Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: Old Friends, New Adventures, and Scary Numbers

As soon as it was announced that Boys of a Certain Age would have an Off-Off-Broadway run, my best friend Judy (center) booked a flight from Milwaukee. She spent President's Day weekend with me, and our old undergrad buddy Patrick accompanied her to see my show. Afterward, we had a long evening of dinner and dish. Casual events such as these always turn out to be highlights for me.


It's fun, enlightening, and slightly scary to sit down and decipher the highlights of a year. After looking at my 2017, I have to recognize that my "bi-urban" experiment is showing surprising results. Six years ago, I landed a super apartment in New York, and began splitting my time between New York and DC. I still feel a bit more at home in DC, but none of the following highlights of my year occurred there.  In fact, all but one happened in New York. Somebody may be telling me something...
Boys of a Certain Age was that rare new
play which had humor and heart and very
smart writing. All four of us were gifted
with terrific material from which to craft
four unique characters. I wrote about this
experience here.
Soon after the year began, I started work on a project which would turn into one of the most satisfying with which I have ever been involved.  We began rehearsal for the official Off-Off-Broadway production of Boys of a Certain Age, which ran for three weeks in February.  Performing the play, and playing this role in particular, ended up being the highlight of my year, but perhaps it's good I didn't know it at the time.  Imagine knowing that the highest point of your entire year is in February, then having to face the next ten months sliding downhill.  
The role of Ira in Boys of a Certain Age was one of the best I've ever had.  He was a survivor of AIDS activism and was haunted by the friends he lost to the plague, but he never lost his compassion or, thankfully, his humor. Ira was everybody's favorite Jewish grandmother, if your grandmother 1) had a penis and 2) was a cross between Larry Kramer and Julia Sugarbaker.  He was great fun to play, and I consider the production to be one of the highlights of my career.
Brian Gligor played my nephew in Boys, and did me the biggest favor anyone did for me all year. He's a whiz with websites and such, and I have long struggled with setting up my own site.  All actors are supposed to have them, at least in New York, and I purchased the domain name years ago but never did anything with it.  After one of our rehearsals, Brian came over and, as I plied him with martinis, he set up my site.  We had a blast that night, carousing until 3 AM, and the result was a smashing success.  Thanks, Brian! Go here to see our handiwork:  RScottWilliams.com


Jack Young hired me several times when he
ran the Warehouse Theatre in South
Carolina. I hadn't seen him in years, though
I frequently work with actors he has trained.

While in rehearsal for Boys, one of my old comrades from years ago came to New York.  I was thrilled to be able to spend an hour or so with Jack, since I had not seen him in many years.  Jack was not the only old friend with whom I reconnected this year.  Over the summer, by coincidence, two friends from my undergraduate days in L.A. spent a weekend in Manhattan;  our lunch date reaffirmed what I have always suspected: the friends we make in college are likely to be for life.
It was such a treat to share a meal with Lisa and Barrie when they visited New York; I hadn't seen either one in at least 30 years. I met Lisa in high school and she later played my wife in George M. I met Barrie when she played one of the twins in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; she later directed me as Dr Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace. All three of us shared many years together.
I met David when we played in
Big River together. For years,
he offered me his couch any
time I went to NY to audition.
One of the real blessings of 2017 was my rediscovery of my old friend David Beris.  I thought he had moved to Florida, and he is not on social media, so when I opened the NY branch of my life, I never even tried to track him down. I bumped into him at an audition last spring.  We've had lunch several times since then, but one of my resolutions is to see him more regularly. I have a lot of acquaintances now in New York, but very few real friends (I think it's true that the older you get, the harder it is to acquire friends).


