10 January, 2014

Friends I Admire (and Why) - Part 4

Beverley Klein

- So mischievous, and fun, and smart, and sensitive all at once!
- Smart as a whip.
- She spells her name with a third "E." Classy.
- No matter where she lives, Bev always seems to have a comedic, omnipresent seemingly un-fixable leak in her bedroom. 
- She's a true "chum" (to use her extremely British, and accurately descriptive word). Nothing in the world can rip us to bits! Distance. Time. "Age difference." "The show being over." I feel as close (if not closer) to her today than I ever have, and more so all the time... So there. True chums.
- About a year or so after (brilliantly) playing Golde (my Hodel's mother) in the last West End revival of "Fiddler on the Roof," Bev and I walked into a hair salon so she might take a peak a few products. The owner of the salon looked at us for a minute or so then asked if we were mother and daughter. Beverley and I looked at one another and got quite verhklemt (as Golde and Hodel might say), both somewhat bashful about how touched we were to be considered related in real life. It was a sweet little moment.
- ...And it illustrated something I loved so deeply about her: Beverley is a strong woman—she was born in Post-War North London, she doesn't suffer fools, she speaks her mind, and doesn't like when a lot of fuss is made about nothing. But there is a tremendous difference between strength and imperviousness. Beverley is neither hard nor soft—she is neither and both. For Beverley Klein is also a woman of deep feeling, profound emotional intelligence, and warm, true connections to people, things and causes that matter; and that lovely sentimental side creeps up like a swelling inner ocean at only the most sophisticated of moments.
- She has the best and most beautiful
  1. Smile
  2. Mouth
  3. Teeth
  4. Sparkly eyes, and
  5. full-throttle LAUGH

- I call her "Bluma." She calls me "Scmulie." It's our thing. We're "Blu and Schmu."
- Beverley is on that emergency list of people that if I suddenly decided to have some sort of "shotgun wedding" and I had to call 10 people and tell them where to show up...well, suffice it to say Bev would be on that list. And she'd not only show up. She'd show up early, in a cute outfit, and probably offer to sing "Always a Bridesmaid."
- This woman is talented beyond reckoning. I would go anywhere to witness her perform. Watching Beverley work has been some of the most valuable hours I've spent in the theatre. She taught me almost everything I know (but didn't quite learn "in my bones" as a youngster, if you will) about objectives, motivated action, getting inside the skin of a character, and honoring their story above your own ego, and perhaps best of all, searching your soul and asking what you specifically have to "say" about a character.

"Mikey" and I... age 17/18
Michael Arden

- I've known him through not one but two name changes.
- I love the way his brain works (in super-hyper-blinding-mind-boggling creative overdrive)
- I love the way he sees the world (with hope, humor, compassion and wonder)
- He is the most multi-talented human I have ever met in my life. (Who is smart, acts like a genius, sings like a God, writes prolifically, produces, directs, composes, plays piano AND is that good looking? I... just don't know...)
- He was my Prom date. In fact, I would wager we've been to more High School Proms together than  anyone else in history (aaaaand that would be 3).
- He was also on my arm at my Broadway debut. Full circle beauty right there.
- We were Georg and Amalia. Archibald and Lilly. Charlie Brown and Lucy. Tony and Maria. You get the idea...
- He was the sole voice singing at my father's funeral.
- He came to The Woman in White twice (even though, as he said "I already knew her 'secret'...")
- We have this thing we do where I quite enjoy putting my nose in his belly button for personal amusement.
- We also have this other thing we do where the presence of the other makes us obliged to eat ALL THE FOOD ON EARTH.
- He believes in me. And because I admire him so much, it helps me believe more fervently in myself (particularly on the days when it feels very hard to).
- No one—and I mean NO ONE ON EARTH—makes me laugh like Michael Arden.
- He's the friend that... WRITES YOU A PLAY when he's 18. In fact, writes you a play and then 11 years later writes a part for you in another play
...and at Broadway debut in 2011
- Michael and I met at summer camp in 1999—paired together in our advanced acting class (that incidentally also contained still-friend, colleague, and Tony-nominee Santino Fontana as well as "Chosen Sister" photographer extraordinaire Arielle Doneson) in a "content-less scene—" (where you use vague standard dialogue to apply any number of circumstances.) Well all I can say is that it was magic.
- I don't think either one of us had ever in our young lives met another person with whom we had felt such an intense creative affinity, and I will go so far as to say I have never quite found anything quite as intensely in sync as it ever again. Michael and I were the kind of partnership that required little to no discussion; a silent, utterly synchronicitic link that allowed us to flourish profoundly in our formative years. I have met so many incredible artists along my life's path—as I know he has as well—but there is something to be said for the person you first shared that spark with, the first person to explode your sense of what is possible, and in doing so, not merely create beautiful things together, but make you better at everything you ever attempt to create again. 

More friends I admire:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


  1. I.LOVE.this! Such a beautiful and accurate description of our dear friend. So sorry I missed you the other night Al. Loads of love x

  2. ah, lovely Beverley. This is gorgeous x



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