Living in Washington DC, it is easy to get inured to treasures that we drive and walk past every day. Last night at the National Archives, we put on a reading of ten of the songs from 19, our musical about Alice Paul and the struggle for women’s suffrage one hundred years ago. We all had a chance to, once again, see our Constitution, and of course, the 19th Amendment. It is right there. The real thing. The Archives had an extensive and thoughtful exhibit on suffrage in America. What a great city to live in.
It is a long drive, but well worth it for us, to play for a crowd of vetted, committed music lovers. Janet Kenworthy has made it one of her life’s missions to build a heavenly musical oasis in the middle of North Carolina. Is there an award for people like this? There should be. I don’t think that my band ever feels so appreciated as we do when we play in this quirky little space in Aberdeen NC. Every ounce, every square inch of this place is dedicated to providing a great concert experience for the audience and the band. A shout out right here to David, our sound engineer, who makes us feel and sound great on stage.
I am a list-maker by nature, so the idea of making a list of New Year’s resolutions is eminently appealing to me. I make one every year, and it is the mother of all my other lists. Of course it includes some of the standard items like “lose weight” and “learn French” (that one has been appearing on my list since 1988). But it also includes some very actionable goals. #6 is “Study modern choral music from England.” I may not put a check mark next to that and call it “done,” but I am looking forward to the pursuit. And I see that #22 this year is “make better lists.” So meta. I hope your list this year includes many achievable goals, and a few that really stretch you artistically.
My latest play just opened in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Him & Jim is a comedy about what happens when a divine stranger wanders into an unremarkable auto parts shop. My partner-in-crime in this project is director Ara Barlieb. I wrote the play alone, but Ara gave it life, and from what I am hearing he is taking it in directions that I never even imagined. And yet I trust Ara enough to know that whatever he and his talented cast invents, it will make sense with the play. More than make sense: It will make the play a better one.