02 September, 2023

Ask Al: Not all opportunities are created equal...

 Hello Al, 

I am a mid-career American actor and would appreciate your professional advice!

As background: I am a professional actor in my mid-thirties, I've performed leading roles in regional American theater, have appeared on concert stages, albums, and have covered multiple roles on Broadway.

I've recently changed agents-- a move I'm largely excited about! However, the very first audition my new agents have sent my way is what I would consider to be a really "poor match" for me and I'm experiencing concern. 

  • Concern for how my new agents view me, 
  • and for a possibly warped view of how I see myself
  • concerned that my agent and I aren't on the same page 
  • and for tarnishing new relationships by turning down an opportunity (however inappropriate I think that opportunity might be)

Do I take advantage of the base "opportunity to audition" even though the role/job is not one I want?

The project itself is something I have a lot of history with, is in line with my skill set, my personal history/identity, is with a company I would love to work with someday (perhaps on something else), and is indicative of the theatrical work I want to be doing. But the role I have been submitted for is traditionally played by an actor 10-15 years my senior, and as a woman in my mid-thirties, the role seems to be at odds with how I see myself both as a person and in the casting brackets of the industry.  

While perhaps I am indeed perceived as older than I regard myself and need to have a reality check, I think the larger concern is that my new agents and I aren't quite aligned. 

  • Should I "suck it up" and take the audition? 
  • Do I pass on the opportunity and not mention to the agents how concerned this makes me? 
  • Or do I brooch a hard conversation with the new agents? 

I'm so conflicted. But equally, I'm surprised by how "emotionally activated" this situation has made me-- which usually indicates something deeper is at play—so I'm not responding with the clarity I'm accustomed to. I'd so appreciate your advice. 





Dear Concerned, 

First of all, congratulations on being a mid-career actor in her thirties who is represented, working at what sounds like an admirably high level of skill and professionalism, and still passionate and committed to her craft in the prime of life! That's a lot to be proud of, and I mention it specifically because I think we often forget to appreciate how much we've accomplished and how far we've come—especially when we might be stuck inside a thought loop. So brava: you made it this far in your manifested artistic life. 

Next, rather than focusing on what the "right" choice is (because there is no "right choice"), my first advice is to get real quiet with yourself and get to the root of these activated feelings before trying to land on a preferred solution. 

Might this be about... 

  • being perceived of as older than you are/feel/wish to be viewed and the judgements and emotions that brings up? 
  • feeling misunderstood or misrepresented? 
  • feeling anxious because you're a recovering people-pleaser, and saying "no—" especially in a new relationship—is extra challenging for you? 
  • potentially being perceived of as "difficult" and/or "picky" or "a diva" by this new agent and the casting director and THOSE labels activate you? 
  • a self-worth issue? ("who do I think I am to turn this down?") 
  •  ...or something entirely different?

No matter the reason(s), getting real with yourself about the underlying feelings creating anxiety in this scenario will help you navigate it with better clarity. And I'll add—not ONLY this scenario, but future scenarios that activate your anxiety as well! (And as a post script: your identity as a female on planet earth does not make the above perceptions easier. Women do indeed fight stereotypes about being difficult/a diva/high-maintenance, that in men would be applauded as "knowing their worth" or "having standards...")

Finally, after you've done that, I'd "change the lens" on this for yourself and regard it as an opportunity to have a deeper, more meaningful conversation with your new agent about the kind of work you want to do, the way you wish to be represented in the industry, and to engage in meaningful dialogue about that in a back-and-forth that can only provide data for you both going forward. Just like a misunderstanding in a friendship or romantic partnership, these moments can be ignored and cause fragility, OR they can be the catalyst for a deeper conversation that gives everyone a chance to gain more understanding. 

Your agents might respond with something simple:

  • "the casting director asked for you specifically and I felt obligated to send it your way!"
  • "I figured why not? An audition is an audition, right?"
  • Thank you for this feedback-- let's pass and then dig in to other opportunities! 

I'll lightly warn: there is the possibility that your agent will not respond positively, or with the open heart and mind of your design. They might get defensive, double-down, or use language that re-activates some of your fears (for example might say something like "you can't be so picky" or "a lot of my other clients your age are going in, why can't you just trust me?") That is a distinct possibility, and I offer that the quality of their response is equally good data for you going forward.

