Hanging up the phone I peered over Max’s monitor, and exclaimed to the room:

“They want me to direct a show!”
“So”, said my oldest, “Do they pay you?”

He didn’t seem to grasp it—the enormity of it all! This theater was asking ME to direct. This wasn’t just another part, another chance to play myself. This, I recognized, was a major step….uncharted waters.

It began, to be sure, two months ago. Until that night I’d never really thought of directing. Not really. (Oh, there were times when I’d be offstage and hear someone say something and think “No, schmuck, deliver it THIS way and you’ll get the laugh”, but I kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t, I well knew, my job to speak up. Still…once in a while, I wanted that right).

“Twas the middle of May when this lark began. Word filtered that a theater group—one I’d performed at—was seeking a director for its fall play. New directors would be considered.

“New directors?” I thought. “I could be one of those!”
“What do YOU know about directing?” said my mirror.

A few weeks passed. I’d decided to leave it alone. It would be a November play, I’d learned, and frankly, there were better things to do. Max’s birthday’s that month. Would not New York be calling? And there was Lucy, later on—

It was tech week for “Hairspray”, and with loads of downtime I sat with our director, watching, kibitzing…just picking his brain. I shared with him of the opening…my insecurity…and how it was probably just as well the kids had birthdays anyway….

“I think you should send the letter,” he urged. “Let ‘em know you’re out there.”
“I won’t miss the birthdays.”
“Just be honest with them,” he shot back.

And then I did what I’ve learned to do: I listened.

Like I said, I had all kinds of downtime that show. Indeed, my sole job second act was to zip up Edna Turnblad. (No small task, FYI. Tom is bigger than me).

With laptop backstage, I penned the letter. And not just any letter, I might add. My note, dare I say, was Pulitzer-worthy.

I laid out true feelings.

Sharing my history on stage, I spoke to a willingness to work with others, and that if they were doing a comedy, I wanted the job. I told them too—quite candidly— that if they thinking a musical, they ought to look elsewhere. That wasn’t, I confirmed, what I do best.

I wrote one more thing that day. I told them that I knew they were doing their show the middle weeks of November and that for that reason alone it might not work. I stated, specifically, that I would be out-of-town that month—one weekend for sure—that I wouldn’t miss a grandchild’s birthday…that they needed to know.

Hitting the “Send” button the afternoon of our last show, I just let it fly. What would be, would be. Perhaps Mango was right—that I should just let them know I was out there…for the future. Maybe it was like working a ref in basketball—knowing you’ll get the next call.

It was only a week later that I got that call, while chilling in Great Neck. It would be two weeks more before the die would cast.

Last night we convened: me, yes ME…and the president of the theater company. We spoke of stage managers, lighting, soundboards, staffing—-what they would do, what I would do.  Over coffee at Starbucks we crossed the Rubican. 

I leaped in my car excited with challenge. They would work around the birthdays; they were doing a comedy. They wanted me!

Calling my youngest, I thrilled just to share:

“I’m gonna be a director!” I cried.
“I’m so proud,” she exclaimed—then she stopped. On a dime. This little girl, my baby…the one we cradled longest and hardest…this flower of a princess now residing out west….she stopped on a dime. And laughed…loudly.

“But Daddy,” she roared, “What do YOU know about directing?”


  1. Caryn says:

    Congratulations Bruce. We are so proud of
    You. You’ll be a fabulous director. MAZEL mAZEL mAZEL

  2. m says:

    You’re a director! What do I have to do to get a part in the play? Don’t answer that. Can Ray have a part in the play? He knows comedy.

  3. bob says:

    It’s about time. Can’t wait to hear the details who, what, where. I know you will love the experience.

  4. Aunt Helen says:

    Will you take me to Macy’s to get something to wear on the Red Carpet. Debra won’t take me.

  5. ABL says:

    We are thrilled for you….can’t think of a better match for the job…..if I could remember lines I’d try out!!!! Congrats

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