23 August, 2015

A letter to Henry

Hi. Just writing to say thrilled to hear your doing Tzeitel in New York. I'm planning to see it ... When do u open ? What an insight you will have to bring to a new (but ever present) Anatevka! Much joy.

So pleased you are thriving ... 
I'm on the platform with you x

Henry G


Wonderful wonderful Henry,

What a total joy to hear from you—and of course you have been on my mind constantly. I so apologize for the delay in responding, your email has been sitting in my inbox with a little “Flag” on it since it arrived, and I don’t think there is anything I procrastinate more than electronic communication.

This Fiddler journey has been a magical one—and I have barely begun this new chapter! Our Anatevka journey with that particular company was so thorough, so detailed and passionate an exploration, it truly taught me how to be an artistic actor in the professional realm. But above all, it holds so many endemic memories—those people are still my favourite colleagues, some of closest friends, and it gave me a true community and family so (pardon the expression) “far from the home I love.” It will never fade for me.

I remember you once told me—this memory truly stands out like a stark, clear diamond in the haze of remembered past—you told me that those truly rare and perfect moments shared on stage didn’t happen as often as one hoped, or anticipated, but when they do… they are “like gold dust.” You were referring to our train station scene, and I almost couldn’t speak I was so honoured and moved. The gold dust part was so vivid— and so exactly correct. I’ve never forgotten it. ...And it turns out, a few years down the line and 10 years (?!) in the acting world now, you were quite right. In my career thus far I think I can count two stage relationships like that, of which you were the first. Thank you.

I think it’s also taken a good deal of reflection to realize that Hodel helped me grieve about my fatherhelped me say goodbye, every day. And not in an indulgent way, but in a way that made me uniquely qualified to feel the magnitude of that scene so early in my life. Hodel was the first character I ever “missed” when we parted company—like a friend who stopped calling all of a sudden. I suppose that was what led me to Siberia, and to write the books, I needed to play her story out somehow.

And I have.

When I first heard about this Broadway revival, I naturally wanted to be some kind of a part of it—it is the 50th anniversary, we are so blessed to still have Sheldon with us, and it is such an important show to me, to us, to the entire world, etc. But I heard they were looking to cast the daughters as actual teenagers, and while I understood, I was a little sad. I was called in on the last two days of auditions (I had actually been out of town playing Eliza Doolittle with Anthony Andrews wouldn’t ya know?) and from there it was all a whirlwind!

Reading through the script again, and viewing the piece objectively, one thing was certain: I wasn’t Hodel anymore. I have told and lived her story and now it is someone else’s turn. And frankly, I wouldn’t want to wait at the train station with anyone other than you… I’m aware that that probably sounds like American sentimentality, but ah well. I’m American after all and as I grow up I’ve learned to stop apologising for things we can’t change. :)

You know, a few months ago I went to a very good friend’s wedding, and as she walked down the aisle, I burst into almost unconscious tears. She was beautiful of course, but she was also walking down the aisle with her father—and I suppose my subconscious recognised that no matter what I ever do, achieve, or build, that moment cannot be purchased or won or fought for. I will never have it. Ever.

...But now? Now, I will have it. By proxy, on stage... isn't that one of the beautiful things about fate, (and, of course) about the theatre? We have the blessed opportunity to experience so much more of life and humanity in one lifetime. What a gift. 

And as I grow up, and my focus shifts much more to lasting relationships such as marriage, as well as family, children, true love and the meanings of community and faith—I realize that all these things  make me uniquely qualified to serve Tzeitel’s story now—and endeavour to serve her I shall, with every scrap of depth, integrity, artistry and richness I can muster. I hope there is gold dust in that oath... well, 'we shall leave it in His hands.'

Goodness—this did become a proper letter!

I am headed to London on Thursday. It would be so wonderful to see and hug you again. Until I do, I’m sending you all my love. 



PS) I'm on the platform with you too. Always.

22 August, 2015

In My Life: My Nieces

Hannah, Madison and Charlotte Silber
Lake Tahoe, NV

21 August, 2015

Crazy Coqs in London, 1-5 September

London I am coming home!

And what a way to return.
In a fancy-schmancy nightclub singing my favo(u)rite songs with some of my favo(u)rite fancy-schmancy [talented, beautiful, kind, hilarious, fun] pals.

Here is what the papers say [with my additions in Red...]:
"West End and Broadway star [Hmmm] Alexandra Silber has announced a range of special guests for her show at London venue Crazy Coqs. Each night of the run, from 1 to 5 September 2015, will feature a different guest.

These are now confirmed to be:

1 Sept - Howard Goodall (composer of Bend it Like Beckham) [or, super-genius musician, composer and clever clever raconteur with a heart of gold]
2 Sept - Damian Humbley (Merrily We Roll Along) [or, Australian former-love who sings like Jesus and, fine, is sometimes quite funny]
3 Sept - Julie Atherton (Avenue Q) [or, va-voom looks, side-splitting humour, cat-lover, and killer belting]
4 Sept - Simon Bailey (The Phantom of the Opera) [or, sexypants, great hair, insane vocals...hair]
5 Sept - Gina Beck (Wicked) [or, soprano goddess, petite beauty, and OH: my HAND TWIN...]

