Tomorrow (today) is the long-anticipated annual benefit concert "In Harmony for Life" for Fairview Hospice. It's not often that I get to coordinate all the details of an event, especially one involving so many wonderful people. And it has truly been enjoyed. I have hired 5 fabulously talented performers, created a 17-song program complete with three medleys and a kazoo singalong, arranged dozens of instrumental charts (Finale and I have become closer friends, including all those little tiffs that happen when you really start to know someone), coordinated details from rehearsal space and time to A/V needs to where on earth to find a glockenspiel, played the Jenga of stage set up (did you know Augsburg Chapel's stage is made up of 60 movable 2x6' platforms and one permanently-fixed 4x6x1 platform?), scheduled many meetings, sent countless emails, and, tomorrow, I get to make beautiful music and hopefully bring great joy and also some poignancy to a very special event audience, with a very special team of people. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has been involved in this process – I am so proud to be on stage with these performers, but even more so am proud to be participating in an event supporting something as significant and important as hospice care. My grandmother lived be 105 years old, and it was in part due to hospice care that she was able to live out the final portion of her life in the comfort of her own home, cared for by her son and a team of dedicated and knowledgeable healthcare professionals. What an amazing gift that was for her, and for all of us. I wish Fairview Hospice a magnificent, productive, successful, and inspired the next year of service!
We're well underway -- in fact, almost finished! -- with rehearsals for This Side of Paradise. Some things you might not know about this side of the "it" couple of the jazz age:
1. Zelda published stories of her own, once writing a play called "Scandalabra." It was a comedy, and it was four hours long. Scott helped her make it shorter, but it was still awful. It was produced once and has never been performed since.
2. Zelda was quite the daredevil, diving at night from 30 foot cliffs into the ocean below with Scott in tow (she wouldn't allow him to choose otherwise; he couldn't be seen as weaker than she.) Her lack of impulse control and her destructive thoughts sent her reeling more than once over a rocky ledge, in front of a train, or into a medicine cabinet. Fortunately, someone was always nearby to hold her to this earth a little longer.
3. Zelda became obsessed with dancing as an adult, catapulting her into an obsessive spin which landed her in a sanitarium (code for psych ward.) Her last 8 years of life were spent in mental hospitals in the U.S. and abroad, until at 48 years old she would die tragically in a sanitarium fire, locked in a third-floor room.
4. Zelda was quite the creative thinker, designing her own clothes, and eventually focusing on her skills as a visual artist; her art still hangs in U.S. galleries and is published in some beautiful coffee table books.
5. In her later years, Zelda became quite religious; her zeal prompted her to write letters to many of her and Scott's old friends encouraging them to repent and save their souls. Much of her later artwork captures religious images and themes.
In our own little skit at History Theatre, in fact, every single night I will create a life-sized painting of a dancer, on plexiglass, as the show unfolds. It is an interesting phenomenon to watch a 6' x 2' painting Windexed away after each show, a reminder of the ephemeral nature of our art as performers -- we give our all to move and impact an audience for a few hours, and when we are finished, our art is gone and must be recreated each night to impact a new group of onlookers. Perhaps one of the most generous and selfless forms of art, leaving nothing behind but everything on the stage. Come be an onlooker -- this is a very strong cast and a very interesting couple to explore on stage each night!