While opportunities are wonderful, not all opportunities are created equal

And while this audition opportunity is one worth considering, the opportunity for deeper discussion is one that should definitely not be passed up!


16 August, 2023

Elul: 29 Journaling Prompts for 29 Days

Elul— the final month of the Hebrew calendar is here, which means the High Holidays are near and so is renewal, atonement and fresh starts. 

As the final month of the year, the Hebrew month of Elul immediately precedes the "High Holy Days" of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the "Day of Atonement.")  Jewish tradition welcomes us to use this 29-day month to undertake a cheshbon nefesh, or “accounting of the soul.”

Did you know that the four letters of Elul (א ל ו ל) are said to be an acronym for אני לדודי ודודי לי, “I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me,”expressing the closeness that we experience with G‑d, the Divine, the spiritual— during this time.  

Elul calls to us— to turn inward towards our soul, outward toward nature and our fellow man; to zoom both out and in in perspective. It beckons us to recall our most sacred and authentic selves, to return to ourselves and nourish it anew. It is a time for taking an account of our year, and envisioning our very best selves, going forward. 

It is at this time of year that Jews focus of teshuva. The Hebrew word “Teshuva” is often translated to mean “repentance.” But it is more etymologically accurate to translate the word teshuva as “return.” During Elul and the High Holy Days, we are given this gift of return—to ourselves, to our loved ones and to our spirituality. There is no more auspicious time in the Jewish calendar than now to reflect, introspect and prepare to repair the world.

With all of this in mind, it is a productive and beautiful custom to journal during the month of Elul— utilizing each of the 29 days to reflect upon new concepts that might aid in a meaningful atonement, and fresh start. When approached with intention, writing can be a profound practice. 

In the days of Elul that leading up to the High Holy Days, I wanted to offer you, dear readers, a few journal prompts to explore for each of the 29 days of this beautiful and sacred time. 

However "religious" or "spiritual" you may be, whatever your spiritual practice or exact beliefs, anyone can benefit from taking part regardless of where you approach the experience from.

Jewish and new to Elul? Dip a toe.

Out of practice? Give it a whirl. 

Very in touch with the Jewish calendar but in the mood for new prompts? Jump on in. 

Not even Jewish but interested in joining in? Welcome.

Enjoy. May it be a meaningful Elul for you, wherever the moon may shine her light upon you.


  1. What do you hope for in the New Year?
  2. What is forgiveness? How do you define forgiveness? What does it feel like? Sound like? Look like? How do we forgive?
  3. What makes a good apology? 
  4. What is your relationship with your body and health, and think about how you might realistically change or maintain that relationship in the coming year. What does your ideal relationship with health look like?

  5. The Hebrew word “Teshuva” is often translated to mean “repentance.”
  6. But it is more etymologically accurate to translate the word teshuva as “return.” What does teshuvah mean to you? How do the various translations resonate more or less? 

  7. What have you discovered this year about creating boundaries to insure your own self-care? It has been a struggle for many of us “to refill the well” when responsibilities have demanded perpetual giving, attention focused outward. How have you been able to nourish yourself? Recall, tell the stories of, times when you were able to prioritize yourself, triage demands, perhaps learned to say “no,” or “not now”? How can you grow as an advocate for your own health and wellbeing?
  8. What would it look like for humanity to do teshuvah for our abuse of the earth?
  9. Write an apology to yourself, and then respond to it. Do you forgive yourself for the lack of trust? For speaking badly about yourself? How can you do better next year?

  10. What miracles did you witness in the past year? You can list them or write about one—anything goes.

  11. What’s one good habit you aspire to embrace? When will you start?

  12. Find a calm place and listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear? What does it mean to listen to yourself? To "listen to the Shofar?
  13.  During the past year, have you acted to sustain others, whether materially or emotionally? Whose actions have sustained you? Have you been able to make the leap from kind thoughts to action? When you do act on behalf of someone else, do you stand in solidarity with them? What is one act of chesed that you have put off? When might you do it?

  14. Over the past year, have you done something in anger that you would not have otherwise? What would you have done differently if you had taken time before reacting?What about “righteous” anger? Have you experienced moments where anger motivated you towards positive action?

  15. When do you find it easiest to be patient? In what situations do you tend to become impatient? Are there any common triggers? Is there anyone you owe an apology as a result of your impatience?
  16. What does it mean to be good?

