Friday, June 15, 2018


Okay, you're here! You're curious. And I don't blame you! If you know me at all, you know that I'm in my 30s, I've been single for a long time, and beyond that, I'm kind of a weird dude. I do musicals, I'm a teacher, etc. And, now, I'm in a relationship. That's so crazy! It's about time! I'm so lucky! Some basic information: we've known each other for several years since we worked on a show together, and when we recently figured out our feelings for each other, we decided to try something more long term. Yay! That's the long and the short of it, other than I'm very happy. Thanks for checking in! Love you guys!!




Are they gone?




All right. If you're still here, the first thing you need I want you to know is that I'm in a relationship with my best friend. His name is Nick.

Writing this out is pretty terrifying, and I immediately want to squeeze my eyes shut and just pretend that no one is going to freak out about this. It's 2018, right? But no... I imagine that for many people, this is going to be Big News. So, if I could ask your indulgence, before you text or Snap or call your besties to let them know all the juicy details, please read this all the way through. I wrote this because of my desire to be real and complete and truthful, not because it's anybody else's business. 😁

The second thing I want you to know is that this was a big ol' surprise for me. If you knew me in college, you probably suspected/speculated/talked behind my back about my sexuality. Boy was that fun. Over and over, I would tell people, no, I'm not gay, I haven't ever had any romantic interest in another man. Some of my friends believed me, or at least pretended they did. Many people didn't, and for whatever reason they felt it was their duty to discuss that with as many other people as they could. It was a discouraging environment to live in, and if you backtrack through the posts on this blog, I've written plenty about how I wished my friends would allow me to define myself. It rarely seemed like they did. And one of the biggest reasons why I don't want to be writing this right now is because of the smug expressions on the faces of those "friends" - "I knew it, that liar." You may or may not believe this, dear reader, but I wasn't lying. I really, honestly, have done my best to be authentic and true to myself over the years, keeping an open mind and an open heart, to speak the truth as I see it, and to mind my own business. I tried hard to do all of those things because of the numerous times that I had absolutely screwed up at doing those things, and ended up hurting people I cared about. So, if you feel any inclination to trust me, please know that this was not something I was hiding. Nick is the first man I've ever felt romantic feelings for, and he happens to return them. Denying that would be truly dishonest. I've known I was attracted to women since I was 12 years old, but every time I've tried to feel that way for a guy (before now), it hasn't been there. This time, it is. Simple (and complicated) as that.

The interesting thing is that I know I'll have lots of support. I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about my students and their parents. I'm worried I'll lose their trust and friendship. I'm worried they will transfer out of my classes or drop my shows, or that they will be afraid to be vulnerable around me. I'm worried that my family will feel awkward or sad around me. I'm worried that people I care about will feel I'm "lost." I'm praying, really hard, that those things won't happen.

Speaking of which, yeah, I'm still praying. Those who know me nowadays know that, while I may not be the best Mormon in the land, I'm sincere about my beliefs. I really, honestly believe in a God who is exactly like the perfect version of my Dad, who knows all of us and sees the best in us, who warns and protects and helps us, who encourages us to grow and be uncomfortable and trust our fellow humans. I believe in a logical, reasonable, faithful search for truth, that relies on science and spirituality, fact and feeling, in equal measure. I believe in agency and intelligence, in God-given gifts, and in a Father and Mother who have planned for the eternal happiness of all of us, based on who we are and what we truly want. I believe this life is a sandbox, a lab test, not a Scantron test. A place designed to strengthen and reveal the truth about who we are, not a stopwatched measurement of how many "right" answers we know. There's more to it, of course, but at its core, I believe we're here to learn how to listen to and love each other.

I hope people will respect our privacy. If you have any questions beyond the scope of this post, please feel free to send me a message, I'd love to answer them. But also, please don't gossip about Nick and me. We're doing our best to live normally. I work in a field where gossip of that nature can be really harmful to my career, especially in Utah. I hope nobody will want to destroy that. I don't know where this will go in the long-term, but if I didn't think it would make me happy, I wouldn't be doing it! We're prepared to face opposition and anger, but I'll cross my fingers that we won't need to.