American-born Silber's West End credits include The Woman in White, Fiddler on the Roof and Carousel and most recently as Kate in Kiss Me, Kate with the John Wilson Orchestra at Royal Albert Hall for the BBC.

Silber is a Grammy-nominee for her performance as Maria in West Side Story on the symphonic recording with the San Francisco Symphony. On Broadway she has starred in Master Class, as well as appearing in Hello Again, Arlington, Love Story and most recently My Fair Lady. Silber returns to Broadway this fall in the revival of Fiddler on the Roof, this time playing the eldest daughter, Tzeitel under the direction of Bartlett Scher. [...OMG]"
More information and tickets are available here.

Please join me London, and see you soon!

PS) you will be hearing this song... come on...don't you wanna be there...?

20 August, 2015

Return to Anatevka

Dearest of Readers,

Miracle of Miracles...

For those among you who have been with me for a while, you know this to be truer than anything:

I belong in Anatevka... 

And back I shall go.
This time as Tzeitel.
Can you believe it?
Can you believe my unbelievable fortune--to be blessed with the gift of this endemic piece of theatre not once but twice in my career?

Not to mention the following not-so-secret theatre-nerd-geek-outs
I get to play Tzeitel...
In the 50th Anniversary production...
Directed by Barlett Scher...
With 'Dear Friends' Sheldon Harnick
     and Ted Sperling
At the biggest theatre on Broadway...
Getting married everyday...
     ...in a Catherine Zuber wedding dress (!!!)
While Danny Burstein
     and a cast of 40
          sing "Sunrise, Sunset"
               on BROADWAY. 

... N. B. D
Additional casting has been announced for the upcoming Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Alexandra Silber (Master Class) joins the cast as Tzeitel, along with Alix Korey (All Shook Up) as Yente, Samantha Massell (La Boheme) as Hodel, Ben Rappaport (Picnic) as Perchik, Jessica Vosk (The Bridges of Madison County) as Fruma Sarah, and Aaron Young as Sasha. The company will also include Julie Benko, Jesse Kovarsky, and Silvia Vrskova. 

As previously announced, the revival production will star five-time Tony nominee Danny Burstein and Tony nominee Jessica Hecht as Tevye and Golde, along with Adam Kantor as Motel the tailor. 

Produced by Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, and Jam Theatricals, Fiddler on the Roof will feature choreography by Hofesh Shechter, based on the original work of Jerome Robbins. Tony winner Bartlett Sher will direct alongside frequent collaborators Michael Yeargan (scenic design), Catherine Zuber (costume design), and Donald Holder (lighting design).

Featuring a book by Joseph Stein and a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof is inspired by Sholom Alecheim's stories of the milkman Tevye, who tries to hold on to "tradition" as the world around him and his family in the little village of Anatevka changes. This Broadway production is the show's sixth since its record-breaking debut in 1964. 

Performances will begin November 12 in advance of a December 17 opening at the Broadway Theatre.

For tickets and more information, click here.

08 August, 2015

"I Don't Know...YET!"

Ohai. Check this phrase out:

I Don’t Know.

I strongly suggest you give it a little re-visit.
Not to give it the ol' heave-ho, or to banish it from your life.
No no.
Calm down.

First things first, it is totally okay to not know.
There was a time when man didn’t know how to make
    or origami cranes;
plus there was a time before you knew allllll about the intricacies of The Walking Dead.
The point is, there was always a time when we don’t know something.

Living in the unknown is more than just okay, it is to be reveled in, made peace with, if not downright celebrated! The fact is we simply cannot always have answers for everything, all the time, the second we feel we require them. Sometimes we have to “let go and let God” ...or some such.

However, living in a constant state of unknowns without a scrap of personal agency or hope?
Oh dear dear dear—buckle up for a long ride to IGNORANT-AND-BORING-VILLE.

Yeah. Don't be this cat.
1. Don’t be Lazy.
[“I Don’t Know” can be about being lazy.]

Our nomadic ancestors had to conserve energy to compete for scarce resources and to fight or flee enemies and predators. Look behind you: is there a tiger chasing you? NO? Then consider getting a grip.

Enjoying some down-time, recovering from a bout of stress or hard work, or indulging in some well-deserved rest is ONE THING. Laziness is quite another.
And when I say another I mean something akin to a Jabba-the-Hut-like-creature picking his nose while waiting for answers to just… COME ALONG.
Or for someone to just DO IT FOR YOU.
Or for things to just…FIX THEMSELVES.
Or just generally…'SCHMEH, WHATEVS.'

Laziness is VERY different from genuine exhaustion. If your body requires rest, by all means rest! But if your psychology is telling your brain and body that you “can’t be asked…?” Different story.

