Wow. The last Broadway show we saw before lockdown was The Minutes (with the original cast). That was March of 2020. Between the pandemic (and two cases of covid myself) and my being out of town a lot in 2022 performing, my husband and I had not taken the plunge and returned to seeing Broadway shows.
After I got back from doing Forum at the wonderful Maltz Jupiter Theatre at the end of December 2022, we agreed we really wanted to start going back to live theatre in NYC—but we also agreed we would still do it masked. Thanks to TDF, we were able to catch a bunch of wonderful productions, many of which were about to close. It felt so good getting back to being audience members again, and seeing a lot of truly wonderful pieces and performances. And so far we haven’t caught the latest version of covid. I’m fine with keeping my N95 mask on for seeing shows, especially since most audience members don’t wear masks anymore. I’m used to it, and it’s one less thing to worry about. I’m just so glad to be seeing productions in NYC again!
I woke today to the news that the great artist and lovely human Frank Galati has passed. In the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2013-14 season, Frank directed me in a gorgeously detailed PHILADELPHIA, HERE I COME! In the rehearsal room with Frank, every word, every silence, every image, and everyone’s input mattered. He wept a lot. We laughed a lot. I learned a lot. That same season, his equally brilliant husband and soulmate Peter Amster directed me in VANYA AND SONIA…what a double gift. And to top it off, that season I also had the honor of playing ex-preacher Jim Casy in a stunning revival of Frank’s monumental Tony-winning adaptation of THE GRAPES OF WRATH. I was so glad I got to see Frank again last March, trim and beaming, when he came to cheer on Peter’s peerless direction of THE 39 STEPS at Gulfshore Playhouse. Frank and Peter. What a team. What talent. What love. What larks. Frank, to paraphrase Jim Casy, the whole shebang you created onstage was holy. A world of artists and humans will miss you. Dearest Peter, we are all holding you in our hearts.
Two Jim Casy quotes from Frank Galati’s adaption of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath:
This here ol’ man jus’ lived a life an’ jus’ died out of it. I don’t know whether he was good or bad, but that don’t matter much. He was alive, an’ that’s what matters. Heard a fella tell a poem one time, an’ he says, “All that lives is holy.” Got to thinking’, an’ purty soon it means more than the words says….
I got thinkin’ how we was holy when we was one thing, an’ mankin’ was holy when it was one thing….when they’re all workin’ together—kind of harnessed to the whole shebang—that’s right, that’s holy.
Last year, aka 2022, was really had on a lot of people–including many of us in the arts. For me, the year included a show closed due to covid, a second case of covid for me (and first for Tim) from that production, and a lot of stress around covid testing for two more shows in the course of the year.
But you know what? It also included working with a lot of truly wonderful people, and enjoying some gorgeous Florida weather, too! I still managed to work on three excellent productions and narrate a wonderful new novel. So I have a lot to be grateful for despite the challenges. Here it is 2023 and as a certain Sondheim character famously declares: “I’m still here!” I don’t take that for granted.
Farewell, then, 2022, and welcome 2023! What do I see on the horizon? Contracts aren’t signed yet, but I’ve been offered another Shakespeare production (YAYYYYYY!!), been asked my availability to shoot a reboot of a promising pilot (YAYYYYYY!!), and may have something seasonal next holiday season as well. Time will tell! And I am also moving forward with my first full-length novel and my first blank verse comedy; I’m incredibly excited about both.
Stay tuned—and I wish you and yours a safe, healthy, happy, abundant new year!
All good things must come to an end, sadly. Our hilarious production of Sondheim’s A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum closes today after delighting audiences and critics alike. Below are some swell images by Jason Nuttle Photography.
Huge thanks again to the one and only Jen Werner, our utterly fantastic director, Caryl Fantel, our wonderful music director, Ariel J. Reid, our delightful choreographer, Suzanne Clement-Jones, our tireless production stage manager, and Jynelly Rosario, our superb assistant stage manager. And an extra thank you and shout out to Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato, who makes everything possible at the gorgeous Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Another round of thanks to our amazing backstage crew, our musicians, and all the front office folks who keep the theatre humming and keep the great shows coming. And thank you to all the friends, family, and utter strangers who came to see Forum and share in our zany antics for a couple of hours. Your support means the world to us all.
This was my fourth show at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre—and my first since their remarkable expansion, which now makes it the envy of all regional theatres. The facility has incredible potential. But nonprofit theatres are still hurting in a big way due to the covid lockdown. High costs during covid meant the theatre couldn’t finish the renovations as planned. If you have anything to spare this holiday season, I can think of no theatre more deserving of your donation than the Maltz Jupiter. I hope you’ll consider a donation today. They give a lot of artists work, and treat us all with respect and love. That is not a given in this business. They are leading the way.
On to my next projects after the holidays! More info soon. ❤️
Below is the first review for the just-released audiobook of E.H. Gaskin’s wonderful sci-fi/fantasy novel Rattle Man which I recorded in October.
I love this story and am honored to have become its voice. I’m so glad to know listeners are enjoying the fruits of our labors!