Monday, December 30, 2013

NYC Day Five (and Six)

We're wrapping things up! Our last full day in New York was meant to be as busy as yesterday, but upon waking up, I discovered that I didn't want to work that hard. Daniel was only too happy to go back to sleep, so we decided to forgo an attempt at Matilda, and spent the cold, cold day being fairly leisurely at our place. I did a little bit of school planning...I couldn't help myself. We traveled further than usual for dinner, at the teensy S'MAC on 12th Street - gourmet macaroni and cheese! Dan went with the All-American, a classic, and I tried the Four-Cheese variety. So yummy.
By the time we finished, though, it was 6:30, and we needed to hop the train to get to our last show, the musical Once. But our first obstacle proved to be ourselves: we went to the wrong side of the tracks. When we realized this (and that there was no way to cross to the other side, a serious defect in my mind), we went up the stairs, crossed the street, and then went down again. But now our Metro cards wouldn't allow us access, since they had just been used a few minutes before. We talked to the MTA employee in the bulletproof booth, who said we'd just have to wait for four minutes... And then, after six minutes, when they still weren't working, he told us we'd only have to wait seven more minutes. When we finally got through the gate and onto the right train, it was about 6:47.
The train was fast, but a bunch of little things kept cropping up: the doors took over a minute to open at one stop; once we departed the subway, we went in the wrong direction for just half a block; at the theatre, the ushers took their sweet time about scanning the tickets; this show, unlike all the other shows we'd been to so far, started precisely on time, and we had arrived at 7:02. What did this all amount to? We stood in the back of the theatre for the first fifteen minutes of the show. Not a tragedy... but for $142 tickets, I was a little irked.
Anyway, once we were finally seated, I was able to get into the story. A lot of Irish swearing, but beyond that, the story was simple, the set was deceptively simple, and everything else was subtle and simple and sweet. The main actor turned out to be a standby, but was really quite good, except for completely losing his Irish accent whenever he sang. The music was beautiful, although definitely not any sort of musical theatre style. The script was smart and funny and endearing, and the actors all played their own instruments - some of them played four of five of them - very, very well. It was a lovely show. And afterward, the actors were all lovely people. They came outside in a shockingly timely manner, and everyone happily signed programs! It was weird!
Tomorrow, we plan to have brunch at Momofuku's - including their famous "crack" pie - and we have tickets to see The Hobbit at noon - our final "show" here in NYC. I fly out at about 5:30, and Daniel's flight leaves a couple hours later. We'll be back in time for midnight.
It's been quite the trip. More expensive and more exhausting than I anticipated. Definitely educational. Pippin was my favorite show by far: the combination of spectacle, story, and song were so close to perfect. But all of the shows were fun and interesting in different ways. If I could afford to do this every year (in the summer, from now on, never the winter again), I think I probably would. But I think it'll be a once-every-three-or-four-years kind of thing. I loved it, but I also found I was missing my friends and students. I'm actually excited to get back home to Utah. Wish us safe travels!! Until next time!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