Synonyms for laziness are indolence and sloth (wow, those sound great). While 'sloth' has more moral and spiritual overtones, 'indolence' derives from the Latin INDOLENTIA, ‘without pain’ or ‘without taking trouble.’ 
“A person is being lazy if she is able to carry out some activity that she ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, she carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle. In short, she is being lazy if her motivation to spare herself effort trumps her motivation to do the right or expected thing.”
Don't be a lazy-face.
Get motivated and get over your lazy.
First step?

Submitted without caption
2. Curiosity
[“I Don’t Know” can be about lacking curiosity.]

There is nothing more toxic (or less sexy) than apathy. Inquiry, Evidence, and Argument are the basis for Curiosity; observed phenomena and logically valid conclusions are then drawn from the evidence. All of these are the powerful tools we use to understand WHAT IS.

Who invented the printing press?
...What's that...? 
...You don't know?
 ... Well you know who does know? The interwebs.
Use your curiosity, and then your thumbs and press “SEARCH.” In addition to Googling LIKEABOSS, I enjoy the time-honored traditions of:

    calling someone and talking it out
    getting real quiet and just meditating for 20 minutes or so
    asking Siri
    going to this magical place called The Library
    contacting an actual expert

And yes, it may take some time, and require some patience, but to find, you must seek. If you wallow around and hope it will take care of itself, you might get lucky (and some people do), but odds are you could wake up at 85 and wonder where the hell the awesome life you were supposed to live went exactly. 


3. You are capable!
[“I Don’t Know” can be about feeling incapable.]

Relishing in, and making peace with the unknown is one thing, feeling anxious about what’s next is a whole other bag of burritos. Let's think of all the things (however “ordinary”) you ARE capable of doing:

    salad making
    explaining stuff
    listing Pixar movies in chronological order
    having a sense of direction
    installing ceiling fans (with or without a ceiling fire) 

Hey! Look at that! My my, aren't you good at things!

In the therapeutic practice of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (also known as DBT) one of the core skills discussed to build self-esteem is active practice of achieving Mastery. Because DBT is an evidenced-based treatment module, its efficacy is based on a collection of facts. The theory is this: if it is a FACT that you can vacuum, give directions and make salad, chances are you can do other stuff too. 

Psychologist Aysha Ives says:
"Do something that makes you feel good and increases your level of competency each day. When you feel good about who you are, your abilities, and your accomplishments, then you’re more likely to use Wise Mind during stressful situations. This means that your vulnerability for letting your emotions control you significantly decreases."

Put simply:
You are capable.
Practice some form of mastery every day (no matter how insignificant your mastery may feel to you).
Soon you'll realize it too.
Gain confidence about your awesome-ness.
Become masterful about other things.
...Because you are innately capable.

4. Decide to figure it out already.
[“I don’t know” can be about a lack of agency.]

When you Decide to figure it out, decide with a capital “D.” If you really want to “get on with it already,” define exactly what may provide some clarity, then make it a goal like any other goal and do not stop until you get there! Sometimes this looks like:

    middle of the night phone-calls / emails / walks
    talking to your cat like she cares (or miiiight talk back)
    vision-boarding 'til there isn’t a single glue-stick left in Queens
    going for the kind of jog that looks like you are running from SATAN
    making that appointment / going on that date / cleaning that attic already
Again: whatever.
Sometimes you just need a NAP.
Sometimes you need to go to Siberia.  
…and I’ve done both of those too. And turned out just fine. The world will still be there when you wake up, or wake up.

5. Don't Pretend

Listen, in our society is simply not "allowed" to NOT know, many of us pretend we do, when we don't.
Don't do that.
Here's why:
Pretending to know is silly.
For it is, in fact, one of the fastest paths to ignorance.
Think about it: 
If you pretend you know,
     then you are not free to ask (because you are pretending to know)
          and if you cannot genuinely ask
               then you can never truly, know.
Stop that. Just admit you don't know, ask, and then make that knowledge yours! KAPOW!

6. Re-frame the Words.
[“I don’t know” can easily be changed!]

Because we are powerful creatures whose thoughts and words create our realities, if you walk around declaring “I don’t know,” The Universe will take your word for it and fill your head with cat litter instead of insight. In order to obtain the clarity you desire, replace this statement with something more along the lines of:

“Clarity is coming to me, it always does!”


“I’m so grateful because knowledge is zooming toward me!”


“I suggest you step aside because whatever this new idea is, it’s going to be SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDTIOUS!”

Or my very favorite,

“I don’t know…YET.”

Why do I like that one? Because it admits that at this moment, you do not know.
And it implies that you are okay with that
...but fully trust that you are capable of finding out with a little patience, faith, and elbow grease.

It doesn't have to be a terror-fest.

As the Serenity Prayer teaches us…

May you have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change,
    the courage to change the things you can,
        and the wisdom to know the difference.

So here's to serenity, in the face of the Unknown.


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