  17. What are some of your greatest insights/ pieces of wisdom that you now have that you didn’t have as strongly last year?

  18. Who inspires you and why? 
  19. How are you at balancing judgment and compassion when it comes to the actions of others? Do you tend toward one extreme or the other? What about when it comes to your own actions?

  20. If your soul could speak, what would she say?

  21. Tzedek, tzedek, tirdof: How do I seek justice, and for whom? How do I participate in tikkun olam, aka: repairing the world?

  22. Who do you yearn to be?
  23. What do you need to release or embrace in order to shine more brightly?

  24. How effectively do you really listen to what others say to you, reflect on it, and act accordingly? What gets in the way of your being able to listen attentively to others? Do you find yourself planning the next thing you want to say? Distracted by electronics? Wrapped up in your own thoughts? Does this tend to happen more in one area of your life than in others?

  25. Where is the land of your soul? How can you "return?"

  26. When do you experience yourself as most full, joyous, awake? Describe what circumstances seem to make that spirit blossom; what circumstances sabotage them. Are there changes that suggest themselves to optimally enliven you?

  27. How are you being called to take responsibility?

  28. What are you turning away from and what are you turning toward?
  29. As you reflect on the past year, can you think of particular times in which you have you opened your heart and hand to others? Have you held back from extending help to those in need? Have you made a habit of generosity? If so, how? If not, what would that look like?


23 July, 2023

I WISH (on its 4 year anniversary...)

I Wish — 7 • 24 • 2023 ✨

Four years ago I never would have dreamed that a random tweet on a weeknight could become a long-running series at 54 Below — one that brings so much joy, catharsis, laughter, wholesome uplift and community to its performers and its audiences. 

This is the twelfth edition (!!), and this incarnation took me by surprise: I was moved by the mere existence of it. 

Do you ever feel wobbly about your place in the world? Wondering if what you do or offer matters? Me too. 

But whenever I feel wobbly about whether or not I contribute meaningfully to the world around me, it isn’t the great big accomplishments or adventures that move me. It’s the friendships, the quiet moments and creations like I Wish. 

I always return to this humble little offering and remember that not all contributions are giant blockbusters, money-making or award-winning endeavors. Some are simply small acts of kind, excellent, consistent offerings of pure uplift. Some are merely the gathering of wonderful people in celebration of an art form and a community we love. 

And sometimes, that’s enough. Perhaps it is more than enough. 

Thank you to the I WISH dream team of our musical director extraordinaire Drew Wutke and producing wunderkind Jen Sandler — without you there would be no wishes. I love us. 

Thank you to 54 Below.

Thank you to this and every cast of I WISH. 

Keep wishing. ✨

📸: @james.t.murray

21 July, 2023

Jewish Represetnation in the Theatre Panel at BroadwayCon 2023

A few photographs and thoughts from the absolutely soul-expansive, mind-blowing, joy-forward panel on Jewish Representation in the Theater at this year’s BroadwayCon.

To sit beside this group of brilliant minds, talents and Jewish people was such an unspeakable honor, and to really comb through the nuances of the contemporary conversation was as illuminating as it was affirming. 

This was just the beginning for this brilliant crew (and many others).

1. I am not exclusively an “only mothers can play mothers” reductionist when it comes to casting and artistic expression. Buuut 

2. When the story centers around a character’s ethnic and religious-identity, is crucial to the fabric of who they are, and includes self-effacing parody OF that identity—then the casting of said identity is not only critical but to ignore it is actually harmful. 


3. In these identity-forward times, the conversations around these issues are not always going to be directly parallel (ie a conversations comparing and contrasting the issues of various oppressed groups). It’s not the oppression Olympics. We must all breathe, LISTEN, check ourselves and remember that liberation is a GROUP PROJECT.

Thank you to Becca Suskauer and Ari Axelrod for organizing, and to Talia Suskauer, Brandon Uranowitz, Zachy Prince and Shoshana Bean for your heartfelt insights.

All photos © Rebecca J Michelson: also a genius Jewish person


11 July, 2023

Up up and away...

Oh to see the world from aboveand by this man’s side.

When I was in the depths of my illness and then surgical journey, as part of many conversations shared with my closest people, Alec and I talked about the bucket-list things I wanted to make sure I did "just in case." There was only one thing that sprang to mind: to see the sun rise from a hot air balloon.