During the early part of the summer, I filmed my first web series.  Well, I guess it's not a series yet, but the idea is for it to become one.  A funny young gent named Max Talisman wrote a fictionalized autobiographical account of his life as a young gay man trying to make it as an actor, and he was able to produce a few scenes to be shown to various producers, in hope of gathering enough support to film the full series.  I played a gay man who has aged out of the dating pool, but still submits himself on dating sites (using a 30 year old pic).  The scene was great fun to film, I've seen the finished product and it's a hoot.  Though the role was written as a one off, I have been campaigning to have the character return, should the project go to series.  Every youngster in New York needs an older mentor, especially a comic one who also lives down the hall.
In July, I participated in a staged reading of The Tempest for Titan Theatre Company.  I dislike this play, largely because I have an ongoing problem with Shakespearean magic, but it was a fun experience, and set the stage for a more formal return to Titan in the fall.  
As the Mayor of London in Titan's Richard III.
I think there are 5 reasons to do a play; if none
of them are present, it's best to pass:
1) Money
2) It'll be good for your career
3) You'll learn something new
4) It's a bucket list role
5) You'll have a blast doing it
None of these applied to R3. I should never
have inflicted Titan Theatre with my lackluster
performance.
I was asked to join the cast of Richard III, playing two small roles.  In retrospect, I should have declined the invitation.  I had already done R3 twice, and I didn't really have much interest in playing either of the two roles.  When an actor works on AEA's Showcase Code, I really think it has to be for love, as it's not the money (there is none). I have always enjoyed working for Titan (in fact they offered me my NYC debut years ago), but it is not very easy for me to do so.  The company rehearses and performs in Queens, which is a schlep from my digs in midtown.  But moreover, I never challenged myself to bring sizzle to these characters, and I must admit that I was not a success in the show.  I wrote about my disappointment in myself regarding this project here.
As Brackenbury in Richard III. You remember the all-important role of Brackenbury, right? He's the guy who's always standing next to the person talking.
Before beginning R3, though, I fulfilled a big wish for my father.  The pater turned a whopping 90 years old in August;  as his birthday was just a few weeks before the Big Eclipse, Dad asked his kids to gather around him for that event.  
Dad's fascination with the skies led
him to join the military, but before he
could get through flight school,
WWII ended. His career at Lockheed
gave him an unusual talent: he can
look at an airplane flying over, and
name it.
Dad spent his life fascinated with flight (he spent a full and successful career at Lockheed), and his home in North Carolina was right in the path from which this once-in-a-lifetime eclipse could be best viewed. I didn't have much interest in the eclipse, but I have not spent a great deal of time with my father through the course of my life.  I was very happy to share this moment with Dad. We dragged camp chairs out to his front lawn and experienced the event together. Once in a lifetime indeed.

A big highlight of 2017 was being able to spend this special moment with my father. He had just turned 90. He was excited about this August eclipse, particularly once he found out that his home was in the Zone of Totality (I thought that sounded like someplace the Starship Enterprise wandered into unexpectedly). Later they started calling it the PATH of Totality (which I thought sounded like a self-help book).
Playwright Dan Fingerman accompanied me to the IT Awards
ceremony. It was a total surprise that our show received even
one nomination, as we were not produced by an established
company, we had a 3 week run and then were done. Such
plays don't usually get noticed by the IT awards.

In July, Boys of a Certain Age came back into my life, quite unexpectedly.  I was nominated for the New York Innovative Theatre Award as Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role.  These awards aren't exactly Tonys, but in a way, they kind of are.  
The IT Awards celebration brought another reunion. The guy
on the right is Jason Bowcut, who helped create these awards,
and with whom I spent a season at the Shakespeare Theatre Co
in DC (as you can see, many moons ago). It was great fun
catching up with him over drinks after the ceremony, I hadn't
seen Jason in at least 15 years.
The IT organization covers pretty much every professional performance in New York that is not either Broadway or Off-Broadway.  That's hundreds of productions, so I was thrilled to be one of only 6 men nominated for the award.  
I crashed this picture of Hudson Warehouse, whose production of Much Ado About Nothing received several nominations. It was fun to share the evening with this crowd, with whom I have worked repeatedly since arriving in New York.  None of us won that evening, but it was still a night to remember.
This hangs on the wall of my New York branch.  Yep, I'm THAT guy.
This award nomination led to the most significant thing to happen to me in 2017, at least professionally.  I snagged an agent. 
Ever since opening my NY branch, I've ducked the daunting challenge of finding representation (I never used an agent in DC).  But even with the knowledge that my career would not likely progress very far without one, I avoided looking for one.  I was told by more than one "well wisher" that, if you're over 30 and don't have an agent, you'll never get one.  But once this nomination came out, I took the opportunity to contact about 20 agents, and the one who responded actually signed me.


