I didn’t want to go, to be honest. The annual awards ceremony at the biggest venue in the adjoining county. Nominated I’d been— for Best Director Of A Musical. (But I wasn’t going to win … didn’t deserve to win … and besides: in my heart of hearts I know these people like me but don’t really respect whatever theater prowess I have).

But I went — because in my deeper heart of hearts I knew not only was it the right thing to do (many of my friends, some of whom I’d directed, were up for awards), but because I’d had a wondrous 2014-15 season, and that I’d savored parts of each of the three shows I’d touched.

How many times last fall, in that last scene of “The Fantastiks”, did I cry to the tender words of “Try To Remember”? How many performances ended with me tearing to the mental whirlwind of Michael, Jamie and Stacy growing up?

How many nights last winter did I schlep to Chardon plagued with the insecurity of directing my first musical? Sure it was “Bye Bye Birdie” and certainly I got a kick out of the high school senior reprising the role both Paul Lynde and I made famous (Mr. McAfee)….but have you DRIVEN Geauga County in February?

Ah, but how many times did I thrill last spring to the tunes of “The Music Man”, eyes wetting to family memories, prancing as but a piece of a pressure-free ensemble?

No, I didn’t expect to win, but show I did and happy I was — the minute I’d walked through the lobby.

There they were, the actors that became my friends. There they were, the stage hands that propped me up.

So sit I did, in the house for two hours. And thought I did, ‘bout what I would say … in the unlikely event … that they called my name.
I’d give a shout out to the musical director John. And I’d thank the choreographer, Lisa-Marie. And our stage manager Lauren. And the cast — all good kids.

I’m a better prognosticator, of course, than director. Called my name wasn’t (unless you count the 8 pm voice mail from Aunt Helen).

Still, I was glad I’d gone and joyed to see friends.   Best of all, I was content and ever-pleased to be a piece of the ensemble.

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