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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random Writing Prompt for 10/23/11

Writing prompt courtesy of

Weave a poem that contains all these lines (in no particular order): "I tie the ribbon in a foolish way," "the delicious fragility of this travesty," and "where we still laugh and wish."

I tie the ribbon in a foolish way
hoping the gift will convey the words I can't bring myself to say.
Confidence is something I sorely lack,
but I've come this far, I can't afford to go back.

How I long to be young again
where the brashness of kids trumps the uncertainty of men.
Where we still laugh and wish and dream
and everything isn't as clear cut as it may seem.

But we never can regress,
we must only progress.
And I can not digest the delicious fragility
of this travesty.

So I have to summon up all my strength,
and prove I've gone to a great length.
Show her that she's the one I adore
and hope my affection she won't ignore.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"The Music Man" And I - A History

"The Music Man" is a well-known, iconic Broadway musical. And it's a show that seems to follow me in some form or another no matter where I go. And frankly, I don't mind that at all. Let me tell you what I mean.

My first exposure to "The Music Man" was in grade school. I don't remember exactly what year it was, but I'll say as a rough estimate it was somewhere between grades 5-8 which would put me between ages 11-14. We had a class in music appreciation and one week the teacher showed us the movie version of "The Music Man". We didn't watch the whole movie, I think we only watched up until "Trouble", but it was enough to stick in my mind. I was still in the mind frame that musicals were stupid at this time, but for whatever reason I didn't mind this one.

My next encounter with the show was sophomore year of high school. I was attending St. Joe's Prep in Philadelphia at the time and it was announced we'd be doing "The Music Man" for the Spring show that year. Since I was familiar with the show, I decided to apply for the position of Assistant Stage Manager much like I had done with previous shows that same year and the year before. I was chosen for the position and really enjoyed the run of the show. It turned out this would the be last show I would do at St Joe's since my family was moving from South Jersey to York, PA that summer. And honestly, I couldn't have thought of a better way to end my time at St Joe's.

In the Summer of 2000, my family and I moved to York, PA. A couple of months later, we went to a local high school production of "The Music Man". I don't remember which school it was but I know we went because one of my dad's colleagues had children who were in the show. A tenuous connection, I admit. But we were familiar with the show so we figured why not go and see it?

The following Summer, my family went to New York for a few days. We saw a few shows that summer and the revival of "The Music Man" was one of those shows. It was one of the first shows we saw together on Broadway and this trip served to be the start of what came to be a family tradition for the next couple of years.

In 2009, York Catholic High School mounted a production of "The Music Man" and Michael, my youngest brother, was in the cast as Oliver Hix, a member of the school board that is transformed into a Barbershop Quarter by the slick talking Harold Hill. It was the first musical he had been involved in as a member of the cast so it was definitely a landmark moment.

And now, here we are in 2011. It's been five years since I'd been involved in any sort of theatrical production since having graduated from college. On a Tuesday evening in late August, I decided - on somewhat of a whim - to audition for a production of "The Music Man" at York Little Theatre. I had auditioned hoping for the part of either Mayor Shinn or Charlie Cowell, a rival salesman. Both are great comedic roles and have very little to no singing associated with them. And since I've never really considered myself much of a singer, I figured those roles would play to my strengths.Imagine my surprise when a couple of days later I received word that I had been cast as a member of the Quartet! And as it turns out, I'm playing Oliver Hix, the same role my brother had when he had done the show a few years ago.

With a little over a month to go before we open, I couldn't help but sit and reflect on how "The Music Man" has been involved with my life and put it to the page. I find it very fitting that the first time I worked on the show, it signified an end to a chapter of my life. And now that I have the chance to be involved with this show again 11 years later, and on the other side of the stage, it marks the beginning of a new chapter. Whatever comes after this, I don't know just yet. But I hope it won't be preceded by another five-year hiatus from the stage.