Inevitably, the addition of this important aspect of my career meant another important aspect had to be addressed: my headshots.  I find the task of getting and keeping appropriate headshots to be dismal, so I rarely do it.  Current headshots ranged from 6-10 years old (2-4 years is supposed to be the maximum age of your pictures).  With Agent Renee's input, I spent the final part of 2017 getting new shots.  The lovely and talented Clinton Brandhagen, who has taken my shots for years, spent all day with me and snapped over 1000 pics.  Cutting that number down was mind numbing, but after several torturous weeks, I settled on the pictures which I'm sure will attract all sorts of attention.
I'm hoping these shots will improve my chances of getting "into the room," as Renee says. Looking at the stats for 2017, I certainly could use some help, particularly in avoiding the dreaded Equity Principle Audition, otherwise known as the cattle call. I keep track of all the auditions I attend, the vast majority of which have been these general, union-mandated calls.  
In 2017, I broke my record in numbers: from my first audition of the year on January 4 (for Bucks County Playhouse, they were doing Clue! The Musical!) through my last audition on November 30 (a Shakespeare Festival in the Hudson Valley), I attended a whopping 101 auditions. In eleven months! I get woozy just thinking about that, then it gets even more depressing: those auditions yielded only 4 callbacks.  From those 105 auditions, I got one job.
So while the year was terrific for finding old friends and for some truly unique artistic endeavors, I'm ready to call 2017 dead and buried. Bring it on, 2018, but remember: I'm taking notes.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Richard, Cubed

A typical rehearsal look.
Actors who perform the classics are likely, if they've been around long enough, to appear more than once in certain plays.  Two weeks ago, I closed Richard III for the third time.  I was always a bridesmaid in these productions; I hoped to play Richard himself for years, but the chance never came.  Instead, I've had to be satisfied by playing various supporting characters in various productions. 
Jack played R3, from his own adaptation, and
directed the thing too. I was thrilled to be
invited to play his Buckingham.

My first encounter with the hunchback who had misplaced his horse was back in <gulp> 1999. My buddy Jack Young, at the time the artistic director of the Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, SC, invited me to join his production of the play, in which he was to both star and direct.  It was a herculean task, in my opinion, but if anyone could accomplish it, Jack was the man.
This tableau, or a similar one, opens just about every production of Richard III, though Shakespeare did not write it.  In his original, the play opens with Richard alone onstage, lamenting his fate and revealing his plans to the audience. Modern directors are convinced this is a weak beginning, and wastes a chance to illustrate the arrogant power of the Yorks who have, seemingly, won the Wars of the Roses. So every production of R3 you are likely to see will begin with this family's revels (or procession or coronation or whatnot), followed by Shakespeare's original opening.
  
Christina Keefe, a great friend from grad school
suggested I play Buckingham. She played mad
Queen Margaret, a brute of a role which is
sometimes cut from American productions, as
she serves no dramatic purpose and is confusing
to viewers unfamiliar with the dynastic
entanglements of the Wars of the Roses.

My grad school comrade Christina Keefe, Jack's wife and the leading lady of his theatre, had suggested he hire me for the show.  I was told that my name first came up to play the small comic role of the Mayor of London; Christina wondered why Jack would waste me on such a minor character, considering he would have to hire me as an out of town actor, and provide lodging and transportation for me as well.



This gal played the Mayor, a role I was later to play. Twice.
They agreed I should play the much larger role of the Duke of Buckingham, Richard's co-conspirator and later, betrayer. Depending on the adaptation, Buckingham usually turns out to be the show's second male lead.





Buckingham ends the play being led to
his execution. This photo was on my
 Christmas Card that year.

I have to admit that I don't have many specific memories of the experience at The Warehouse. I recall I spent a lot of time working the text; Buckingham was the largest Shakespearean role I had played to date.  He is definitely one of those roles which I would like to attempt again, now that I'm more <ahem> seasoned.  
Our star was not the only one with a hump.  Our stage had one too. We played in-the-round, with a misshaped hill in the center as the defining scenic element. 

Fourteen years later, Richard III reentered my life. 
After a prelude lifted from Henry VI, Part III (a prequel of sorts to Richard III), my second R3 began with a procession of the royal family down the stairs of the playing space, through the audience . I'm up top, in the beard and white tie.
Richard's opening "Winter of our discontent..." speech was
delivered, in part, through a bullhorn as a political stump
speech. In all the productions of R3 I've seen, I don't believe
I've ever seen one which begins as Shakespeare intended: a
solitary figure limps onto a bare stage, turns to the crowd and
tells them his plan. Too dull for modern audiences I suppose.
Even Olivier began his iconic film version with pageantry.
And McKellen's film begins with a tank breaking through
a wall; his opening speech doesn't show up until scene 4.
I had only been in my New York apartment a few months when I responded to a casting call for Hudson Warehouse, a company which produced classic (mostly Shakespeare) shows outside in Riverside Park.  