NYC Day Four

Today was already set as far as ticket purchases went, so we were able to sleeeep iiiiin. Our rented apartment room has no windows, so when we both woke up - around noon - there was no indication that it was actually daytime. And, in fact, once we were both showered and ready, and ventured outside, there was still no indication it was daytime: the rain was coming down steadily from metallic gray clouds. Our theatre was close though, so rather than hike back up four flights of stairs for our umbrella, we dashed down the street and south a block to the Cort Theatre to see Captain Picard and Gandalf in Waiting for Godot.
Once we got there, our ushers discovered that a delightful mistake had been made, and rather than aisle seats in the back of the center section, we had near-aisle seats on the far right in the back of the house. I'll tell you, spontaneity hasn't really been a huge friend on this trip. Next time I go, I'll probably try to make sure I have the money to buy guaranteed orchestra tickets to every show I'd like to see.
Anyway, we settled into our seats and got used to the scent of mildew wafting from all the rain-soaked patrons. The show itself was great. Beckett's text is so weird and disjointed on the page, but the acting and the excellent direction made it all make sense. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were both luminous and funny as Vladimir and Estragon (Di-di and Go-go), and Shuler Hensley and Billy Crudup were the perfect supporting cast. I believed in the characters completely. Sadly, because of the rain and the matinee, nobody came outside to sign programs.
Afterward, we grabbed some lunch, and Daniel convinced me to spend $24 at the Times Square Discovery museum, seeing an exhibit called The Art of the Brick.
It was so cool! It was all art from a 'sculptor' named Nathan Sawaya, who creates sculptures entirely out of thousands of LEGO bricks. The first section was all recreations of other famous works of art: the Mona Lisa, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Whistler's Mother, American Gothic, etc. The second section was made up of original works (not quite as cool or effective, but still fairly interesting), and the last bit was a mini-gallery for other artists' LEGO creations. All in all, definitely worth the 24 bucks.
After the museum, we took our time going back to Shubert Alley, and to the Booth Theatre for our 7 o'clock performance of The Glass Menagerie
The best thing about the show was the design. The set was a precarious floating arrangement of hexagonal 'rooms' - just the floors - with a series of shrinking fire escapes extending up into the ceiling. Surrounding this apartment was an empty black stage flooded with a shallow, reflective pool of water. It was awesome. The sound and lighting were wonderful too. The costumes were a little bit simplistic for my taste, but there's nothing wrong with that. The performances (Zachary Quinto, Cherry Jones, Celia Keenan-Bloger, and Brian J. Smith) were all interestingly off-kilter and filled with tension, but also endearing. Having seen this show once before at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, it was both surprising and gratifying to see the love that still existed in this dysfunctional family - it wasn't all friction and resentment and fear. And the Gentleman Caller was just as awkward as the family. Great stuff.
We got a couple signatures afterward from Brian and Celia, but Cherry and Zachary snuck out on us, so everybody missed them. However, while we waited, I had two very nice conversations with a pair of girls from Singapore, and another pair from Australia. All four were with impressed with my perspicacity on the subject of Tennessee Williams.
We tried to stop in at Junior's for some cheesecake, but the wait was over an hour, so we tossed that idea and just went home. Tomorrow will be our last chance for shows! Wish us luck!

