No, not me yet. My buddy Kate Hennig is about to take over the role of the dance teacher in the musical Billy Elliot on Broadway on Tuesday night. She was my Sally Bowles when I played the Emcee in Cabaret. One of the most open, talented, committed performers I’ve ever had the great pleasure and honour of working with. I couldn’t be prouder. (Is that a word??? Ah well, suck it, it’s my blog.) I learned the art and gift of “stillness” from her. We first worked together in a production of BERLIN TO BROADWAY WITH KURT WEILL. There is a picture of me from that show on my website. gallery.htm At one point in Act 1, Katey went on stage and sang Surabaya Johnny. For those of you who don’t know it, it is one of the most powerful songs ever written – about a woman done wrong by a . . . well, a jerk, basically. The song has three verses. The staging was very simple – first verse in an above spotlight upstage left, second verse in an above spotlight centre stage, and third verse in an above spotlight downstage right. Other than walking from one spotlight to another, she didn’t move anything but her head, bit of shoulder and perhaps a finger every now and then. And you could hear a pin drop in the theatre. No bells and whistles. And every night the crowd went mental because they could tell they were in the presence of a truly skilled singing storyteller. That’s when I understood what power there is in stillness and clarity. I’ve never been the same performer since. It made me the storyteller I am today (or hope I am). I adore her. Thank you, Kate.
Anyway here’s an article from today’s Toronto Star that Richard Ouzounian wrote. Whether you know her or not, say a little prayer and/or send some good energy her way on Tuesday night.