “Why does it have so many colors?”. Looking at it from this angle, it kinda looks like the venue we performed in in Berlin last year. There’s a very Euro-techno feel to it. Plus, it’s dusty.

Earlier this month, we played our final performance of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway. It was bittersweet, as I guess these things always are. I’m better for having this opportunity to work with such talented–and nice, being that they’re largely Canadian and if they’re not nice enough they get kicked out of their country– people.

There was a party afterwards. I’m not big on parties and went to a yoga class instead, planning to swing by the party on my way home.

When I walked into the locker room it was nearly empty because I was running late and made it just in time. Something caught my eye: a prosthetic full leg, from just below the hip, on the floor against the wall.

Because the natural state of my mind is to be small and boxy, I couldn’t imagine anyone who actually needed that prosthetic would be down in the hot room to do yoga. My first thought was that it was some sort of prop, a possibility since this midtown yoga studio caters to a lot of performers.

They say yoga expands your mind.

I went downstairs and set up my mat. I looked to the right of me and there was the woman to whom the prosthetic belonged. She was tall, strong, and determined and there to do Bikram. I was humbled and inspired. I could not in good conscience sit out of a single pose that class.

It was an immediate and complete shift in my perspective.

I wished that I felt confident enough to speak to her after class, but I didn’t. I didn’t have confidence in finding the words to convey what I felt without those words being condescending, insensitive, or disrespectful. But in my eyes she was a goddamn rock star.

I don’t know if I’ll see her again or not, but the memory remains. I’m grateful for it.

The next day when I was extra sore from the extra effort I put out in that class, I thought of that badass woman and smiled.

Namasté.

Here are your links:

I just came across this post this morning and it filled my soul. Not much makes me happier than when one of my kids likes my music (and props to this kid for being a RUSH fan!): Pretty Girls Make Gravy: The Day She Discovered Led Zeppelin.

When your kid has to write an apology letter on the last day of school. Sh*t my 6-year-old-says: Apology Letter

Maybe some are staged, but I prefer to believe they’re not. 21 Pictures that will restore your faith in humanity

Get schooled on heavy metal: LA Weekly (thanks Deathrow Dan for the link).

This entire blog is worth reading, so I’m linking to the home page: An Athlete’s Journey Through Breast Cancer

Happy Sunday.

One and Tony Sunday

It’s that time again. That night when most of America tuning in to CBS at 8pm EST is expecting to find. . . Blue Bloods (I had to go look that up, and I’m totally guessing purely based on next week’s schedule) and instead finds the full frontal song-and-dance assault of the Tony Awards.

If this is you, resist the impulse to go channel surfing for the latest public display of ineptitude of reality TV. Stay and watch. I promise, there will be no ineptitude. There are some ridiculously talented people on Broadway- like, sick! The Tony Awards are when they get to play to their largest audience ever. That’s you!

Neil Patrick Harris is hosting again, and he’s actually funny. Last year’s Best Musical winner Book of Mormon is performing, just because they’re awesome. And, at 8:45pm you’ll see Tony-Award-nominee and total badass Josh Young sing the song Jesus Christ Superstar live, with the whole damn Tony-award nominated cast of the eponymous show– if you stay tuned in, which you totally should.

If I ran the Tonys, I would give out some extra awards and they would all go to my show. Here’s my list.

-Hardest-Working, Least-Jaded, Full-Out-Every-Show, Never-Phone-It-In Ensemble.

This production of Jesus Christ Superstar originated at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The majority of this cast is making their Broadway debut. There is nothing green about their performances; their debut-ness (for lack of a better word) shows in their enthusiasm, the way they’re always smiling when they’re at work, and in the way the get maybe a little star struck when they meet people like Ben Vereen, Whoopie Goldberg, and Matthew Broderick. That’s refreshing.

They’re also mostly Canadians. This is truly the hardest working ensemble I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Their energy is contagious and it’s like that every single show, eight times a week. I am also told they do a pretty great Broadway yell, which happens every Saturday night at the five minute call when they line up at the dressing room windows that face 52nd street and scream at Jersey Boys across the street.

-Best At Making Believers Out Of Agnostics in a Single Song

This would go to Paul Nolan, aka Jesus, for his performance of Gethsemane every night. He sings the crap out of that song. It also has my favorite guitar riff off all time in it, right after the line “I will drink this cup of poison”.