NYC Day Three

It's about five in the morning here in New York, and there's a lot that I want to write about, but I'm going to stick with the basic stuff. We're halfway through our trip, and in some ways it feels like we've been here for a week or two. We aren't totally used to the subway system yet, or familiar with where most things are, but the Manhattan attitude seems to have sunk in, at least for me: I don't meander, I keep my eyes straight ahead, I'm friendly but not familiar, I ignore Walk/Don't Walk signs. The usual.
Saturday began with us being pretty much out of luck for Twelfth Night, and running out of time for the rest of the shows I wanted to see. One was already down for the count (Sleep No More), and it was looking like number two wouldn't be seen either, so we shuffled our plans around and that became another cold, early morning line to get tickets to Pippin.
Daniel was assigned to the rush line for The Glass Menagerie, to try and get into the matinee, but while we waited, I read a book and chatted with a couple visiting from Miami - one of whom, Justin, actually began talking about Utah. I couldn't help eavesdropping, and chiming in with my hometown info. He told me he was going to be working for the Utah Festival Opera this summer for the second year in a row, and we talked about Michael Ballam and the nature of Joseph's amazing Technicolor flak jacket, and finally it was ten o'clock. Just before the box office opened, however, Daniel came over to my line just in time to get a voucher to buy a ticket - they handed them out, one ticket per person, and if you didn't get a voucher, you were out of luck for the day. Good timing for Dan, but bad luck for Menagerie - they weren't selling any rush tickets all weekend. But we got tix for Pippin for that evening, and then sauntered up to Times Square to see if the TKTS booth had any discounted tickets for Glass Menagerie available.
When we saw the line, though - which ran in the range of three or four hundred people, at least - we gave up on that idea. We ducked into the Disney Store for about ten minutes - enough to realize it was not a place for grown men unless they had small children with them. Finally, we decided to head over to the Shubert Theatre to try and win lottery tickets to MatildaThe crowd wasn't huge, but we didn't get lucky; we'll probably try again on Monday. However, by then I think we were both frustrated with the whole system, and we sprang for guaranteed Menagerie tickets, then Waiting for Godot tickets, then Once tickets. Considerably more expensive than the rush tickets we'd been hoping for, but... well, I suppose we'll see if the money is worth it.
At that point, though, it was noon, and we were both hungry. Daniel suggested Ellen's Stardust Diner, which was fine with me as I'd never been there, so we headed up to 51st Street and waited in a short line to get in. I'll tell you this: the waitstaff can sing! The food was passable, and Daniel was loving it. But I was directly beneath a very, very loud speaker, and the only showtune on the set list while we were eating was "Tomorrow" from Annie, so I can't say it was my favorite. But it wasn't bad for a quick lunch. After eating, we decided to head back to the apartment to relax.
We were both desperately in need of a nap at that point, but I stayed awake and worked out what we were going to do in this foreign country if our last spot for a show didn't work out. A movie had worked for us yesterday, so The Plan started to include cinematic storytelling as well as the theatrical variety. More on that later.
Eventually evening came along, and we headed just a block downtown to the Music Box Theatre to see the show I was most excited for. I must say, despite far house left tickets that were considered partial view, for me, the show did not disappoint in the slightest. All the original principal actors were still there except for Andrea Martin, who was replaced by the hilarious Tovah Feldshuh. The music...was utterly gorgeous. The voices, the orchestrations, the emotion in the lyrics and notes...I wanted to stand up and sing with them all for two and a half hours. I wish deeply that Utah's audiences were able to understand the need for 'questionable' material onstage in order to teach moral lessons: this show teaches one of the best, purest principles, but it may not ever be seen on a large scale in our community, because of a few words and a symbolic scene. That is more tragic to me than anything. 
Specifically, Patina Miller was glorious. She was seduction in black. She earned her Tony every minute she was on that stage, and didn't even hint that this was her second incredibly exhausting show of the day. Wow. Matthew James Thomas was endearing and simple - almost too much so. Rachel Bay Jones was wonderful as Catherine, and the ensemble... I've never seen that much athletic and artistic ability onstage. So, so, so good.
After the show, we waited for signatures, and got several, but despite waiting until midnight in the cold, (featuring a quick surprise hello from my friend and old roommate, Tim Reed), many of the players never came out, including Patina. It made me a little sad. But, we bucked up and went down a couple more blocks to see another show - a movie this time. Since we hadn't been able to make it to a matinee, we got late-night tickets for The Book Thief, which I don't think is even out in Utah yet.
When it comes out, go see it. Go. See. It. Writing, acting, music, cinematography, etc., were all wonderful. Only two really big names, but the lesser-known actors were also absolutely perfect. It's a tragic and hopeful movie, at the same time. Oscar bait that really deserves some recognition. I loved it, and it made me think.
But now, I have to stop thinking, so I can go to sleep and stay awake for our matinee tomorrow. Good night!

