On Thursday 9/28 at 7 pm I unleashed for the first time The Pass, to an audience of 20 privately invited guests. It was held in the home of my director Gretchen Cryer. The performance was an extremely rewarding experience for me on many levels as I had worked so very hard to prepare for this event. I’d been working with a vocal coach, (Tania Travers) rehearsing long hours with my accompanist, Marta Sanchez, and with my director, as well as tweaking the script a lot before the show. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
I had told myself before I started the show that after I was done with my last final word of the script and had sung my last note if I asked myself “why did I do this?” I wouldn’t perform again. My first visceral response, I can’t wait to do it again!, was my Geiger counter–I WILL keep on performing the Pass, hopefully, many times. Once it was completed I was 100% ready to do it again. Now I am fine tuning all details, making the show even more special and full of impact.
The Pass coincided with the solemn time of Yom Kippur; I didn’t want to do any social media until Monday, after the High Holidays. Monday morning I was confronted with the dire news about the Las Vegas shooting. This tragedy did eclipse a lot of my inner triumph. What really affected me was that it was during a music event–and music to me is about what saves us, what gets us through the tough times. Here this 64-year-old man murders, destroys, at a music event–this stopped me cold in my tracks. It brings up the art of promotion; when is it appropriate to promote yourself or when should you concentrate on the tone brought about by a devastating interruption?
It’s Tuesday now, as we all try to swallow the facts about the Las Vegas shootings. Then more bad news…As a great performer, Tom Petty, leaves us, we realize how important every minute is. Friends attended his Hollywood Bowl performance last week; they said he was amazing. My song In a Matter of Moments is playing in my head. Still we must face that life just keeps going on, no matter what. You’ve gotta find the strength, the reasons to do what you do, to love what you do, to love the people you love and support and find a purpose even when things seem so insane. So my afterglow was dimmed; but there will be more afterglows to follow.
As a musical performer I’ve been told I often use sweeping and dramatic gestures and move about a lot on stage. What I’m learning now is that being a singer with a band is a lot different than doing a one-woman show. As I rehearse my show THE PASS it’s been brought to my attention by my director, Gretchen Cryer, that I need to stand still–at least once in a while! During my rehearsal yesterday I was pacing around the stage, thinking and moving spontaneously as I would in life. But this can be distracting for an audience, even off-putting. I’ve been advised to block out all my moves so that when I speak and sing I will be standing in pre-arranged places–no more wandering around! I’m a free spirit who enjoys making each performance different; I even sing my songs with slight variations every time, to keep them fresh. It’s just the way I roll.
However, for THE PASS, the first run-through, which is September 28th, is an invitation-only performance and will be trying out a new style: one of stillness. I will perform my anecdotes and sing my songs according to a pattern that I’ll have pre-determined, as much as it is within my power to do so. Varying my act a bit, by tweaking the way I usually perform, will be a big challenge. But it will also keep me aware of both myself and the audience in a fresh and exciting new way.
I am thrilled (and nervous) to be preparing for my first showing of THE PASS and will be sure to let you know how it goes.
Last spring I went to a reading at the York Theater of “Call My Publicist!” written and performed by Joshua Ellis, the very well-known and accomplished Broadway publicist (“The Elephant Man”, “Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”). The show was directed by Gretchen Cryer. I was so impressed that I thought to myself that’s exactly who I need to direct my show, “The Pass”. I googled her, sent her an email with a link to my own website and told her I was working on a one woman show. She then got in touch; we arranged a meeting so we could assess how we might gel.
I was honored when Gretchen agreed to work one on one with me. It has been one of the most rewarding and invigorating projects of my career. She is an extraordinary force and I can understand why she is considered a theater legend.
Gretchen is well known for writing the book and lyrics and starring in “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It On the Road” (with music by Nancy Ford). The show, originally produced in NYC by Joseph Papp’s Public Theater, was followed by a 3 year run at the Circle in the Square. With Nancy Ford, Gretchen also wrote other shows, including “Now is the Time for All Good Men” and “Anne of Green Gables”. Gretchen has recorded two albums with Nancy for RCA and has starred on Broadway in her own cabaret act, in addition to performing off Broadway and on film. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and is President Emeritus of the Dramatists Guild Fund. In addition to these accomplishments, she has received various awards and degrees, among them a Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University and a MAT degree from Harvard.
Gretchen’s enthusiasm for “The Pass”, as well as her vast experience, have been a stellar inspiration. I wish to thank my friend Terry Castillo for suggesting I go to “Call My Publicist!”—not only did I meet a mentor, I also enjoyed Joshua Ellis’s play for its candor, humor and verve.
Here’s EYES WIDE OPEN, a song that we will be featuring in THE PASS and it is getting the most plays on KeyMedia Group Music soundcloud page! Just recently added it to our player and glad we did.