Monday, May 4, 2015

A Great Week, another ghost story

So the buzz of the little reminder on my computer's calendar just made me aware that I was supposed to be running the Long Island marathon tomorrow. [I started this blog post on Saturday morning and now here we are.]

Wah. I'm not doing that.

But I have had a really great week, y'all! A REALLY great week. Including physically - as I walked around NYC for two days and had three hard PT sessions and feel signs of my 'greater trochanter' injury getting better.

Which I was starting to think would never happen.

[you know how dramatic we actresses get.]

Speaking of actresses, I saw a few of them this week as well!
Let us now praise Susan Sontag image by Ilan Bachrach
The musical I've been working on for a year and a half finally premiered at Abrons Arts Center downtown NYC. Sibyl Kempson, the writer, has really put together quite a show.  It will be running for three weeks, GET TIX HERE. It leaves you wondering what art can do...how it can be a vehicle for something more/altruistic or selfish, in the bettering of many people or perhaps only one.

Well this week, I am definitely that one.

I'm trying to get through this story for you, but because it's been so long since I've blogged I feel like I have so much to tell you and don't want to make this entry too long! Let me start with the quick & dirty, that always helps:

Quick & Dirty: A Great Week
  • the musical premiered, had my hubby & parents with me
  • chatted at the after-party with many artists, feeling collaborative
  • walked two miles through the city with hubby afterwards, chatting about life
  • had a night off from the twyns thanks to another twyn mama [my bestie]
  • saw Chita Rivera in The Visit on Broadway the next day, one of my idols, with my mom [girl date]
  • sneaked in another lunch date with hubby before the weekend
  • had a universe-is-connected-via-yellow-shoes spiritual phenomenon
Ok so gush-gush I love my husband and since it is post-quarter-end we had a lot of time together this week and got to talk and mush mush. But let's elaborate on the yellow shoes.

A few weeks ago my mother had a dream about her parents (both now deceased), and that they were bringing her a box, and in that box was a pair of yellow shoes (which she remembers to be a pair of yellow shoes she bought in real life in 1968, and proceeded to love them so much that she built her wardrobe around them for a few years.) The only thing she remembers saying is, "these are my yellow shoes but the heel is wrong."

On that day, she texted me her dream. It was a Monday [April 6th I believe.] My mother didn't know that in the show I had been writing, there was a song and scene about "Yellow shoes." We actually wrote it in 2013, during our first workshop at Duke University, so it was nothing new. So I texted her that, and she freaked out a little.  I texted my friend Sibyl to see if they rehearsed the song that day and she said, no, but that they had changed the scene's location, and the character who is singing it, so that it is now assigned to the character of [spoiler alert] Susan Sontag. I actually really hated the song, the way it came out, and the delivery until this last change. It actually works now. Kudos to Sibyl for seeing it through. I really would not have the patience to keep tweaking and working the musical the way that she has. But it is her full-time job, so I guess it makes sense that she does!

My mother came to see the premiere of the musical with me last Tuesday night, and we laughed and marveled again at the yellow shoes reference.

The next day she surprised me with tickets to a Broadway musical, The Visit, with Chita Rivera. I had told her I wanted to see it, and she didn't know why, other than the fact that I loved Chita Rivera. I reminded her that one of the first Broadway shows I ever saw, in my teens, was another Kander & Ebb musical starring Chita Rivera: Kiss of the Spider Woman. It was probably amongst the moments in my life where I can identify wanting to be up on that stage as my profession. My mother remembered only that one of the last musicals she saw with her mother was with Chita Rivera, called The Rink, in 1984. So, clearly, Chita Rivera, in a musical written by Terrence McNally, with music & lyrics by Kander & Ebb, has been in our lives at many important moments.

You know, Chita Rivera has been in musicals written by other people!

We sat down at the show for our girl date, and walking onto the stage are two eunuchs [bizarre enough] in... yellow shoes [TOO bizarre.] We elbowed each other. We couldn't believe it. What is this about?! Weird.

We proceeded to watch the show and about thirty minutes in, the townspeople begin a group number called...wait for it... "YELLOW SHOES" because it has become a symbol of wealth in the story, and every one of the townspeople would like to claim their share of the wealth by choosing their own favorite pair of yellow shoes. They sing this group number, an ode to yellow shoes, whilst pulling out of a box their own pair [specific to each character] and performing a soft shoe dance in said yellow shoes.

My mother grabbed my hand and we started to cry.

This is no longer a coincidence.

What could this mean?

The characters kept chanting "Yellow Shoes" and every time it was like a pounding on my chest and a fist to the jaw.

Who is bringing this message to us, and what exactly is the message?

Is it about money? Broadway? Self-indulgence?

You know, Kander died September 11, 2004. So this is the last musical to be produced by this team.

I wrote this song in 2013, without any knowledge of their song. I got the idea because the image that Sibyl had written about in the script was very powerful to me. I thought, yellow shoes, that is such an interesting reference, I have to write a song about it.

Susan Sontag happens to be deceased as well. December 28, 2004.

I left NYC in 2003, got married there in 2004. It was around that time that I left Sibyl and our collaborations. I've blogged about that before.

To top it off, and I'm stretching here - a recruit of mine from my days as Director of Music Admissions at the University of Maryland - Chris Newcomer - is performing in The Visit as well [one of the eunuchs, the original yellow-shoes-wearers] and he is from Moorestown.  On the same day last week that his hometown paper published a piece on his Broadway appearance, my husband was touring Moorestown for his job, and came home to tell me about the town and what may be a big deal for him. A stretch, I know. But a lot of connections here.

I also got a promo email the next day from a business built by my high school friend Kelly Rae Roberts featuring an image of - you guessed it - yellow shoes.

I'm just feeling those connections - I have not been looking for anything new in my life but I am always open to possiblity [like that last ghost story, and that other one] - and when something like this happens - I try not to ignore the signs.

And I'm definitely, FOR SURE, going to buy a pair of ... yellow. shoes.


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