Friday, December 27, 2013

NYC Day Two

A much less exhausting day! Still tiring, but Daniel and I (mostly Daniel) got better at navigating the streets and subways, so there was significantly less walking than usual. 
To begin, we arose at the crack of 8 a.m. and showered - me in cold water, since Daniel took all the hot - and made our trek all bundled up to the box office of the Neil Simon Theatre to get our rush tickets for the musical Big Fish, which closes on the 29th. My poor brother was cold, so he held our place in line while I went over to Starbucks to get some hot chocolate to keep us warm. It proved to be my undoing, because after waiting an hour and a half in line, Daniel got the very last rush ticket, just ahead of me. The man in the box office very kindly offered me a $59 ticket for the very back row of the mezzanine, but I declined as graciously as I could. The TKTS booth wasn't selling evening tickets yet, so we went back to our accommodations instead. I was somewhat depressed.
Now, our original plan had been to go after Big Fish to see another show called Sleep No More, based on Macbeth, running in a creepy hotel farther downtown, at about 11 p.m. But there were no discount tix for that show (which runs in the $85-$150 range), and the thought of navigating my way back to our apartment at one in the morning was less exciting now that I was remembering exactly how big these city blocks are. So, we nixed Sleep No More, and I spent the money I woulda on a discounted orchestra ticket to Big Fish. Much better deal. 
In addition, we decided that since we were dropping a play, we'd go see a movie instead! So at 1, we bundled up again, and headed past Times Square to the Regal E-Walk Cinemas (sounds like Star Wars royalty, doesn't it?) to see the highly anticipated Saving Mr. Banks.
Boy oh boy was it good. I never really bought into Tom Hanks as Walt Disney - both men are too iconic and idiosyncratic - but he gave it as good a go as any A-list actor could have. And Emma Thompson... Meryl Streep is great, but I'm a believer in Emma Thompson as the world's greatest living film actress. She was brilliantly cantankerous, vulnerable, and protective of her character's creations. I identified with P. L. Travers as an artist, as well as with the whole Disney team, knowing how wonderful the movie would end up being. Delicious, funny, heartwarming conflict and resolution. Paul Giamatti was a favorite as well.
After the movie, we turned a corner and scooted into Abitino's Pizza and Pasta for some "authentic" New York pizza pie and linguine alfredo. It was greasy and cheesy and so very tasty. And filling. I'm still full.
We also grabbed a train down to the Garment District to make a stop at Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. They were one of the few places in Manhattan that I could find selling thermals as well as pocket hand and toe warmers, so my extremities would stop going numb on this trip. And for 20% off! They also had an extensive collection of stage blood and wig supplies; I commented that they needed to set up a branch in Utah. The cashier dryly announced she'd be on the next plane out to us...
So, fully equipped to stay warm tomorrow morning, we went back to our place, so Daniel could nap and I could catch up with school stuff before our evening show. We caught the subway for just one stop, and went into the Neil Simon to see the fifth-to-last-ever original Broadway performance of Big Fish.
While I don't know if the score will stand the test of time as one of the greats, the production was really wonderful. Norbert Leo Butz was phenomenally energetic, charming, and engaging. His honesty, even as a teller of tall tales, kept the show glued together. Kate Baldwin was radiantly beautiful as the girl and wife who barely keeps him grounded, and Bobby Steggert was really young-seeming, especially with his slight speech impediment, but had a great voice and a disarming performance as the doubtful son trying to untangle his legendary dad's life. The ensemble was fantastic (and gymnastic!), and the design - especially the amazing integration of projections - was simple and flawless. 
Daniel was crafty enough to get about a dozen signatures at the stage door after the show. I, of course, got none, but I didn't mind. We headed home to a warm apartment, fully satisfied. It was a good Friday!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

NYC Day One

So, with the illustrious examples of greats such as Clin Eaton and Josh Long to guide me, I figured I'd better chronicle my adventures during my trip to New York City, which I'm taking with my brother as a somewhat unplanned vacation. 
It all started because I'm directing a production of Macbeth at my school this coming spring, and Macbeth also happens to be playing on Broadway currently. Around Thanksgiving time, I casually checked out the cost of flying in for a day, seeing the show, and flying back. The answer: too much. However, flights during Christmas Break were much cheaper...especially if I stayed longer than a day. Well, one thing led to another, my brother got wrangled into the mix (quite willingly, I might add), and our New York trip had wings.
And now, here we are! Day One.
By all usual standards, our flight was fairly run-of-the-mill. I sat in a window seat on an exit row next to a very nice flight attendant who was secretly having a showdown with her boyfriend via text message. She grumbled enough detail to tell me that somebody had misplaced a Christmas card (?) and now their relationship is doomed. The holiday spirit can be so fleeting.... The only bad part about the flight, really, was that the emergency exit I was seated against was not insulated, so my poor feet were VERY cold the whole time. Once we landed (and waited for about half an hour on the Tarmac - our punishment for arriving early), my toes began to thaw, and we set about trying to interpret the subway system and get to our "hotel."
Eventually we found the AirTrain, figured out how to get to Jamaica Station, and managed to purchase a 7-Day Unlimited MTA Card. We hopped onto the E line, and eventually got off at 53rd street and 5th avenue. A few blocks later we made it to our "hotel."
I have to use quotes, because it isn't actually a hotel, it's an apartment. An apartment room. One of five. For two of us, at $110 a night, it's quite nice, but the Ritz this ain't. It is, in fact, one floor above the Happy Valley Spa and Massage Parlor, owned by our landlady, Cindy. We did not inquire about their services.
One we'd had a chance to put our luggage down (FINALLY) and take a breather, we decided to grab some dinner before heading uptown to the Lincoln Center for the nights performance of the Scottish Play. So we strolled down the street to TGI Friday's and gaped at the prices. Luckily we were only buying one meal today. No substitutions, and no Coke products. Mozzarella sticks and chicken fingers were the winners.
Then another subway adventure from Times Square up to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, along with a detour to the Performing Arts Library, which had an awesome exhibit on Al Hirschfeld and his drawings - I discovered a secret about Nina!
At 7:30 we swung back into the Lincoln Center and went down to our front-row seats. The set was stark, but interesting - based on medieval pentacles and heptagons. The play was unabridged, and it showed. The three witches were men, including Malcolm Gets and John Glover (who played Lionel Luthor in the TV show Smallville); they were a highlight of the show. So was Brian D'Arcy James's Banquo - confident, powerful, and measured onstage, he never floundered with the text, or threw it away. 
But apparently Broadway actors have some of the same struggles that my high school students do: projection was a major issue! I couldn't figure it out - despite having microphones on and floor mics everywhere, I couldn't hear much of the time. It was frustrating. Macduff was played by Daniel Sunjata, who had a slightly English "Shakespe-ahhh" voice. I wanted to yell at him to pronounce his Rs. Lady Macbeth was played by a very pale British woman who was pretty good... she made out a lot with her husband, anyway. Ethan Hawke played the title character, and was...meh. He was either yelling or whispering most of the time, but occasionally there were some nice moments of honesty and emotion. His journey from honor to raging ambition to madness was disjointed and unclear though, and was more like a game of hopscotch than a developed character arc. The blocking was very nice: creative and natural, some great pictures up there on that black thrust stage. If only I could've heard them all when their backs were to me...there, on the front row.
All in all, however, a lovely, if absolutely exhausting, day. More tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's Gotta Be Me, Right?

