Monday, May 21, 2012

Meet. Greet. Run Home Crying.

UntitledToday I'm meeting someone new. It's a blind date sort of a thing only for creating. I'm meeting a potential accompanist and/or music director. This is my 3rd try at matching with someone and my 2nd actual meeting. I've concluded that in the past I've just been too lucky.

I returned from school in the UK looking for a vocal coach. I can't even tell you how I met Marian. I went to meet her one day in her tiny studio apartment on the Upper West Side and was hooked. She was an aspiring opera singer, which meshed nicely with the bel canto training I'd had in London, and was teaching while she furthered her career. She'd spend far too much time with me without charging extra and we had a great time until she got married and just...disappeared. But not before I'd done an invitation-only cabaret show to see if I could carry a whole show on my own. I could.

Then I found Charles. Again, can't remember how we met. He was musical theatre jazz hands all the way. He'd been working in the business and playing on self-produced CDs by other musical theatre folks and he had a lot of technical information about how shows happened. I needed information. I worked with him once a week while I put together my first honest-to-goodness cabaret show and was excited to be doing it all right and for my sky rocketing to cabaret success. Famous among dozens, indeed! Three weeks before the show Charles announced that, in addition to the things I listed above, he had a cocaine addiction and needed to leave town immediately for treatment. I have never seen or heard from him again.

OK, when I put it down in writing like this it doesn't sound so much like luck, does it?

Disney Poster My first cabaret show was at an iconic cabaret venue, Don't Tell Mama. All the wait staff there are singers and actors and they know their shit. After my show one night the woman who'd been serving in my room drew me aside. As tactfully as possible she explained that the guy I'd gotten to accompany me after Charles coked out wasn't up to doing what I needed. She urged me to go see Don't Tell Mama's proprietor, Sidney Myer, immediately and find a better fit.

I kept the post-its with Sidney's suggestions in my knapsack for months. Probably as much as a year. The first person I called from that list was D. Jay Bradley. Jay was everything good in music, theatre, and life. He is one of the best musicians I've ever met and a teacher par excellence. He gave of himself and his knowledge so generously that I fear I could pay it forward my whole life and never have balanced the scales. He was accompanist, music director, arranger, occasional lyricist, coach, and record producer. He gave me everything I asked for and a million things I didn't know I needed all for a price that was laughably reasonable. During my second cabaret show his brother died suddenly. Rather than leaving town never to return he set me up with a substitute, Bobby Peaco, another entry from Sidney's original list. Bobby was another fantastic musician and gentle human being and I probably hadn't called him simply because he put himself at a higher price point than Jay. Jay returned and we worked together off and on until his death in 2007. At that point I honestly didn't know if I'd ever find anyone else to work with and the enormity of what they'd have to live up to was so daunting I didn't even look.

Gladiators.For my 40th birthday in 2009 Julie gave me one free session with vocal coach Elynn Diamond. For my 42nd birthday Julie called and scheduled the session for me.

Elynn opens whole new vistas for me. I am working harder for her than I've had to work in a long while. It's scary and funny and weird and I know that I'm getting better as both a singer and an actor. It's time for me to find an accompanist and a venue and put together another show. This time no one is falling in my lap. Fortunately Elynn's list of suggestions is at least as long as Sidney Myer's and I'm getting to know some different folks and their styles while I search.

I'd like to find someone soon. I'd like to be back on stage before 2012 passes us by. I think, though, that I have to be willing to hold out for the right match because having a D. Jay Bradley fall in your lap is certainly a once in a lifetime gift. I have a good feeling about the gentleman I'm scheduled to meet tonight but I don't want to jinx it. I just want to go and talk and sing and be terrified and sleep on it and see what happens next. My friend Chris once told me that the only thing you have to decide on a first date is whether you want to go on a second.

Fingers crossed for a second date, ok?



  1. I'm excited for this list. Your person is on it somewhere. I just know it. I cannot WAIT for you to get back onstage.

  2. fingers crossed for sure

  3. Why does it have to be a "once-in-a-lifetime?" This is a big ole city. If there was one, there are surely two.
    Good luck finding your new director! It's all very exciting!

  4. Dying to know too... too bad you didn't live here; we'd have you fixed up in no time. Hell, you could even do one of your one person shows in the Fringe in September while we were at it!