Director, Tenor, Actor, Educator

August 8, 2016

The spring and summer have been challenging and active. Five productions and a new job playing John Gammell and Samuel Adams at The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum all lined up one right after the other. While I would not have given up any of these experiences, I am still trying to recover my sense of balance before starting three productions in the fall. One ongoing challenge is determining the next steps for Cottage Industry Theatre, whose opening production of Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda was very well received. As a home-studio based company, it is difficult to move things forward while Aleks and I are still considering where exactly our next home/studio base will be.

February 17, 2016

The American Antiquarian Society is an amazing place! I’m in history nerd heaven, after a week and a half examining old hymn books with yellow, disintegrating pages, carefully laid in book cradles. Right now, I am doing my best to let these post-revolutionary New England protestants speak their hearts and minds to me, rather than try to impose too much of my own narrative or order. I love the hand-written notes dedicating copies to friends, and studying underneath the very printing press that one of these books may have been printed on.
Aleks and I have settled into the fellows’ house here. We love chatting with the other scholars, whose work demonstrates the breadth of the collection here—containing 2/3 of all books printed in America before 1820 (the collection goes up to 1876), manuscripts, newspapers, etc.
In other news, Big Work is nearly sold out, so get your tickets: preferably for the Monday performance, which still has room.

February 1, 2016

This coming month, I am very much looking forward to a four-week stay at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, doing research for my original work Pilgrims Wake about the spiritual and musical landscape of early 19th century New England. I was given there as a 2016 Creative and Performing Artists and Writers Fellowship Alternate. I miss having opportunities to immerse myself in old manuscripts, hymn collections, and other historical material, so I expect this will be a refreshing, rejuvenating experience.
The past months have brought their share of difficulties, but I am grateful to be working on multiple personally meaningful projects. Tickets for Big Work, a new documentary play in which I will be playing three real people dealing with the struggles and rewards of living and making a living, are selling well. The question of how to find meaning and fulfillment in our work is so universal, and I am inspired by what Melissa Bergstrom and Kate Marple have done to mine the profundity of what ordinary Americans have to say from their own experience on this subject. I am also excited for the first production meeting this coming week for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, my wife’s favorite musical, which I will direct at the North Shore Players in Danvers, MA.

July 30, 2015

With wonderful openings for Macbeth and the Ginsburg concert behind me, as well as a cover run for the former, I am thinking and dreaming more about future projects. Two original performance pieces are in embryo (still too early to give details here). I was also assigned an additional project for Glimmerglass. Meeting and working with people who enable others’ creativity through personal example, mentorship, and/or sponsorship has perhaps been the most valuable aspect of the Young Artist Program. Today I met my personal sponsors, Gary and Beth Glynn — a couple whose philanthropic energy is well known to have tangibly and positively impacted the American opera scene. I also can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed being a part of Anne Bogart and Barney O’Hanlon’s rehearsal process.
On a personal level, the time since my return from Thailand has provided an opportunity to think deeply about my motives going forward with my artistic career. In short, caring about each person matters. I find myself less comfortable with participating in the cultivated art of dismissal. The art of unconditional trust in another’s worth feels radical and exciting. Perhaps the loneliness of being apart from my dear Aleks for most of three months has reminded me of how valuable humans are to one another. Or maybe this perspective crystalizes when I step back from the intense heat of momentary judgements and public exclamations of personal trivialities erupting from our computer screens with Kilauean continuity.

June 24, 2015

While I have many wonderful memories of my two years in Thailand, I am relieved beyond words to be back in my native country--a precise emotion known only to those who have lived abroad but known in their hearts that they were not meant to assimilate. I am proud of all that I have accomplished with my students and colleagues, and hope that they continue to find meaningful ways to create musical and theatrical performances that matter to their community.
I currently spend each day surrounded by my artistic heroes at the Glimmerglass Festival’s Young Artist Program. At every rehearsal for Verdi’s Macbeth there is a moment, sound, or personal interaction that moves me or sets my thought racing. Today I was assigned to direct scenes from four operas with legal themes for a concert with Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg and a cast of singers to watch out for in the next few years.