Saturday, January 30, 2010

jobs I don't have

Got an amusing call from my pal, Gary Lindemann, who covered me on "High School Musical", That he's auditioning for a temporary replacement role in Broadway's "A Little Night Music". He said, "...and I see on the web that you are in it! Congrats!"

I am not in "A Little Night Music"

He sent me the link

Sure enough, I'm listed in the cast. I have no explanation for this, other than I was offered the show originally, but I was never under contract to do it.

Same thing happened 2 weeks ago, Q Darrington (ragtime) called to congratulate me, He heard I was offered a Position at " Sondheim on Sondheim".

Again, never happened.

There's only one logical solution. I have an evil Twin. Or a Clone.

Clearly, he's more talented than me. Maybe better looking. Should be interesting when he starts rehearsals on both of these conflicting shows...or could it be? Identical triplets, separated at birth?

And just who is representing these name-stealing/job- stealing phantom offspring that my mother never bothered to mention? Are my agents in on it? Such a conspiracy. It's like the time my grandmother, months before her passing, decided to let slip that my Grandfather and my Great grandfather had done time for embezzlement. I learn this at 40 years old? That I'm descended from thieves and liars?

And now these singing and dancing doppelgangers appear. Mom would have been so proud - all three of us on Broadway in one season.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My wife, the writer

A brief word about Sandra. Yes, she is writing a book. Really, really, really writing it. This is a long, lonely process. Completely new territory for her. A monumental task.
The courage of this alone is staggering to me. But that's the amazing power of my wife. She has always been able to "Manifest" into her life that which she dreams of. These manifestations do not come without work. or patience. But they come. This one has required the most patience of all (sometimes from both of us). But one big phase of her work nears completion (this is not an announcement nor an estimate of a completion date, those thing are way out of our hands). As I read through her latest and perhaps final draft of her Proposal (a separate monumental document which requires an entirely other skill set to write), I am amazed and aglow with pride. I've been reading along for most of this process. I'm her toughest critic. I have a very short attention span, rarely making it through anything that isn't a comic book or written by Stephen King. So to see, to feel from the power of her words on paper, her journey - from someone with promise, to a voice - It's incredible. I'm completely full, with amazement, pride, awe. I have always loved her voice and the world has heard much of it in her early career. My Wife is still singing, soaring seemingly effortlessly to new heights, on an entirely new kind of music - The music of her own composition. The Music of her soul.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I had an archetypal super-hero dream the night before last. If you know me, you know I love and read a lot of comics. Surprisingly, though, they don't figure into my day to day psyche all that often.
Ever see the movie Unbreakable? Clearly, this dream was inspired by that premise. SPOILER ALERT ------ In the film, Samuel Jackson's Character, a Mr. Glass, approaches Bruce Willis' character and identifies Willis as an archetypal "hero", one chosen by the universe to be a "savior". This situation feeds the plot for most of the film, then the twist at the end -SPOILER ALERT- Jackson reveals that he knows Willis is the Hero, because he (Jackson) is his opposite, his negative doppelganger, his "villain". Hope I didn't ruin it for you, great film.

In my dream someone real from my life, someone I know personally though not well, came to me and identified himself as my "Villain", my opposite number. I will call him Edifice, though he did not identify himself to be named this. He identified me to be the hero, which I will call Samson. Thinking of it now, it is fascinating to me that my subconscious chose this person for this role - though I don't know him well and we are not competitive professionally or otherwise, we have had regular contact. The dream does shed light on a strange "adversarial" feeling emanating from him, just below the surface.

What stood out from this dream, was this exchange --

EDIFICE: ...and as your opposite, what do you suppose would be my greatest aspiration?

SAMSON: To see me destroyed.

EDIFICE: No. No. To see you suffer.

That woke me with a shudder.