Alec moved mountains to manifest this bucket-list, absolute dream-come-true to celebrate making to my 40th birthday. What a gift to be alive and in the world.

Thank you, Alec. To feel so seen deeply and known is a great gift.

But for the record: anyone who worries this love might only exist between romantic soul mates? No no no. Not so. I personally have so many loves in life, and they take every possible form. I’m sure you do too, if you look around and let them in (allowing ourselves to be loved—in any way— is an act of remarkable courage). 

From up in the sky one gains great perspective—I think it is what I craved the most from the experience—problems don’t disappear, but they do become the right size. I feel so fortunate to breathe that lesson in.

 Onward. The sky truly is, the limit. 

(And of course, all hail, Above the Clouds balloon company in upstate New York)


24 May, 2023

Keynote Speech for The Mancini Awards, 2023

I stand before you this evening, in awe of the distinguished and hard-earned celebration each and every single one of you is reveling tonight.

Look at you! You are today’s young artists, and the human beings who will both shape and inherit the world we all share.  

Breathe in this moment, and know that more glorious moments like it— on stage and off— are ahead for you. Tonight, my friends, you are already living the dream. No matter what level of artistic professionalism you pursue, your passion for live performance, communal story-telling, the impact art has on individual and community, and the internal discipline and rigor required to execute art— have all sparked within you, and that spark is now lit eternity.  

I now ask each of you— adults included to take a moment, travel back in time, and remember the very first moments when your interest in your chosen field, hobby, interest or profession was first ignited. What is your WHY?

I am Alexandra Silber — and I am a Broadway and West end actor, singer and performing artist. I am also a concert artist, twice-published author and educator. But before I was any of those things, I was a gifted, deep and yearning artistic kid just like you.

Growing up outside Detroit, Michigan, my WHY for storytelling began young, when as an only child with a loving father fighting cancer, I was filled with unfathomable feelings and questions for a nine year old. I couldn’t bring those to my peers! They were nine! But I could “discuss” the depths of human experience with art. I could ask Tolstoy about love, Steinbeck about life. I could ask the musical Cabaret about prejudice, and Fiddler on the Roof about my Jewish identity. I could “discuss” fear with The Smashing Pumpkins, and grief with opera’s great heroines. I could ask theatre, music, books, visual art and poetry— art that belongs to us all— about the things I had no language for.

And when the time came for my father to leave this world, art was there to hold me—and everything I felt— too.  The Arts change minds, heal hearts, connect us to one another, and shape our collective culture. The Arts serve. That is my why. The answer to why I make art is because art held nine year old me— gave me language I lacked, and a place to express thoughts, feelings and realities on a stage when the real world was often too frightening a place.

The world is certainly no less frightening a place than it was when I was your age, but seeing you all tonight: I am filled with hope that the future is beautiful, and the future is bright.

* * *

Before I leave you tonight, I want to share TEN hard-earned truths I’ve learned along the way as an artistic human being. I offer these observations to guide you as you go forward, enabling you to empower yourselves, so that when the challenges of an artistic life catapult and hurl themselves straight into your heart – which they will do, repeatedly – you will have some of these tidbits of wisdom at your disposal to center you so that your SOUL will not be derailed, and, no matter the challenge before you, you can still summon the power to transform yourselves, others, and, indeed,  the world.

1. Happiness is not a train station

     On the great train ride that is Life Itself, we keep pulling into stations we expect, do not expect, and sometimes, loathe. Some of these are expected, some cannot be avoided, and some we’d do anything to avoid if we could.

     Have you yourself ever thought "Once I [get the leading role/make X much money/get married/move to Europe/lose 20 pounds] MY LIFE WILL BE PERFECT!"
Me too.

But one of life’s great truths is that you never pull in to the train stations of “Contentment,” “Happiness,” or “Success.” THERE IS no train station with a sign that says “WELCOME TO MADE IT!” Those stations are like Brigadoon: sure, you’ve heard of it, and everyone talks about it and wants to get there, but no one has ever really seen it. Why? Because it doesn’t exist.