I never really adjusted to the weather issues, but I have
to admit, when the sun is setting on your face, it gives
the performance a glow which I've never felt from
artificial lighting.
It's probably lucky that I had not, at the time, experienced how hot New York summers got, especially if you're dressed in business suits spouting classical text, but I had never spent a summer in NY, so I assumed hey, if Joe Papp can attract all that A-List talent to do Shakespeare in the Park every year, the climate must be tolerable.



The playing space used by Hudson Warehouse is huge, well-suited for big Shakespearean epics (if not for acoustics, which are as you might imagine). I wrote about trying to meet the challenges of this space here and here.


As the clueless Mayor of London.
Just as so many years earlier, it was the role of the Mayor for which I was initially engaged at Hudson Warehouse. Shortly before rehearsal began, an additional role became available, that of Richard's brother, the Duke of Clarence.  It was possible to play both roles, and it was a terrific pairing.  


Clarence is led to the Tower by
Brakenbury, a minor character whom I
was to play in my next R3. The irony of
this shot only became apparent recently;
I conquered this scene when I was
playing Clarence for HW, but in the
smaller role of Brakenbury for Titan,
I repeatedly fell short.
Clarence has a strong dramatic presence in the early scenes of R3, including a speech about a dream, full of imagery and dramatical moments.  After this speech, Clarence is murdered, but not without a fight (and plenty of blood. Hudson Warehouse loves to work with blood). I loved the fact that, in our version, Clarence did not simply accept his fate, but instead fought back as best he could. His slaughter was inevitable, and very fun to play.
The murder of Clarence is written to be performed offstage, but Hudson Warehouse had other ideas. During rehearsal, we were wondering how to get my lifeless corpse off the stage when I joked that I could simply be tossed over the wall. Everyone looked at each other, and a dynamic fight sequence was born. This became my favorite moment in the play.
After this very bloody scene, I cleaned up myself as best as possible in order to return to the stage as the Mayor, perhaps the only specifically comic role in Richard III.  After getting a few laughs in a few scenes, I donned the bloody t-shirt in which Clarence had been murdered in order to reappear as his ghost, haunting his brother.  The juxtaposition of these two roles, one dramatic and one comic, was great fun to play, making this my favorite overall experience with any of my R3s.
There were no artificial lights used outside at Hudson Warehouse, merely a few streetlamps of questionable efficiency.  As the sun set, the play reached the sequence in which Richard is haunted by the ghosts of all whom he has murdered. I made my ghostly entrance by climbing the wall over which I had been tossed, reappearing with bloody shirt and a score to settle.
My third go-round with Richard III ended only a few weeks ago.  
Let's Partaay! Titan's production also opened with the royals celebrating their success, before brother Richard hobbles on to spoil everyone's fun.
I have worked repeatedly with Titan Theatre in Queens since arriving in NY six years ago (in fact, they afforded me my NYC debut, I wrote about that here), so when artistic director Lenny asked me to join his production of Richard III, I agreed.  
This was my only R3 which used actual kids to play the
young Princes in the Tower (you know, the ones who get
murdered). On the wall, you can see the major motif of
Titan's R3: each time somebody bites the dust, our "hero"
paints a line to keep score.

I was once again to play the Mayor; this time the role was doubled with that of Brakenbury, a minor official in the royal court whose primary duties seemed to be keeping the keys to the Tower.  
I mentioned on social media that Brakenbury is the guy who is always standing next to the person who's talking. I did a lot of "active listening" in the role. I also disappointed myself greatly. My lack of focus in this character led to several <ahem> senior moments, during which my mouth refused to do what my brain instructed, and the scene had to be rescued by other actors. I have never had such trouble onstage before, and I remain perplexed as to why my brain built a wall around this particular moment.  It was embarrassing the first time it happened; when it happened a second time, I had officially humiliated myself.
This is a selfie I took in the dressing room, of
the Mayor. I had to take a selfie because there
was scant photographic evidence I was in this
production. It became a running gag that I did
not appear in any rehearsal photos nor any
promotional materials nor any Instagram
entries. So if I wanted a picture of myself
as the Mayor, I had to take it myself.
I brought a few new touches to the role of the Mayor, but overall, my performance in Titan's Richard III was not one to celebrate.  It was the most limited amount of stage time I had experienced since playing a nameless fishseller in Volpone at the Shakespeare Theatre Company back in 1996.  I had to admit that I was working my way DOWN the ladder of importance, role-wise, in this play: from the costarring villain Buckingham in my first R3, to the satisfying supporting role of Clarence in my second R3, to the most recent endeavor playing that guy who is always hanging around on the sidelines.
The Duke of Clarence pleads innocence, in Hudson Warehouse's Richard III (my second). I would welcome the chance to play this guy again, as well as the Duke of Buckingham (from my first R3). I'm afraid I have no desire to revisit my third R3, in which I was a major disappointment to myself.
Another backstage selfie: Lord Brakenbury.
We were not a good match.
After our final performance, most of the cast remained behind to help with the show's strike, but I slipped out into the rain, to take the 15 minute walk from the theatre to the subway station.  As I trudged along, getting wetter and wetter ("My kingdom for an umbrella!"), I had to admit this was an ignominious but fitting end to a theatrical experience in which I had disappointed myself so thoroughly.  Not all artistic endeavors can be personal triumphs, but when it's a personal failure, the aftertaste is sour.  It will be a while before I attempt my fourth Richard III.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Where Do The Good Boys Go To Hideaway?

