Thursday, July 10, 2014

Real Theater from a Newbie’s POV

As a dad to two theater kids, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that seeing literally hundreds of rehearsals, dozens of shows and helping to create scenery, programs, etc. makes me an expert. I’ve been in a few productions as well, which only heightens the sense of ennui when the subject of theater comes up.

One thing that helps stave off such listlessness is being surrounded by incredibly talented people who have a much broader experience base. When one of those “old pros” is younger than me, it gives me the chance to see the world through their eyes, and a much cooler world it is.

Another thing that helps to turbo charge that excitement level is to be in a real, bona fide New York production.

Like me.


Tonight is opening night for “Lucky Boy”, the new rock musical by John Ryerson that debuts at the Robert Moss Theater in NYC.

I feel like I’m wrapped in a downed power line, (you can just imagine what that means as far as touching me, coming in contact with me, etc.).

Granted, my character is onstage for about four minutes, and the rest of the evening has the focus where it belongs… on the young actors in the lead roles and on the “Punky Cheer Girls”, which serve as the Greek Chorus-style muses for the piece. But, that’s ok… Ryerson deftly adds characters and scenes where they need to be without overdoing it, or making the audience feel overburdened with exposition.

It’s a powerful story delivered by people with power to spare… the four leads burn with an intensity that can only be described as fully charged. The Cheer Girls are, at once, whimsical and prophetic as they prowl the stage, cueing the audience in to the plight of our heroes.

So, after my four minutes, I’m backstage. I‘m helping the crew move set pieces on and off, which gives me an even deeper look “behind the scenes”. If you’ve ever watched the Tony Awards and thought, “Wow, this is such a glamorous life!”, well, maybe it is, but when you are sitting on a box, waiting for the next blackout so you can help carry a table onstage, it seems less like Hollywood fantasy and more like real work. That is, if real work was fun and exciting and cool, instead of a soul-sucking drain hole for hopes and dreams.

Watching the band, cramped together in a space no “worker” would tolerate, adds even more to the feeling of coolness. These are not people who maybe like to play. These are people who are professionals, masters of their craft. Who, by the way, have come together, not to take center stage, but to support the ensemble of actors, dancers, writer, director, stage crew, light techs and sound techs who make up such a production.

“We’re all in this together” was never more true than it will be for the next four nights.

“Lucky Boy” A NEW rock musical. Book and Music by John Ryerson. Directed by Bonnie Halligan. Choreography by Kayla Hamilton. Musical Director - Jaime Fox.
Get your tickets soon @, we're selling out quickly! @luckyboymusical ‪#‎LuckyBoy‬ ‪#‎GettingLucky‬ ‪#‎musicals‬