And? He looks totally hot in the loin cloth on the cross.

Yes, I said that.

-Best Band. PERIOD.

There really, really ought to be a Tony for best band. Our guitar player alone is worth the price of admission. And the other guitar player. And the reed player. And the drummer and the bassist and the organ and the french horns and. . . yeah, all of them. It’s a band full of rock stars and they blow me away eight times a week.

-Set Piece That Makes the Rest Of The Crew Happy They’re Not Carpenters

This would go to the diving board, or as I like to call it, the Nordic Track. It’s the ramp that does some pretty complicated automation moves and Jesus rides it during Superstar and it comes out over the first few rows. It’s a pain in the ass. The carpenters do a lot to it every day to make it work right.

-Best Understudy

Jeremy Kushnier, who understudies Judas, Jesus and Pontius Pilate. He may do Mary too, I’m not sure. He’s amazing and he totally owns whatever part he’s thrown into at the last minute. I loves him.

-Hell Yeah I Can Do Judas With No Rehearsal

To Nick Cartell, one of our swings who joined the company in New York. Early in previews when Josh Young was out, Jeremy Kushnier was badly injured in the matinee and couldn’t perform the evening show. Nick had never had even so much as a blocking rehearsal. He went on and knocked it the hell out of the park.

-Best Preshow Workout Partner

Matt Stokes. One of our swings, he warms up next to the sound board every day and has inspired me to work out a little bit while I’m waiting to check mics. We’re thinking of making a workout video and calling it something like “Five Feet of Floor Space: the 20-minute New York Workout”.

Your links this week are internal–did you find them?  Here’s your picture:

Oh, that’s the ramp/diving board/nordic track. I found this photo uncredited online but it must be the work of the incredibly talented Joan Marcus. She’s THE Broadway show photographer and does excellent work. Check out her website here.

CC and I were invited to three Tony parties, but this year we’re heading home to the heathens. We’re doing an at-home Tony watching party with just us, complete with high calorie snacks and lots of shouting back at the TV. Think of it as a Superbowl Party, with jazz hands.

Happy Sunday.

Oh Yes I’m Hot

The town I grew up in got cable when I was eight years old. It consisted of three channels: WTBS-Atlanta, WGN-Chicago, and USA. Plus you got a free month’s trial of HBO and I remember straining to listen through the family room door while my father watched Bo Derek in Ten, which was deemed inappropriate for my sister and I.

I still haven’t seen that movie. But I remember a bunch of the dialogue.

MTV hit the air in 1981 but we didn’t get that in my town. On Friday nights, if we could stay up late, we could catch some videos on USA’s Night Flight  or WTBS’s Night Tracks.

We had the same three channels up until my parents got divorced and I moved to the “city” with my mom and my sister.

And then, holy crap: there was MTV.

Between the summer we moved and the summer my grandma died from cancer, she came to visit us at our new apartment. That was my eighth grade year, highlights of which included seven Jennifers in my class (none of whom would speak to me), my locker number (666), getting mono, and wearing out the grooves on Duran Duran’s Rio and Motley Crue’s Shout at the Devil. My sister and I introduced Grandma to MTV, and her favorite video, inexplicably, was Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher. 

This was the first thing to ever indicate to me that old people could be cool. It’s one of the reasons I’m staring down the barrel of 40 with anticipation rather than trepidation.

CC has a theory that you can’t be depressed while listening to Van Halen (and by “Van Halen” I mean everything up to and including MCMLXXXIV and not anything after that). I’ve tested this theory numerous times over the years and it appears to be true. Also, I have found that you cannot drive the speed limit while listening to Van Halen, and it is compulsory to scream sing along.

Grandma loved Hot For Teacher’s itty-bitty Van Halens, the ridiculous four-man choreography performed by a band containing only one member who could actually dance, and even the stripping teachers, but most of all she loved Waldo. Waldo in all his nervous, nerdy glory.

I love Waldo too. I feel like Waldo inside probably more often than not.

Grandma just howled every time Hot For Teacher came on- which at the time was approximately every 22 minutes.

I guess I have an extra reason to not be depressed while listening to Van Halen.

Every time I’m driving by myself, listening to Van Halen, blowing my voice out and shaving twenty minutes off my commute, I think of my grandma.