I'm a bit obsessive about keeping notes regarding all my professional dealings, so I can say with absolute certainty that it was June 3, 2016, when Boys of a Certain Age entered my life.  
It was on that date that I ran across a casting notice on Backstage.com, a site I pay dearly for but rarely access.  
The show's description caught my eye, as did the description of one of the characters: "age 60, came out when he was 20; he is gay; playfully dramatic and vocally open about sex; a veteran of many movements, scenes, careers and love affairs; he is now mostly retired and has a cane."  Those last three words are in fact what encouraged me to submit for an audition: "...has a cane."  I was on occasion using a cane at the time, as back surgery was on the horizon, so performing the role WITH a cane would not be a problem.  I did wonder, though, why such a detail was included in a character description for a casting call.  Was anybody worried that an actor might be interested in playing a role UNTIL he discovered he would be carrying a cane, a detail which might cause him to up and quit?
I submitted myself, auditioned, and was cast in this brand new play. There were, at the time, to be only 3 performances, to be presented during one of NYC's thousands of summertime  creative arts festivals.  This particular festival celebrated gay theatre (and artwork and music and so on) and was rather preciously called the Fresh Fruit Festival.  Yes, we get it: for two weeks in July, it was all gay, all day.
Playwright Dan Fingerman created four
interesting and dynamic characters and
placed them in a fairly traditional setting,
a beach cabin during a weekend. Think
Love!Valour!Compassion! without the
pond, or Lips Together, Teeth Apart without
the straight people, or Boys in the Band
without the self-hatred. That was us.

Though we rehearsed for weeks, I have to confess that it was not until our first public performance that I learned that the play had something substantial to reveal, and moreover, that I had been given a very showy part.  (Full disclosure: I have NEVER been any good at reading plays, even established classics. I just do not have the skill to picture the action onstage while reading. The lack of this skill has always hindered my career). 

I learned, during those three performances at the Festival, that I had been very lucky to play Ira in Boys of a Certain Age.  Director Dan Dinero had cast me into my strengths, as the role carried a lot of the comedy of the piece, but it also displayed an emotional depth which I don't often get a chance to play. Ira's quick wit was on display throughout the play, but in the second half, it was sprinkled among his heartfelt (and sometimes harrowing) memories of the past. 
Ira's loss of so many during the early AIDS crisis thickened his skin but did not harden his heart, which remained compassionate and loving.  He was a very rich character to play.
Our brief run at the Fresh Fruit Festival was sold out, and was a hit with the audiences (largely gay men.  Our production won the Audience Choice Award, voted on by the public at large, and we were told our show was also the biggest box office draw of anything ever presented in the history of this festival).  The company held out hope that perhaps a full run of the show might follow; I know all four actors were eager to explore these characters in a fuller way.  Playwright Dan began the task of putting together an actual run of the show.
I don't even want to know how expensive it is to produce small theater in NYC, but our playwright did it. We had a fundraiser at a local watering hole to announce the run.
Fast forward to the fall of 2016. The Boys team booked a theatre in the Village, one usually occupied by Soho Rep, one of the more venerable of the smaller professional theaters in Manhattan.  
Brian Gligor played my nephew Christopher, a gay
Republican. He had the toughest job, I think, making a
Trump supporter likable.  Even back in Feb, it was hard to
accept anyone with a brain defending Trump.
Brian made it work. One of my favorite BOCA memories
is the night I enticed him to my place after rehearsal, where
I plied him with martinis and forced him to build my website.
RScottWilliams.com is proof that booze works.
We were to perform during one of the host theatre's dormant periods. We were all excited about this chance to revisit the material, and the dates dovetailed nicely for me, as I had committed to do A Christmas Carol for Titan Theatre for the holidays. 

