What We Miss When We Don’t Blog

Writing’s a discipline. So is journal writing. And so is the blog, no? At least this blog, as it’s defining itself, wants to have a frequency of advancement. I promised guest artist postings from the SPEED-THE-PLOW rehearsal process and we haven’t delivered (we’ll get to them; they’re coming, I’ve been promised!)

Last posting, was in the middle of a New York forage for truffles—hidden gems on the theater scene—and found a few at the very last stage of my sojourn, but neglected to tell all (and what’s lost now is the excitement of that discovery, but will try to be fair to the serendipity on the moment; in a second).

Over the summer, we wrote about the drama of meeting our shortfall, and of surpassing it in the final week. But we neglected to tell you of the huge Thank You Party our Theater J Council Co-Chair Evelyn Sandground threw for 67 patrons this week in the wilds of McLean, VA; on her birthday no less!

Tonight’s a big night as well, the cast of SPEED-THE-PLOW gathers after rehearsal to do a reading of another play; a play I wrote (back in the day) that’s been tailor-made for our Guest Artist Peter Birkenhead who developed the play at the HB Playwrights Foundation and later the Ojai Playwrights Conference, and which has been recently optioned for Off-Broadway. The play? Love and Yearning in the Not-For-Profits (and Other Marital Distractions) first produced at Theater J in 2001 as part of the festival “Sex and Guilt in the Jewish Theater.” The exciting news is that the director pushing this project onto the next level is the wonderful It Girl of the moment, Rebecca Bayla Taichman, who just received a major rave in The Washington Post this morning for her bang-up modernizing of The Taming of the Shrew at The Shakespeare Theatre. We’re reading it for the tiniest handful of friends tonight – Friday night, squirreled away in a tiny corner of the JCC so no one sees.

So yes, much to touch base about, as the week brought with it an intense focus on getting materials out the door and to the printer, to the mailhouse—we’re talking SPEED-THE-PLOW Stagegram and postcards—and in the case of our fundraising initiatives, getting a slew of new prospectuses and proposals out to foundations, angels, donors (past and potential), as we enjoy the desperately needed contributions of brand new Development Associate (in a newly created position, our first-ever Development staff member devoted solely to helping to coordinate fundraising efforts for Theater J), Catherine Frels. We also brought on board a new staff member to our production team in the multi-talented, experienced hand, Shane Wallis who began work as the Associate Technical Director for the Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts. So that’s one thing we celebrated on Wednesday at our 11 AM staff meeting: We’re now a staff of 10 (comprised of 7 full-time, 2 half-time, 1 three-quarters time), and you know what? It’s a lot of people to sit in a circle in a 10×15’ room! And it’s exciting to celebrate that much talent and energy directed toward this common enterprise.

So now onto some details.

Actually, I’ll get to the updates shortly. As generally happens, duty calls. But there is much to share, nothing more important than the exciting developments in rehearsal for SPEED. I’ll want to share a little of what I’ve been seeing, and what Danny Stone has been sharing with me, and director Jerry Whiddon as well. What a wonderful collaboration it’s turning out to be. And then there’s the drama of building another Dan Conway set!

Onto that shortly!