It's strange to truly realize one day that I am the biggest problem in my own life. I am the one and only thing in common with all my failed relationships. Many of the people I admire most, with whom I wish I could be better friends, are besties with other people who despise me. Questions I ask because I care are routinely interpreted as intrusive, annoying, condescending, or confrontational. I'm no longer given the benefit of the doubt. My mother is being shunned in my home neighborhood because of my past mistakes. I constantly get played, mocked, shamed. The worst part is, I truly, truly don't understand what I am doing to cause this. I try to be nice to everyone. I try to care and show kindness and give sincere compliments and make restitution for the mistakes I've made or the harm I've caused. I try to get better. But I'm not. Soon my students will be gone for the summer. Nobody will be left that really respects me... and even they didn't, not really. And it can't be a huge conspiracy. And I can't believe that so much of the world - or my personal community, at least - is so mean and judgmental and unforgiving and spiteful. So that means that I am doing things wrong. I wish I could stop. Just stop everything. Start over where nobody else knows me. Forget everyone.

Too bad. Sucks for me.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Little Bit of Poetry?

An unexpected thing is happening.
A bit by little bit, it's easier to let go of the ones who bring me down.
I have the challenge in my daily life that keeps me tired; vital; on my toes.
I'm satisfied, in work, and then in art.
I love my students. They renew my soul.
So: past life, before whom I ofttimes shook and trembled: thy slow vanquishment draws near.
Goodbye A, D, C, K, T, S, D, D, S, K, R, T, K, T, R, D, and more. You made me happy once, but after all... the weight you have become will soon be shed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I have been writing on this blog for a little over four and a half years. That's kinda crazy! Who'da thunk that this particular form of journaling would be (relatively) successful for me!

Anyway, I haven't written for a few weeks, and I don't really even know what I want to write about tonight, except that I feel like I need to write about something. We're on the downhill slope at school, headed toward summer "vacation" time (I won't really have much vacation time realistically, but I'll at least be able to sleep in a bit), and a show I'm directing opens in a week, and I'm just overwhelmed. And also kind of underwhelmed at the same time. I went back to my college campus last night to watch a show, which was pretty good, and when it was over, I left without much fanfare. A few people said hi and gave me hugs, and then went to join their friends. I saw a couple of cast members, but most were beginning to strike the set. Most that I saw there didn't really care at all that I was attending. So, I kind of just slipped in and slipped out. It was a lonely feeling.