The best laid plans, right? Soho Rep abruptly shut down all operations at their theatre, there were apparently certain building codes which they had been ignoring (and violating) for many years. Our contract to sublet was yanked.
Joe Menino played Larry, my first love who remained in the
closet for most of his life. His arrival triggered memories of
love and loss and regret and lots of recrimination. Joe was
the only hetero in the cast, and needed footnotes
to decode the script.

This disappointment became a blessing in disguise. Another space was found, and our remount was rescheduled for February, 2017.  This gave the playwright time to rewrite a sizable chunk of the script, a chunk which dealt specifically with the 2016 presidential election.  During our summer run, the campaign had been in full swing, and it seemed assured that Clinton would win.  
Every gay play needs a shirtless scene, Marc Sinoway
provided it, as snarky metro-sexual Brian. His was
a thoroughly unpleasant character; Marc deserves kudos
for grabbing this role by the balls and not letting go.
In the end, we like the guy, as did the critics,
one of which mentioned his thighs!

It was logical, and even necessary, to include current politics in the text of Boys of a Certain Age; four educated gay men could never spend an entire weekend together without ever mentioning the current state of affairs.  But with the play now taking place after the election, this dialogue had to be rewritten.

We went back into rehearsal; we were a lively bunch.  We embraced the theme of the play: the clashing perspectives gay men have with different generations of their own tribe:

We now knew we had something special to which audiences would respond, and we were eager to improve the piece. Both Dans (director and playwright) were open to collaboration, and the actors took full advantage of the fact. 
Here is the "black box theatre" in which we
performed. Notice anything? Yep, it's all white. Not
a problem, but the permanent pole in the center of
the playing space was <ahem>challenging. 

Moving into the theater was particularly challenging, as it always is in such situations. Because the space was being rented, the only rehearsals we had there were technical. Actors hate tech rehearsals, as we always feel we are in the home stretch before the audience shows up, and we want the time to polish.  But there is no time for such fine tuning, and in our case, our tech rehearsals were commandeered by a set which arrived more complex than anticipated. 
I loved our modular set, which strongly suggested the feel of a beach house, but it became the most controversial aspect of our production.  The railings were movable, so they were adjusted between scenes to reflect the living room, deck, beach, even a local bar.  Some folks loved the way the cast swept around the set rearranging things, while others wondered why all the fuss. These transitions had only been marginally rehearsed beforehand, so tech rehearsals were swallowed up by choreographing this Banister Ballet.
Further consternation was felt when, after several preview performances, edits to the script were delivered which were more substantial than expected. Tempers flared, and our opening weekend had lots and lots of <ahem> adrenaline.
We opened to lovely houses and nice notices from the critics (shows such as ours do not attract the attention of the larger main stream media in New York, there are simply too many of us). Neighborhood papers and online sites all delivered glowing critiques, and we had a great three week run.
Our audience included a few distinguished
folks, including this guy in the middle: Jack
Wetherall played a large role in Queer As
Folk
. We were also visited by Broadway
director Jeff Calhoun and actor John Benjamin
Hickey, an original player from Love!Valour!
Compassion!
, to which we had been compared
All good things end, so I sadly said goodbye to Boys of a Certain Age on closing night in February.

The show was to reenter my life a few months later, quite unexpectedly.  Our show had been submitted to the New York Innovative Theatre Awards, which celebrate Off-Off-Broadway productions.  There must be hundreds of such productions in NYC every year, so I was stunned when this happened: 


  
Playwright Dan Fingerman and I represented our show at the
NYIT awards. I did not win the award, but it's true what they
say: it's an honor to be nominated. Our show did not have the
support of a large producing organization, our 3 week run was
under the radar for most, but somehow, the judges concluded
that my performance as Ira was worthy of notice.
The NYIT awards cover a large swath of art, including solo shows, performance art pieces, as well as traditional plays and musicals, but there were only six of us nominated in the Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role category.  This nomination was a very nice cap to put on the experience of Boys of a Certain Age; by the time the awards were given, all of us had moved on to other things. But I will remember Ira very fondly;  his belief that there are things in the world worth fighting for was admirable.  

Ira's sass was infectious, his compassion was humbling, his humanity was undeniable.  I will always be grateful for the part he played in a year of my life.