One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, right here, right now, in this single, solitary, monumental moment in your life– is to decide, without apology, to commit to the JOURNEY, and not to the outcome. The outcome will almost always fall short of your expectations, and if you’re chasing that elusive, often deceptive goal, you’re in for a very tough road, for there will always be that one note that could have soared more freely, the one line reading that could have been just that much more truthful.

     So when I say “happiness is not a train station” I mean: there is no definitive moment where you do or do not “arrive” or “make it.”

As an artist, you will never arrive at a fixed destination. THIS is the glory and the reward of striving to master your craft, and being tireless in your pursuit of something greater than yourself.

2. DONE is better than PERFECT.

     Just do the thing.
Then finish it.
Press send.
It will never be perfect.
So do it!
Because done is better than perfect. :)

3. Remember the difference between DISCOMFORT and true PAIN.

Pain is your body and mind’s alert system that something is dangerously wrong and must immediately be dealt with. 

Discomfort is not dangerous: it is the birthplace of all growth and expansion, and cutting DISCOMFORT off (or misunderstanding / mislabeling it) hinders all possibility for expansion and evolution.
Knowing the difference between DISCOMFORT and PAIN, is what maturity is all about.

4. Not choosing is also a choice.
Remember that.

5. The artistic work never ends.

When things become overwhelming – which they will—I have found that the way back to your center is simply to RETURN TO THE WORK. Return to your skills, techniques and love of the art form. 

Whether you’re overwhelmed by success or failure, abundance or famine—get to work. It is there where you will find solace and truth.

Trust that you will find your way again via the music, the poetry, the colors, the movement. All art asks is that we show up, fully present as you did when you first discovered the magic. Bring that innocent, childlike sense of wonder to your craft, and always be willing to be a beginner. It will continually teach you how to be present, how to be alive, and how to let go.

6. It is not what happens to us, it is how WE CHOOSE TO RESPOND.

     People ask me really smart questions all the time.
Questions like:
    “How do you deal with being afraid of failure?”
    “How do you not worry about being rejected?”

I’m aware that this is a sort of irritating answer but: I deal with fear, worry, sadness and anger by actually dealing with fear, worry, sadness and anger.

We must try our darnedest not to identify AS the emotions, but to accept, incorporate, built grit, resilience; to learn what we can, and move forward in the face of The Big Feels.

In short: we can’t always choose what happens, but we can chose our response, and our actions in the face of life’s inevitable realities.

7. Courtesy costs nothing.
Even if you don't have pockets full of money— a smile, a thank you, and pleasantry— courtesy is a gift you can give every day.


8. Success isn’t about what you do, it’s about how you FEEL about what you do.

9.  “Comparison is the thief of joy”
Theodore Roosevelt — our 26th President said this. Remember that you are singular, and on your very own path that proceeds at its particular melody and tempo.

The world needs YOU. It is yearning, starving, dying for YOU and YOUR singular healing offer of service through your Art. We need YOU so that we never lose sight of the fact that we are all in this together and that we are all deserving of a life that overflows with immense possibility, improbable beauty and relentless truth. Your singular vision, experience, talent and perspective of existence thus, cannot be compared.

Do not let comparison to others steal the joy of your current reality. Teddy Roosevelt was more than a great orator, explorer, and environmentalist… he was also so correct about comparison. (He also had a very fetching mustache.)

10. Art is a SERVICE industry
Art CAN  be glittery, but you haven’t signed up for a life of glory, adulation and fame. (although that MIGHT come)

The truth is, you have signed up for a life of SERVICE by going into the Arts. And the life-altering results of that service in other people’s lives will NEVER disappear as fame unquestionably will.

You are here to serve the words, the music, the author, the chord progression, the audience, the characters you play that cannot speak or breathe or LIVE without you! But above all, you are here to serve humanity.

You are now servants to the ear that needs melodic solace,
     and the eye that needs the consolation of beauty.
          Servants to the mind that needs inquiry, 

               to the heart that needs invitation to flight or silent understanding,
and to the soul that needs safe landing, or enlightenment.

You are a steward to the blocked observer who needs to feel that vital, electric pulse of life that eludes them. 

You are a vessel to the angry one who needs a protected place to release their rage.
To each of them you will reach out, and generously invite them to soar and to thrive, because we are called to share this thing called Art.

You are also serving one other thing: your own truth. You are serving the relentless, passionate, fevered force within you that longs to grow and expand and feel and connect and create; that part of you that craves a way to express raw elation and passion, and to make manifest hard-core blissful rapture and fun.