What keeps going thru my head as I play this out and seek meaning for it in my own life is the idea that we are all our own worst enemy. That our opposite is still our self.
If this is so, is there some part of ourselves that wants to see us suffer, that creates thoughts or actions of failure - not because it wants to see us fail and have an end to it - but because it feeds on the constant stream of suffering that such thoughts create?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dad Time

Yesterday, I helped 6 other Dad's load the scenery for my Daughter's upcoming production of Mille onto a truck and move it from Home basement to rehearsal studio to high school auditorium. "Dad territory" is something I always have to re-learn how to navigate; not the stuff directly with my kids, that's mostly a no-brainer, depending on the hormonal state of the average teenager/young adult. No, it's the connecting with other Dad's, men from other walks of life, that is always a "feel this out" thing. Reminds me of my dogs when they encounter other dogs. Sniffing it out. What role does everyone play? who's Dominant? Who's aggressive? Who's Funny? Who's religious? OK, I don't think the dogs think about the last 2.
Maybe it's just me, but because I didn't play sports past my bench-riding days in junior high basketball, and my brother did (who was older), I'm always a little tentative about finding my place in a group of men. Humor is usually my ticket in. I find something funny to say that gets everyone laughing, relaxed, dis-armed. Or I, at least, become these things.

The odd nature of working in the theatre keeps me out of these groups far to often, the odd hours - working weekends and nights - the travel. But I have to say, I really do enjoy them. In this case, we all have kids with a common bond, roles in the play. We're all volunteering for a common goal for them that has an approaching deadline. And these are Good guys. Guys from outside of my fish bowl. How amazingly refreshing to go for a beer after and talk about Ireland, Finance, our kids, our wives (one of the dad's is my ex-wife's boyfriend, but that's a topic for another blog). It's satisfying. Seeing how other guys are navigating our archetypal role. It makes the world seem bigger and smaller at the same time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

random thoughts and occurances

I dreamed last night that Sandra and I were having dinner with a dentist, his wife, and Raul Esparza. None of us had anything to say to each other. I woke up and thought, " Well that was like pulling teeth".

A few words about my buddy Michael X. Martin.

Michael X is, to me the definition of a working Broadway actor. he's been in more Broadway shows than I can count (ok, eight by IBDB count, but believe me, that's a s**t-load by today's standards). He know's everybody. Everybody loves him. He has a million stories, all of them funny, none of them come at anyone's expense. I can't believe that anything he's ever said or done came at anyone's expense. he is never the star, yet always the stand-out. For example, in Ragtime, one of his many roles was the Camera operator in the Atlantic City sequence. All you had to do was look at him, and it was real. He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. In the same show, he was J.P.Morgan, a train conductor, a reporter and a mysterious immigrant that we called "Gandalf".
I met him on my 2nd Broadway show, his 1st, Les Miz. He was Grantaire (the drunk), I was Enjolras (the avenging Angel) . Two sides of a coin. We were instant friends because, everyone is with X. When asked how he was, he was/is still fond of saying "Top of the food Chain". And suddenly, you felt better. That's his real gift, I think. When you connect with him, he make's you feel better. Thanks, X. Hope it's not another 15 years before we work together again.

My Daughter Austin Plays Miss Dorothy in Thoroughly Modern Mille this weekend for her performing Arts School production. Kid's a helluva talent. Some of the other Dad's and I are helping load-in sets today. Makes me smile.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Endings, Beginnings and Re-grouping...

I haven't taken up enough of your time with my website, twitter, social network pages, etc., so, bohmerblog.
I'm laughing inside right now. Or crying. So I'm doing what
all healthy americans do - I'm visiting my need-for-therapy onto the internet in the form of a one-sided conversation.

