Hair the musical

I had the extraordinary pleasure of choreographing "Hair" this summer for the producer, Jane Permar and a cast of extremely talented actors. I had never seen the show on Broadway, only the movie, and here it is weeks later, and I still cannot stop thinking about it.

The actors came from prestigious musical theater programs from Carnegie Mellon and NYU TISH and one of my favorite students from the island Tessa Permar directed it. Tessa recently graduated from Vassar where she directed a number of shows and she also trained at various performance programs including at the Eugene O'Neal Theater where she performed for Meryl Streep. I have seen former students go on to dance on Broadway and dance companies, but to see a student thrive in such complex ways that is necessary for a Director is awe inspiring. My opinion about Tessa's phenomenal directing abilities was shared by my colleagues who were also working and supporting the show, who have much more experience in the theater world than i do.

We all agreed that it was easy to see Tessa's future as theater director in demand due to her many gifts. Her warm up games and exercises  with the actors served as both learning tools and ice-breakers in aiding the actors feel free to experiment in a non-judgmental and nurturing environment. She was demanding with a gentleness that made one not want to disobey her. She gave the actors time and space to play with the material yet in a time efficient manner. Her organizational skills and professional manner was effective in the show to build quickly without extra stress from the performers. If Tessa was stresses, and I am confident she was, she never let it show or slow her down.

She raised the bar very high for any director these players are to have in their futures. I take off my hat to you Tessa! I am awestruck and proud beyond belief!

 

James Cagney

James Cagney

You may have noticed that there is a photo of James Cagney next to my office door. For those of you who are not familiar  with James Cagney, he was one of the original song and dance men who made the transition from the vaudeville theaters to film. His most famous number was, "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." and later was cast as a gangster  when gangsters wore suits and fedoras. Funny enough,  Baryshikov often said that James Cagney was his biggest inspiration and was a factor to why he wanted to emigrate to the US.

You may not have know that James Cagney had a summer home here on the Vineyard in Chilmark. As a matter of fact I live in an building that was once a Dairy where James Cagney would bring his eggs, now I have another connection and you do too. The doors to the office in the studio are from James Cagney's estate which is sadly getting torn down, but I believe the doors hold some magic, and all you have to do is touch them to get the JC (not to be compared to Jesus Christ , of course) spirit in your bones!

Photographs

I am so deeply grateful to Joe Mikos for taking the all gorgeous pictures I have used on my web site and FB page. What an artist behind the lens. The studio is kicking off to a stellar start with Joe's photographs and the lovely subjects.

He has generously offered anyone to download what you like and use them at no cost. Email me the one you like, and I will send it to you. A real gift to the parents of the pre-ballet girls! Thank You Joe!!