That’s why “making it” is, in the end, utterly insignificant. LIVING it, BREATHING it, SERVING it … that’s where your joy lives.

Finally— BONUS lighting-round / hot tips: 11, 12, 13:
    - Dont Wash Wool.
    - Moisturize (and don’t forget your neck)
    - And believe me, I know what I’m talking about here: NOTHING staying in Vegas.

What an honor it is to share in this evening with you. Savor the moment then fly out of this building, armed with the knowledge that YOU make a difference, that your art is NECESSARY, and that the world is eagerly awaiting to hear what YOU have to say.

I look forward to working with every single one of you— 

See you at rehearsal.

13 March, 2023

I wanna talk about this hug with Samantha...


I want to talk about this hug with Samantha Masssell...

Playing Tzeitel in the 2015-16 production of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway was one of the best and hardest 16 months of my life. While the public part of me soared in such a gorgeous production and beloved role on stage, off stage I was battling with truly debilitating severe ulcerative colitis daily.

I have a lot of people to thank for keeping me afloat and alive— my “Helens,” (the beloved wig room and creators of "the Cutest Pregnant Woman on Broadway!") my Hub Adam Kantor, The “Pineapples,” (a handful of the 30-somethings who were beyond there for me), but the majority of the agony happened in the dressing room I shared with Samantha—our beloved Dressing Room 51.

I am so unspeakably grateful that those health struggles are behind me now… it’s been quite the road to recovery.
But what forever remains is the memories of an incredible 26-year-old young woman who—with no training, and who never signed up to share space with a very sick person—bore witness to it ALL.
And even when I was very hard to love and be with, Sam stuck by me. We cried. We laughed (man how we laughed). We “kept it at a 10.” She listened. She saw. All of it.
Sam and I don’t have sisters in real life.
But the further away that experience gets, the more remarkable that incredibly young and remarkable Samantha seems to me, and the more truly sisterly her devotion.
In the business of show, there are a lot of glittering highs. A lot of unspeakable lows. But what remains at the end of the day is the friendships—more like family than could ever possibly be articulated.
So. Hug your friends. Tell them what they mean. We have such precious, fleeting, fragile days here on earth.

That’s it.
I just wanted to tell you all.
I love you, Doo Doo. X
📸: James T Murray (thank you SO much)

06 November, 2022

Alec's Debut

Four years ago exactly I met Alec Silver on the first day of rehearsal at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. I introduced myself with a shocked-but-casual “Hey Alec Silver I’m Al SILBER… we have the same name!” He then proceeded to astonish me in the first table read. I knew he’d go far.  But I had NO idea how far we’d go together.

On Nov 6, 2018 sharing a night like this with Alec Silver would never have crossed my mind.
Last night, after a little over three years in New York City (two-and-a-half of which were a worldwide pandemic) Alec made his Off Broadway and New York acting debut in the profoundly moving GOOD ENEMY at Audible's Theater at Minetta Lane. 

The play by Yilong Liu is gorgeous triumph of generational trauma and what we "owe" our family. It is directed by Alec’s greatest artistic advocate Chay Yew, is a triumph— superbly cast, acted, designed and executed by all involved.
Alec’s work was spellbinding. So skilled. Deeply observed and wildly out of his “type.” I barely recognized him as Dave and was equally if not more astonished by his work as I was by his Francis Flute on Nov 6, four years ago.
But what floored me, was the people that showed up to celebrate Alec in this moment. Friends, colleagues and Chosen Family all collected over the last four years that showed up in a ten-strong cheering section, evidence that lives worth living are BUILT— day by day, with every conversation, connection, good work done, generosity shared and promise delivered. 

 My Alec, four years to the day of being dazzled by you I am dazzled not only by your work, but by the life you have so courageously manifested. I am in awe. What an honor to celebrate you in this moment.
Thank you to Adrienne and Alex Balducci, Katie Spelman, Etai Benson, Alexandra Socha, Tony Cloer, Carman Lacivita, Elle Rigg, and Alley Scott  for being a part of *The Silver Squad.* 

📸: @liachangphotography — genius.