The push for my doing this was a recent note I posted on Facebook, regarding the announcement that RAGTIME would close (note is posted below). It got the largest number of comments of anything I've ever posted and was sent around to other folks, etc. It was suggested to me at that time that I should do more writing, Ha Ha.
I have no illusions that anything more than the subject matter of that note gave it popularity. I did little more than report what I witnessed, experienced. But it occurred to me that the reasons I wrote it were twofold - 1. I really didn't know what to do with my feelings about the experience and this oddly seemed like a way of working it out. 2. There was, even to the end, so much rumor and misinformation that drove or undrove RAGTIME. It felt right to let those who cared to know how it went down, from the point of view of an involved witness.

It seems right that my first entry should be that note. Maybe it'll be my last. Probably not.
Transitions are tough in theatre. You make a new family with every production. You are tasked to create moving, fragile, living art with your family. You open yourself completely to the process because truth is all that works, an audience is rarely moved by less. You dive all-in. You trust. You believe. You hope.You Love.
Then, for all the usual reasons, it's over. It effects us all differently. I've seen some of my fellow actors not able to do anything but weep thru their final performances, start to finish. Some sail thru with humor and bravado. Me - I usually go kind of numb thru the final days, focusing on the "bright side", acting like the "seasoned pro" who's been there a million times. Days later, the blues. What's my life? What does it mean? What's the value of this crazy mission?
The cure for this? Always the same - creativity. Hal Prince says that when he opens a show, he wants something new on his desk the next day. I've followed this most of my career, it mostly works. It's good for unexpected endings too.
Luckily, My buddy Neil Berg had asked me to play Peter in THE 12, his rock musical about the Disciples/Apostles. That provided a wealth of transitional healing.
Transition is also about permanent family. The world is so full of stormy seas right now, pillars of sand. What would any of us do without those who've known us the longest, loved us the hardest? Yeah, give me that gift, that Cure, that fortunate life.

So...thanks for reading as I adjust my perspective...transition.


"The Era of Ragtime had run out..."

It seems like the good ones just can't last.
At 7:30pm tonight, our 1/2 hour call, our producers called us to the stage. Kevin McCollum spoke. "unfortunately, we have to close". it kind of becomes a blur after that as you digest this. But we all got clear in the head enough to hear that it would be January 3rd. This Sunday. 1 weeks' notice. Then real shock sets in. We all knew we were in a struggle. We all knew it would be a tough road with a narrow chance of success. But we had seen our houses increase, Positive things happen in the media (TIME mag's best musical of the year, THE VIEW) and we felt we would at least be taking a stab at Jan-Feb, the toughest time on Broadway for a show to survive.
But in the end, Broadway is ruled by real estate. FENCES needs a theatre. And there are only so many theatres. FENCES Has a Movie star. Broadway is Business and right now Business could not be more fragile. It's always fragile, so that's saying something. Movie Stars are a "safer" bet to fill seats, though other shows this season have shown they are no guarantee. Bottom line - Our theatre is/was not ours, and we lost it.

My take? Devastating. Because Ragtime was so very, very good. If you are one of the lucky who saw it, I can tell you that, as special as it was to see, it was all of that to be in. Remarkable on every level. And the most unified, brilliantly talented company I've ever been a part of. We fought hard to survive, to make each show vital, to be fully present for our audiences - and constantly grateful for the privilege to work, to share our story.

Thank you to everyone who came to see it, and to everyone who told someone else to come and see it. if you haven't yet, you have 7 more chances.

I am grateful to the universe for allowing the planets to align long enough for this small miracle to happen. I am grateful that I was a part of it. Our producers showed real courage putting their money into this show. I believe they did it because RAGTIME delivered that magical thing that we go to the theatre for, that thing no one can figure out how to bottle -- Because audiences were moved. Audiences were changed.

(1/26/10 - it should be noted that at no time in the meeting described above did any producer or anyone else announce that FENCES was coming into the Neil Simon Theatre. That was speculation among cast and crew, Based on a "Walk-through" inspection that Denzel Washington and Producers did during an understudy rehearsal for RAGTIME. At this writing, the Neil Simon Theatre has no production scheduled and will likely stand empty for several months.)