I just finished casting West Haven Summer Youth Theatre of which I am the co-director with a dear friend. The friend has been doing this forever and is an accomplished music teacher, so I was honored to have been asked to do direct with him. I am also very grateful to have his guidance as I find my way as a director of teens and tweens since I am used to working mostly with adults.
Some of my readers may not know this, but before I was an author or writer, I was a professional singer. I was headed to Broadway and did lots of professional work in and around New York. I studied at AADA in New York and with many voice teachers and dialect coaches. As a result, I had an excellent career that I gave up for foolish reasons, though I did not think they were foolish then. Nevertheless, before I moved to New York, I did tons of theatre and one of my first shows was Godspell with West Haven Summer Theatre. It was actually my second show ever! A couple of years later, I had a director there named Anthony Amato. He was a high school English teacher who also loved the theatre and worked hard to inspire us as actors. I very clearly remember thinking I wanted to be just like him, and this thought came back to me a few days before we started production on this show. Unfortunately, Mr. Amato will never know my thoughts. He passed away last fall, rather suddenly to all of us who knew him. I had the pleasure of serving on our local arts council with him and always enjoyed his presence. He had one of those faces that always looked as if it was smiling.
Since I believe everything happens for a reason, I have no regrets. In fact, I much prefer THIS side of the curtain right now and writing my books. I don’t want the stress of getting up on a stage and simply do not enjoy that part of things anymore. Where I used to jump up and sing, I stand back now and let someone else do it. That is why I am so very excited to pass on my skills to a new generation. They can jump onstage with as much of my knowledge as I can pass on to them.
Our show is Godspell Junior. It will be performed at Carrigan Middle School in West Haven, CT, on August 6th and 7th. Some of the racier parts have been removed in this version, but it is just as fun. Now that casting is over, I can get to work shaping the show and leading our cast to self-discovery. Above all, I hope it will be a fun summer – for them and for me.
West Haven Summer Theatre is back and I am very happy to be a part of it. I only hope I can make Tony proud as he stands in the wings and watches our show.
It seems as if things have come full circle.