04 November, 2022

Escape from Cleveland: A Melodrama

On November 4, 2022, five character actors drove to the airport having recently completed a week-long workshop at the Cleveland Playhouse of Ken Ludwig's latest play, Moriarty: a Sherlock Holmes Mystery. The week had been splendid. A group of hilarious, intelligent Broadway veterans gathered together to exchange ideas, perfect a play with one of the most collaborative playwrights in the world; plus shared several delicious meals, experiences and stories after rehearsal. 

What a week working (laughing--good GAWD the laughing) at Cleveland Playhouse with great friends and insanely gifted artists—directed by Mark Browkaw—working on a reading of Ken Ludwig's latest— MORIARTY giving 12 or so comic tertiary or five, and Irene Adler to old pal Santino Fontana's Sherlock Holmes. 

All in all: the week was a great success. Behold our happiness post reading: 

cast + creatives of the pre-production of "Moriarty" at Cleveland Playhouse

But THEN! Then: the following morning, the cast of five-- a merry band of players-- all headed to the airport to catch the 12:15 Delta flight from Cleveland to LaGuardia. And that, my friends, is where the plot thickened...

But as if daily laughs and nightly meals weren’t enough, there’s more. All 5 actors arrived at the airport Friday morning to learn our flight to NYC was CANCELLED by Delta.
So instead of moping, we made lemonade outta lemons, rented an SUV and? 5 CHARACTER ACTORS DROVE FROM CLEVELAND TO NYC FOR AN IMPROMPTU ROAD TRIP!
We didn’t turn the radio on once, because we were talking and laughing and getting real and laughing so much. Thank you Ken Ludwig and Cleveland Playhouse for bringing us together. And thank you Santino, Andy Groteluschen, Pun Bandhu and Jill Abramowitz for the forever-memory—this gig was one for the BOOKS.

PS) the whole road trip is a highlight in my “stories” titled “ESCAPE FROM CLEVELAND!” About 5 mins. Worth it. 

19 October, 2022

"Honk if You Agree"

 Honk If You Agree

— On October 8, 2022 Kanye West tweeted to his 30 million followers “I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” The following Saturday, members of a White Supremacist hate group stood on an overpass above the 405 Freeway in California, performing Nazi salutes behind a banner that read "Kanye was right about the Jews. Honk if you agree.”

Just as an ancient house, demolished
    liberates the vermin
    so we see them now
    in all their flagrance
    and undisguised monstrosity.

Honk if you agree.

Many rats
    are killed in falling mansions
    but some find other houses.  

Hate—it turns out— is not dark.
It blazes with the cruelest light
and rings to petulant music—
    the rage of car horns on the highway.
    the ear-splitting silence of indifference.

Hate is born with you
    it howls in your first howl.
Impatient loathing
    coiled behind our tongues like a python.
This hate is ancient.  
And my People’s pain is insignificant, some say.
Our victim card, expired
Our terror, irrelevant.

So I shall exit the 405 for today—
Knowing it is a road I cannot ignore.
I shall without a doubt read its signs again
and again
and drive across its bloodied highways.

But tonight is Friday
so I exit to light candles
    that pierce into this darkness.
I shall be a good ancestor—
one that paves better highways for the generations yet to come.

To see with clarity
but also with hope
For hath I not eyes?

Honk if you agree.

15 October, 2022


What a magnificent experience from top to tail. One never knows how an away-from-home experience will go— personally or creatively, but from the downbeat Soprano has been nothing but joy.
Ken Ludwig was collaborative and generous.

Our director Eleanor Holdridge created THE safest, most loving, most creative and playful playground to ask any question and try any idea.

Our Stage Managers were above and beyond. And our very generous first laughs!

The actors. Oh the actors. This was was one of those remarkable sets of conditions where every single actor was drama and ego free— no one fought for “their” laughs or “their” moments. Everyone fought hard for “OUR” laughs and the PLAY’s moments. I can’t recall an experience like it. Where everyone was so devoted to making the play everything it could be, concerned only with how they might best serve it.

Creating a role is a rare experience, and it was my honor to chisel Elena Firenze for Ken Ludwig, for our company, our audiences; for MY soul, for every actor to play Elena in the future long after I am gone, and above all for Elena herself.

Actors— ask not what characters can serve for you, but what we may do to serve our characters. Elena could not sing without me, and it was my honor to provide her very first voice.

Addio e addio, Elena.
Never to be forgotten.
Until we meet again.




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