To The Theater Going Public…

As this year’s Drama class can tell you, that’s how Broadway legend George M. Cohan started his letters to his audiences. And this week, why should I start my blog any differently? My friends, I assure you, if you join us on February 1st and 2nd in ELAN for our production of The King and I you will be amazed and astonished. Ms. DeSarle and I are so pleased to be able to put before you some of the most talented young men and women we have ever worked with during our time as theater teachers.

We have on our newly expanded stage this weekend (and a BIG THANK YOU to our Parent Association for that gift!) students who have performed onstage at Radio City Music Hall. We have students who will sing at Carnegie Hall later in the year. We have those who have just completed work on a feature film production, those who are heading off to college to pursue a career in musical theater and those who have just joined the Saint Dominic Academy family, straight from the National Tour of a Broadway musical. Indeed some of our tiniest performers tonight also have impressive resumes; with more than two or three performances under their teeny belts as well. This cast could truly rival any cast performing across the Hudson tonight, of that I have no doubt.

The cast is only as good as the story it is given to tell, and our story this year is timeless. My counterpart and I had quite a few “animated” discussions about staging during the course of the production…most especially about the “Shall We Dance” scene and I hope that the end result is enjoyable for all who see our show.  We “beg to put before you” just a few short days before Valentine’s Day, a love story not just about couples that due to Siamese rules and culture cannot be together or due to East / West boundaries may never quite find the words to express all they truly feel for each other, but rather the love that grows between the bonds created when wisdom is shared.

For when a teacher imparts knowledge, not just about reading and writing, but about ways in which to see the world differently and how to question old ways of thinking and look for new approaches and fresh innovative ideas…then the love between a teacher and a pupil, whether that pupil is the King of Siam or the Crown Prince, is the type of love that will foster a lifetime of learning.

And so, it is my hope that you will enjoy “getting to know” our talented young performers and that you will follow the link below to purchase tickets to come see The King and I at Saint Dominic Academy this weekend. The curtain rises at 7:00pm each night and I look forward to seeing you there!

Wise Words from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, of all days…why would I use my own words in this space when a great man shared so many words of wisdom with our world. As we celebrate Dr. King today, I leave you with just some of his many exquisite insights and hope that one of them speaks to your soul.

Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.

There comes a time when silence is a betrayal.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

In the end, we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

Darkness cannot drive our darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Intelligence plus character- that is the goal of true education.

We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

We must accept finite disappointment but never lost infinite hope.

No person has the right to rain on your dreams.

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worse of use and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

And the words of Dr. King’s that I choose to carry with me each and every day…

I have decided to stick with love…hate is too great a burden to bear.

Dads, Daughters, and Dates…

It’s film going season- with the Golden Globes just behind us and the Academy Award nominations looming large, now is the time when many of us rush to the movies to see what’s popular, what’s trending and what’s buzz-worthy. Movies play a large role in American culture (and I am hoping next year, that their effect on American culture will be studied in an elective here at SDA!) and in my family, the so called “Movie Game” is a crowd pleaser for generations young and old. The premise is simple and we play it all the time. One of us says a line from a movie and the others have to name the movie. It provides entertainment on car rides, around the dinner table, at campfires and we’ve been playing since I was a little girl. The “inventor” of the game? My dad, who has been playing it with me for as long as I can remember.

My dad took me to one of my first movies; Disney’s The Fox and the Hound. I remember sitting on his lap and being frightened toward the end of the film; it is a hazy memory, as I was only five years old. He took me, along with my brothers to E. T. which for some reason he does not remember. As I think about it now, if I took three children under the age of 8 to the movies, I might block it out as well. I remember other family movie outings: Forrest Gump, Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, to name a few. And then there were the movies at home my dad introduced me to, many of which I am sure met with my mother’s extreme disapproval. The Godfather-so now I know what it means to go to the mattresses with your enemy. Psycho- my mom was cleaning up puddles all over the bathroom as I showered with the curtain wide open for at least a week. Arsenic and Old Lace- the second production I ever directed as a theater teacher. Jaws- and ever since, when there’s a problem, my go to statement has been you’re gonna need a bigger boat! So, thanks Dad, for these and so many more classics!