Maybe that's what I need to process. I didn't really leave a mark there. And I haven't really left a mark anywhere. I'm good at some stuff, but not remarkable. Sometimes I try to help people, but it doesn't last, or it backfires, or it just fails. I love my students, but I'm not very good at addressing their individual needs, or planning ahead. I'm way behind on grading, my classroom management leaves a lot to be desired, and the administration and custodial staff are fed up with my failures to keep things clean and organized and on budget. Many of the parents are supportive, and I just don't know what sort of help to ask them for. My apartment and car are big messes, and I can barely motivate myself to do laundry, much less motivate my students to work even harder on our shows. In summary, I'm doing okay.... but not great. I'm just mediocre.

It hurts, subtly, to even type that out. I had ambitions once, and somewhere along the line I compromised or rationalized or made errors until those ambitions became foolish overreaching. I'm a good singer, but not a great one. I'm a good actor, but I'll never be paid to act the starring role. I'm in shape... at least a shape. I have a strong spiritual side, but it's been languishing for years. I'm not truly awesome at anything, and I really really wanted to be.

I'm young-ish, though. I've probably got decades left to make a positive mark somewhere. So hopefully that time will come along, and I'll be remembered for something good. Something lasting. I hope.

Monday, December 31, 2012

A Year in Review

Okay, December 31st, 9:05 p.m., time to think about resolutions! First though, I'll be cliche and think about 2012. What an interesting roller coaster of a year....

Started right out of the gate with show 48, Noises Off. This was a blast, not too much stress, just lots and lots of fun. Worked with a whole bunch of people I already knew, and a few new faces as well. What a great show, a fun role for me, and a lovely cast.

At the same time, I jumped into rehearsals for my debut as a high school director and designer. Guys and Dolls at Viewmont High has to be one of the most rewarding endeavors I've ever participated in. It confirmed my career choice as absolutely right, it gained me some amazing new colleagues and resources, it taught me a lot of lessons and gave me some fantastic experience, and it introduced me to almost 90 students who awed me every day with their passion, their commitment, their openness, and their joy. What I would have given to be able to go back and work with them again!

But it was not to be. Instead, the spring months dealt me some interesting cards. I was abandoned by a close friend, and that helped me cut a lot of ties with my alma mater. I went through some terrifying possibilities that might have changed my career and my life. I began dating a beautiful woman, inside and out, who changed some things as well. I continued working at my "normal" job, and searching for a teaching position, while living at home with my parents and brothers. I auditioned for several shows, and was rejected (either immediately or eventually) from them all, except one.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, show 49, was a challenging experience as well. A full hour away for no pay. A smart, enthusiastic, and inexperienced production team. A theatre being built around us, with no dressing rooms, inaccessible restrooms and water, and just enough wing space to almost hide everything. However, the payoff was in meeting and working with some of the best people I could have been blessed to know.

In the midst of all came the bombshell: I got a teaching job. A big teaching job. A terrifying, overwhelming, wonderful teaching job, that I quickly grew to love - even before I met the students. More on them later. In celebration, I got my own apartment, and began living on my own - a situation that has been so right for me at this point in my life.

I was also cast in show number 50 in twenty years of acting: The Scarlet Pimpernel. This was a cast, a design, and a show to die for. I had a fantastic role, and had so much fun. I was crazy for attempting to do it while I was in my first year of teaching, but it worked somehow, and was completely worth it.

Finally, November and December brought some more new things. I took students on a trip (gulp). I directed The Music Man, which was artistically successful and commercially not; and in the process I grew to care more deeply about my students and their art than I thought I could. I felt enough authority that I intelligently defended myself to custodians, administrators, and parents. I managed to convince some skeptical students to like me and work with me. I put up a murder mystery in 6 and a half days, and it made money. I discovered how much money really does permeate everything. I taught and learned and improvised and disciplined and gave up and didn't give up. I unburned a bridge. I expanded my perspective.

And I resolved to do something in 2013:
Teach truly.
Play truly.
Pay truly.
Pray truly.
Speak truly.
Think truly.
Live truly.

If I can keep the concept of truth in my daily life, and let it blaze in me, then 2013 will be a good year.