Friday, November 18, 2005

Kickin' it Old School

I had a great conversation with my friend, mentor & High School Drama teacher, Ralph Hammann last night. Ralph directed me in the title role in Scapino! Fifteen yeears ago, and his students are opening their production of Scapino! tonight at 8pm at the Pittsfield High School Theatre in Massachussetts.

The cool thing is-- I'm working on the title role in Scapino! right now at Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, VA!! How freakin' cool is that?? Our production opens next week at 8pm.


Ralph Hammann has been a great friend to me for almost eighteen years now. One of the great things about him is that he always treats his students-- and expects them to behave-- as though they are professional actors. Nevermind that most of them will grow up to be something else entirely-- business majors, career military personnell, doctors, lawyers, or even burger flippers, and may never set foot in a theare again after high school-- Mr. Hammann forces them to take what they are doing very very seriously, and to bring the totality of who they are to a given project. In so doing, he instills a strong sense of self-confidence into his students, and allows them to trust themselves and one another. In nearly thirty years of maintaining one of the most unique and challenging arts programs of any public school system anywhere in the country (a four-year intensive drama program more comprehensive than the curriculum of some colleges) Ralph has given his students a forum to find their voice, an invitation to take risks, and a place to land squarely on their feet. The man creates ensembles for a living, with the discipline of a football coach, the fearlessness of a true artist, & the mischevious warmth and humor of a circus clown.

So tonight, I wish Proteus, the PHS Drama Society a heartfelt 'Break A Leg!' as they tread the boards and act like knuckleheads in the wacky commedia dell'arte farce that is Scapino! I'm proud to be a part of the lineage & tradition of Mr. Hammann's ensemble, and I only wish I could get up there to see it.


-Mary Sue Carroll: The Show of her Life. A Memorial Celebration of the life and artistic energy of beloved local actor Mary Sue Carroll will be presented on Sunday, November 20 at the Firehouse Theatre Project. Music and stories by family and friends will be the backdrop for the celebration, which includes a video collage of memories. A film of Mary Sue's performance in The Devil and Billy Markham will immediately follow the celebration. Pre-show music at 6:15 for a 7:00 curtain. The Firehouse Theatre Project is located at 1609 W. Broad St. at Lombardy. Free and ample parking across the street at Lowe's. Call Bridget Gethins for more information 231-3118.

-A Midsummer Night's Dream Monday night, 11/21 at 9pm on WCVE Richmond Channel 23, the broadcast of our five actor version airs. Catch the great physical comedy of the ensemble that includes Frank Creasy, Cynde Liffick, Heidi-Marie Ferren, Cameron Knight and myself, with original music by Andrew Hamm. Directed by Grant Mudge.

-Scapino! Friday night, 11/25/05 and runs until 1/22/06. Catch al of the details, plus a swell picture of me gesturing towards actor Adam Suritz, who plays Ottavio, just seconds before he kisses my wife, Jennifer, who plays his love interest, Giacinta. I hate this business. Check it out at

-Congrats to local filmmaker Keith Marcum, whose short film, Shades of Grey, won 'best narrative' at the veneration film festival. Jennifer and I were both featured in that film-- Jennifer as a florist, myself as a bald-headed thug who contributes to the demise of the main character; a nice, altruistic gentleman played by actor Walter Schoen. I'm a bad, bad man. The list of other honorees can be found at

-Foster Solomon's new short film, Tamed, has it's premiere this week as well. Catch the article on his new venture at the link below. Best of luck to that project, which has film festivals all over the country clamoring for it, featuring Richmond Actors Justin Dray and Kristen Swanson.

That's all for now. I leave you with my Shambhala 'Thought of the Day',
by Chogyam Trungpa:

"To Overcome Uncertainty is Utterly Good."

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