Lauren and I stayed in town for a few days after the show load-out to decompress and catch up with long-lost friends. I’ve been sleeping and taking lesiurely strolls around the city, a welcome change of pace from the intensity of the previous weeks. Today we fly home, so I am taking a moment to look back on my return to the theatre world.
The show had a great run and John Q. Walker (Zenph founder) couldn’t be happier. For such a small software company to write, hire, design, promote, and produce a show and have a strong NYC opening in only four and a half months is quite a feat; I need to take a moment to be very proud of that.
On opening night I was approached by jazz pianist Phineas Newborn Jr’s widow and son, who were both very moved (even by the live playing of Art Tatum alone) and couldn’t wait for Zenph to bring Phineas back to the stage. Sunday’s show was buttoned with a ceremony where Zenph conducted the donation of Tatum’s estate by Geraldine (Tatum’s widow) to the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, which includes not only Tatum’s suits and Grammy, but also his Steinway piano!
This is the first time I’ve managed/produced such a large project, and it turned out I was more than capable (not without a requisite amount of anxiety). I was also happy to be a theatrical sound designer again, a hat I haven’t worn since college. Although I don’t feel destined for a career as a Broadway bigshot (too much inauthenticity), the real-life (and sometimes sobering) education I received while managing this show will certainly apply to many areas as I move forward in an entertainment industry career.
But now it’s time to put down the cell phone and the business cards and return to the practice room. Learning about music administration on your feet comes at the price of time to compose, arrange, and hone your craft. For the second half of this summer I will re-center myself, return all the way to my artistic roots (perhaps for the first time), figure out what it really is that I want out of an artistic life, and go from there.
I have been blogging about Zenph and Orquesta GarDel, and soon I will introduce you to The Beast, a hip hop/jazz/soul collaborative that I have been writing and performing with since last summer. I’ve been longing to consistently rehearse and perform with a jazz trio, a project which might finally materialize in the next few weeks. I feel long overdue for my next round of original jazz compositions, I just need a vehicle to perform them.
When I read back on what I have just written, how can I not feel an extraordinary sense of gratitude for the people, gifts, and opportunities in life?
Thanks for all the support and well-wishes over the past few weeks, and stay tuned for some new developments! Downtown Durham will be a welcoming sight.