COUNTING MY BLESSINGS
Inspired by Irving Berlin, some Tony talk, and learning how to "prepare ye" in your heart for whatever comes...
One of my favorite Irving Berlin lyrics:
When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep
Counting my blessings
If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep
Counting your blessings
This song resonates with particular clarity recently. On May 2, the Tony nominations were announced. I woke up and I was hoping for my little-show-that-could, GODSPELL, to be one of the lucky nominated revivals this year. However, it’s been an extremely competitive year for revivals, and with only 4 slots, the powers-that-be at the Tony Awards chose EVITA, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, FOLLIES, and PORGY & BESS. GODSPELL was left off the list. In fact, GODSPELL was not nominated for a single award.
I was initially upset. GODSPELL has been a labor of love for all of us involved. It never feels good to be forgotten or shut out, especially in such a public way. But, thanks to the genius of Irving Berlin, I was able to replace my initial anger and disappointment with an incredible sense of peace and gratitude. You see…
This particular revival of GODSPELL is a project I’ve been involved with since 2006 (the original Paper Mill incarnation of Daniel Goldstein’s beautifully directed production). The show was supposed to happen in 2008 (at the Barrymore Theater), but shuttered 6 days before rehearsals was to begin due to a combination of mismanagement and the market crash.
That production was said to be “indefinitely postponed”, which in “showbiz” talk is another way of saying: “this show is never happening: no way in Hell.” I had given up hope. But, we were all proven wrong when the show was given a new lease on life, and with new management under Ken Davenport, the show was back on. This time, we were in the PERFECT space (the Circle in the Square), with a PERFECT company, and lyrics from another song resonated loud and clear. This time, the song was from GODSPELL, and I’d get to sing it 8-times-a-week: “It’s all for the best.” I realized that even though I was filled with disappointment in 2008, the show wasn’t meant to happen THEN. It was meant to happen NOW, with this group, at this theater, at this moment. (i.e. Had GODSPELL happened in 2008, would I have ever been involved with ALLEGIANCE? Who knows!)
So, the fact the show happened at all is a BLESSING. The fact that the show opened in November, and it is now MAY, and the show is still running is a BLESSING. Some more BLESSINGS that have come from this project: being part of the original cast recording, appearing on Letterman, appearing on The View, appearing on Rosie, a spread in Vanity Fair, having my performance preserved for all time in the Lincoln Center archives… and the most important blessing of all: having the opportunity to spread JOY and LOVE to our audiences night after night with this beautiful show – and I get PAID for it! What greater blessing could I ask for?
As I count my GODSPELL blessings, I’m reminded that I didn’t become an actor for AWARDS. No one creates theater to win a Tony. We create theater to inspire. We create theater to make an emotional connection with an audience and with our fellow artists.
This connection reminds us of our humanity.
This connection reminds us that we can learn from one another.
This connection is the key to making this world a better place.
This connection is the power of theater and…
This connection is what GODSPELL is all about.
There are some great discount tickets for GODSPELL during the month of May, and I encourage you all to take advantage of the savings, come to the Circle in the Square, and feel this connection with us.
I promise. After the show, you will count GODSPELL as one of YOUR blessings, too.