Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just to let you know that there are many ways to make your mark in New York City.

When we were doing our show off Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre, I used to pass by 23rd and 7th Avenue almost every day to and from work. One day I noticed a name scrolled in a patch of cement at that corner. The name was JAY. It was there long before I got to New York.

A few days ago I received this photo. Now there are a lot of Jay’s and probably several Darwin’s in New York City. However, the odds on these two names showing up on the same slab of concrete is astronomical. I understand this anomaly is located uptown around the Inwood/Washinton Heights area.

I have no idea how it got there, nor does the person who sent the picture to me. (Although I am suspicious “the other one” has more knowledge than I was given)

I can’t really claim this bit of “urban art” is a direct result of “The Two and Only”, but it points out a phenomenon of this show. We may not have found the biggest audience in New York but I would bet we found the most loyal. I still meet people who saw the show at the Helen Hayes six and more times during the short run. The house staff used to call them “frequent fliers”.

Perhaps there are some frequent fliers reading this blog right now. Perhaps even the person who did it is reading as well. Here’s my thanks to all of you. Thanks for supporting the show, thanks for being a part of a life long dream. Thanks for reading this blog, and thanks for being a friend to me and to the show.

Some people get their names inscribed on the streets of New York, some win a Tony, and some have both. Since I fall in the “both” category, it is time for me to count my blessings and pinch myself in hopes this is reality. It is for certain I count you as one of my blessings.

As you were,

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It’s funny how an event can change the way you remember everything from that moment on. Normally I would not remember the last time I bought new tennis shoes, but because of something called the Tony I do.

The last pair of athletic shoes I bought was the week before I made the trip back to New York for the Tony awards. Had I not won a Tony the little details about what I bought for the trip might not be remembered, but in this case I know I’ve had these shoes since June 5th.

Last weekend we were invited for an evening of dinner and sailing on a friend’s sail boat. Naturally, I wore my semi-new tennis shoes. The ones I have worn almost every day since I purchased them two months ago.

I didn’t know the Captain’s girlfriend but about ten minutes after we met on the boat she made the comment, “I am trying to figure out what is the deal with your shoes.”

“What IS the deal with my tennis shoes?” I asked.

“Well, it’s the laces?” She remarked. I looked at the shoes and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. I had no idea what she was referring to. That is when she pointed out that the left shoe was laced with zigzag lacing, while the right one was laced with straight, parallel lacing. It was obvious the two shoes did not match because of the way they were laced.

When faced with a mathematical error, spelling mistake or some slip in perception, I usually cry dyslexia is to blame. However, this seems to be a decidedly obvious lack of attention. As an artist I believe I am more perceptive than average, but this calls that belief into question.

I suppose had she not been so brash I would have continued to wear the unmatched shoes for the rest of their natural life. How many people have noticed and not said anything? How many people just assumed it was a fashion statement or idiosyncrasy? Much worse they could be thinking, “The poor old man can’t even tie his shoes.” Tony winners I suppose should know better than to go in public that way. I corrected the mistake before we cast off that evening, and have been better dressed to that degree since.

I am reminded of a story that happened years ago at a theater in Fort Worth, Texas. I was in the lobby waiting to see a show. An elderly lady dressed in her finest entered the theater alone. As she walked across the lobby she dropped her program. She bend down to pick it up and realized she was wearing one red shoe and one black shoe. Here dress was not long enough to hide the mistake. She stood up in a grand fashion straightened her clothes and walked out of the lobby crying. I have always felt sympathy for her but never thought I would become her. I know now that we are all just one shoe away from insanity.

As you were,

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

And you thought there would be no more mention of “Il tempo del Postino”. Wrong, this is the Internet universe we live in pencil-neck. There are a few interesting production pictures from “Il tempo del Postino” on the web. However, I don’t think the site is operator friendly. In an effort to get you there faster I have devised this Internet map for you. (See Below)

WARNING: Seeing the web pictures won’t help you determine what the show was all about. The show is an artistic enigma, the more you hunt and search the more vague its art becomes. This leads us to know more and more about less and less until eventually we know all there is about nothing. *

The only picture of the Matthew Barney piece is the wrecked car stage set. You can see the coffin shaped grease patch the “bum girl” stood in but, alas, no naked women in the act of their performance. You can see the girl playing the corpse on top of the car. I never got her name and she was not listed in the program.


The first picture is me behind the glass. Have you ever performed from inside a fishbowl?

But before you go:
Here is how you get there:
You will see this screen without the red arrow.

Go to the Drop Down menu and roll to “Ill tempo del Postino”

Click the drop down menu “Il tempo del Postino”

* I don’t know if you clicked away, went away for a while, or continuing reading before seeing the Postino pictures, but we were in mid-thought about ART. This has nothing to do with understanding the Manchester experiment.

Art is experienced through emotion. What is liked is revered. What is not liked is rejected. One experience is art the other is not. It is ultimately a judgment call.

It can be said that art ultimately means nothing and we are fooled by the artist into believing this nothing is important. However, if a person can make other people believe in the unimportant, shouldn’t that person be called “artist”.

In the words of Walter Helmhurst III magician and sage regarding the art of magic, “If your cat has kittens in the oven… you don’t call them biscuits.”
As you were,

Monday, August 06, 2007

Unless you have seen a show at the Hollywood Bowl, you really can’t appreciate what a unique theatrical experience the evening can be. Twenty thousand seats embrace the deco shell of the stage in what seems to be the middle of the secluded Hollywood hills. Under the stars and balmy night sky you would never know the sprawl of Southern California is actually on the other side of that hill.

Sandi and I are here to see Brian Stokes Mitchell and Reba McIntyre do a semi-staged performance of “South Pacific”. It is a dream cast of this classic show which lives up to every expectation.

The Hollywood Bowl is a massive venue and people watching is the main pre-show attraction. The sloping curve of the audience seats make it easy to look out across the mass of humanity. It is not unusual to see A list celebrities sipping wine and having a picnic dinner. Our seats are closer to the back of the audience than the front, but we have some great binoculars.

The dress is always California casual at the Bowl, so when a man dressed in a suit and tie comes up the aisle, he gets special notice. We watch as a man in a tie climbs higher and higher and closer to our “nose bleed” seats. He keeps coming and eventually comes right up to me and says, “Jay, congrats on your Tony. What an accomplishment. Brian is having a few people back stage after the show. He would love for you to be there.”

Ego takes over and I think to myself, “Well I guess out of the twenty-thousand people I am the only Tony winner here tonight, sort of a Tony winner quid pro quo to get to come backstage.” The answer to an offer like that is always yes.

The truth is, the man in the suit is Joe Benincasa, executive director of the Actors Fund. He said he saw my show six times on Broadway, he is a member of the Tony nomination committe and a voter. Brian is president of the Actors Fund and they are having a little Actors Fund “get together” reception after the show, and he is inviting me on behalf of Brian.
Joe and his wife are sitting close to us and he just happened to recognize me as he was going to his seat.

It was great to hang out backstage at the bowl and to reconnect with Brian Stokes Mitchell. It is not an exclusive meeting but definitely a Tony perk.

No wonder theater is so attractive to us entertainer types. There is a community of welcoming artists ready to embrace you like a long lost member of the family. Perhaps that brotherhood exists in other professions, but it is one of the defining traits of Show Biz.

As you were,