Friday, June 3, 2016

Opening Night: This One's For You, Dad

Dad as a Young Man
I've seen this all before...many times in my life I've experience the rush of an opening night and all of the butterflies that go with it. As I had done 3 years ago when I returned after a hiatus to do Next To Normal, I had once again sworn off getting back onstage - but was pulled in when 4th Wall Theatre announced one of my favorite shows from the past 5 seasons on Broadway...Big Fish. I made my strong feelings for this show known in an article I wrote for the Huffington Post when I begged people to see it before it closed on Broadway.

With Alexander Wolfe
Yet this one feels different. It's more personal. It's not just getting up and doing another show and oh, wasn't that fun. It's been a journey like one I can't fully describe. Playing Edward Bloom is a roller coaster of a night (where director Kate Swan even has me dancing on stage...ME!) and going back and forth in time from older and younger. (I play from 10 years old to 59 years old in this play...without makeup or wigs.) :-)  It's a joy. It's a rush. It's an exhaustion like I've never known. It's a love story to fathers and sons. In playing him, I'm attempting to honor the man that molded me into the man I am today.  The one that truly believed I could do anything I put my mind to. I wonder what Dad would think of the things I've marked off my bucket list since we lost him 13 years ago. 

With Chris Traina
I can't say thanks enough to 4th Wall, Kate, Markus, Gwen, Martha - all those that made this dream a reality for me. There are those in life that believe in you even when you don't believe in yourself...and they believed I could handle this marathon. THANK YOU!  Big Fish teaches us to dream bigger and I suppose that's what I've done. This was one more challenge and mountain for me to climb as I complain of getting older and not able to remember lines, music, etc as well anymore. (Fingers crossed no one will notice if I go up on one or two!)

This cast and crew is incredible!! (Yes....HUGE shout out to crew, especially Liana and Lawrence backstage helping us in herculean costume changes.) Every person involved in this show has been amazing. "A man is as rich as his friends..." and with this production, I've been able to work with old friends and make new ones as well. I am so happy to have taken this journey with them all. It's something I'll never forget and I can't wait for audiences to experience the tall tales of Edward the next two weekends.  
With Laurice Grae-Hauck

If you have nothing to do June 3,4,5, 10,11,12 - visit us at the Westminster Arts Center, stop and smell the daffodils, and be transported with a beautiful story about life, love, and those we leave behind.

This one's for you, dad.

Photos by Carl Schmidt