The Alley Theatre’s production of Satchmo at the Waldorf, my first play and second professional directing assignment, opens tonight in Houston. We’ve had four gratifyingly smooth previews in a row, the last of which went so well that I canceled this afternoon’s final rehearsal and told everybody to stay home and sleep late. Nobody complained, either, least of all me.
Incredible as it may sound, this will be my second opening night in two months. That’s a sentence I never imagined I’d have occasion to write! It certainly didn’t occur to me when Paul Moravec and I took our bows after the premiere of The Letter in 2009 that I was taking my first step down the surprisingly short road that would lead me to a parallel career as an opera librettist and playwright—and, now, a stage director. These past nine years have been a hell of a ride, and I’ve loved every minute of it. My only regret is that my beloved Mrs. T couldn’t come to Texas to share in the fun. She’ll be here in spirit, though, and in my heart.
In preparation for the big night, I present—as I always do before my first nights—the following clip, which I first saw on TV as a child and which in recent years has become increasingly and improbably relevant to my life.
Break a leg, everybody:
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UPDATE: This is my favorite moment in the production, exquisitely lit by Kevin Adams. I only wish you could hear John Gromada’s music for this scene!