If you listen to the novel and enjoy it, please do leave a positive review on Amazon, Audible, and/or Apple. Every single good review helps boost visibility and sales for Ethan’s wonderful first novel. It’s so hard for a new author and a new novel to get noticed these days, so your vote of confidence really helps. Thanks in advance!
I’m still waiting for a producer to figure out this needs to be a major motion picture!
I’m so excited! At last the audiobook of Rattle Man by talented young author (and former performance coaching student) E.H. Gaskins is OUT!
I am thrilled and honored that Ethan asked me to narrate this tale, the first of three in his new Ymiran Chronicles series. If you are a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, you will absolutely LOVE this new book. Wonderful characters, great scenes worthy of any space opera, and a fairy tale twist: the book is Ethan’s own spin on the classic Rumplestiltskin tale. I won’t spoil any of the surprises—and there are a bunch of them!
I spent 24 hours in the recording booth with the wonderful folks at Voiceworks Audio creating 52 speaking characters to bring you this almost 13-hour science fiction audio adventure. Great studio, and this story is a great a ride!
You can buy the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, or Apple today. And if you enjoy, I hope you’ll spread the word to your family and friends. This is a terrific first novel. Not only does it deserve a lot of reads/listens, it deserves to become a feature film! I hope some smart producer out there is looking for the next Guardians of the Galaxy—because here it is!
Gosh, I’ve been so busy rehearsing I haven’t had time to post here about our great production at the fabulous (and gorgeously expanded) Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Jupiter, FL. But I’m so excited to announce the opening of our hilarious (and tuneful!) production of Sondheim’s classic A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum!! I play Senex, the show’s “dirty old man.”
What a cast and production team we have! And it’s also a meaningful reunion; Colin and I worked with both Director Jen Werner and Musical Director Caryl Fantel on The Mystery of Edwin Drood at this same theatre back in 2019 just before lockdown, and we love them both dearly.
If you’re in the Jupiter, FL area, I hope you’ll buy tickets right away and join us at the Forum! We play only 12/1-18, and tickets are starting to fly after great word of mouth from our previews. You can buy your tickets here!
I’m grateful and honored to be a part of this terrific company at this wonderful non-profit theatre. If you can see your way towards making a donation to the theatre as well, they would greatly appreciate it. Covid his all theatres really hard, especially the non-profits. And the Maltz Jupiter Theatre deserves your support.
The contracts are finally signed, and at last I can share the news:
I’m thrilled to announce my next audiobook project is the wonderful sci-fi fantasy novel Rattle Man by fabulous young author (and former coaching student) E.H. Gaskins! This remarkable first novel is an insanely creative retelling of Rumplestiltskin as an adventure-filled Norse space opera. I think Hollywood will snap this one up fast. It’s terrific and so cinematic. Great characters, great action, and all-around wonderful storytelling. Fans of Star Wars and Dune will love it. Recording starts Monday 10/3! 🎉🎤🎧 #audiobooks #narration #fantasy #sciencefiction
The audiobook will be out before the holidays. But if you want to buy the book in the meantime, you can do that here.
I’m so excited. And grateful. This is a major gratitude post. I count a LOT of insanely talented and kind actors and directors as my friends. That’s something to be grateful for right there. But a couple of weeks ago, a dozen or so of those very busy friends took time out of their performance and work schedules to take part in a Zoom reading of the new blank verse comedy I wrote this April as part of the Dramatists Guild’s End of Play Challenge.
Everybody jumped in and gave their all to this crazy new piece. Now, you might well ask: what possessed me to write a 12-character blank verse riff on a famous Shakespeare play? I’ll tell you: this is a queered version of the classic play, and I wrote it for a couple of reasons: 1) I never quite “believed” the heterosexual romantic pairings at the end of the original play and wanted to set that “straight” (as it were), and 2) I wanted to create a challenging, exciting, loving, funny, joyful, poetic, pro-LGBTQ+ play with really great roles for myself and some of the fabulous actor friends I know.
And you know what? I did. Even in this first version, hearing it aloud with a wonderful cast proved to me the play works like gangbusters. One of my director friends, a Shakespeare expert, told me afterward what I’ve already accomplished is “astounding”–and coming from him, that’s amazing praise. My actor and director friends also gave me fantastic comments afterwards, and I am already hard at work on revisions. I don’t know yet who will produce this ambitious play, but I know the world needs it now more than ever. Stay tuned!
And once again: my heartfelt thanks to all who took part in this first reading. You have helped me more than I can say and I am deeply grateful. ❤️
A quick update: I’ve been asked to narrate a wonderful new sci-fi fantasy novel that just had a really successful KickStarter campaign! What makes it even better is it was written by one of the grad students I coached at Western Colorado University last year.
This book has everything: quirky, appealing characters, a clever and ever-twisting plot, and a great mix of small scenes with large space operatic set pieces. With about 52 speaking roles, I have my work cut out for me! This is the first book in a series and I for one can’t wait to read the next installment.
I’ll share more info once we have contracts signed. Stay tuned for news later this summer!