And yet, I realized just the other night, the last time my father and I went to a movie together was 1994! I was 17 years old and he took me to see Interview With the Vampire. Ann Rice novel, set in New Orleans, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt…what could be better? Well, as it turns out, a lot of movies were better…but I will never forget that one because it was the last movie we saw together in the theater. Will we go to another movie together? It’s possible I guess, but if we’ve gone from 1994 to 2019 without going to a movie theater together when we’ve gone so many other places together, then I kind of doubt that sharing a bucket of popcorn is in our father-daughter future. And why is that? When and why do we stop going to the movies with our dads? This I wondered the other night…and then I realized just what the answer was!

We stop, because at about 16 or 17 years old…other guys come along to take us to the movies. We still have our moms to go with to those mother-daughter films and our gal pals to go see “chick flicks” ( and boy do I hate that term) with…but the movies that we used to see with our dads, maybe the scary ones or the ones that were a little sad and we might cry at the end…now some other guy is taking us to see them. We hide our head on his shoulder or cry on his sleeve because movie night once we start growing up and growing older quickly becomes date night. Now, to be honest, do I think dads across America mind? Not really. I don’t think my dad is sitting home wishing he was the one who took me to see the newest installment in the Halloween franchise or who had to sit next to me while I got all teary eyed on a re-watch of When Harry Met Sally. But still, did either my dad or I know at the time that the last movie we’d go to together was going to be Interview With the Vampire? We did not…but I think we’ll always remember that movie. In just a few short weeks Saint Dominic Academy will host the 37th Annual Father Daughter Dance. While we cannot know for certain when the day will come when we cease to go on movie dates with our dad and start going out on more “date night” dates…what every girl at SDA can plan for each year is to make this event a special one for her and her father. So, if you have not yet made your reservation online to attend this event, I encourage you to do so. My dad and I may not be going to any more movies, but I know for certain where we will be on January 25th. This is one date with my dad I would not miss for anything in the world, one waltz around the dance floor that’s more important to me than any other dance for the entire year. Deep down, each of us will always be in one way or another “daddy’s little girl” and so I hope to see all of you and that special man in your life, your father, your grandfather, your godfather … whoever fills that place in your heart at our Father Daughter Dance on January 25th. It is the most important date you will have in 2019!

Trip A Little Light Fantastic

New Year, new goals, new way of looking at life, yes? For many of us that is how January starts. And why should 2019 start any differently? I am certain I am not the only one among us who set forth some resolutions, well thought out ones that I will do my best to keep throughout this year. And I sincerely hope that each of you will do your best to hold fast to your own resolutions whatever they may be- for those promises we make to ourselves in the early light of January mornings are like the fresh pages of a brand new journal, or the blank white canvas of a painter, or newly fallen snow- untouched, unmarred, and as of yet, unbroken. They are our covenant with ourselves, our bargain within our own hearts and souls to be the best people we can be and even though it is hard to keep those many resolutions for 365 long days and nights, if we can each only manage to maintain one for 2019, think of how much good it will do us and how much it will better our lives and the lives of those around us.

And yet, we’ve been down this path before you and I, those of us old enough to have more than a few NY Eves’ under our belts. And we know well that resolutions made are not always resolutions kept. So, what can we do differently this year…in order to ensure that we do not fall prey to our own vices, fall victim to our own worst faults, that we do not stray from our good intentions? Well…I have a thought, a “spark” of inspiration if you will – a light to lead us through the next 365 days and keep us on the path of the promises we have made for the new year. And all we need— is a leerie!

What’s a leerie you ask? Well then, my friend, you’ve not seen the new Mary Poppins Returns! For if you have, you know well that a leerie is a lamplighter and they “trip the lights and lead the way!” What an utterly charming and delightful image, is it not? A person to be your light, the one you can call on, as the song goes:

When you’re alone in your room…

When life is getting dreary…

When you’re stuck in the mist…

When you’re lost in the crowd…

When the fog comes rolling in…

When you’re lost in a park…

You can just embrace the dark, OR

You can trip a little light fantastic with me!

And I am 100% certain we all have that person who can be our light; we all have more than one person who serves in that capacity at one time or another, just as we bring the light into someone else’s days here and there. Find your lamplighters- let them blaze forth your path in 2019- do not head out into this new year feeling alone. Reach out along the way, every single day of the 360 odd days left in this year; take help when you need it, offer help when you can. And of course, as often as you are able, trip the light fantastic. After all, why walk when you can dance! Have a wonderful 2019! May it be your best year yet!