Every day is opening night.


Ladies and gents,

If you had asked me last week how I was holding up under quarantine, I’d have mused aloud about how surprisingly well-suited I am to the whole sheltering-in-place routine. I have shelves of books I’ve been meaning to get to, about a half-dozen subscriptions to different streaming services, and my love of canned green beans is the stuff of legend in my family. Sure, I miss my social life and access to the performing arts, but staying home has had its perks.

Ask me this week how I’m holding up? Well, I’m a wreck. My brain is as conflicted and divided as these United States, with half of me terrified by the prospect of venturing outside my apartment and the other half desperate to re-enter society as quickly as possible. There are compelling arguments on both sides of the divide, and my inner monologue has become more of a heated dialogue. As these two opposing points-of-view duke it out, one thing has become crystal clear: there is going to be no easy way out of this mess. Or, put another way: it’s not going to just disappear like a miracle one day.

I’m searching to glimmers of light wherever I can find them. Among my most recent glimmers?

  • Rob Russo chatting with Jamie DuMont about attending Taboo, Boy George’s wildly underrated autobiographical musical, as a high schooler on the latest installment of “The Fabulous Invalid” podcast.
  • Joan Marcus’s Instagram feed – a delightful mix of her own iconic production photos and the most delectable culinary projects you’ve ever seen. (Adrian Bryan-Brown must be living the quarantine of my dreams.)
  • Linda Lavin’s brilliant and hilarious rendition of “The Boy From…” on the recent virtual 90th birthday celebration of Stephen Sondheim.
  • Witnessing Gavin Newsom’s steadfast leadership from afar, while evaluating Andrew Cuomo’s leadership close-up.
  • Hearing rumblings of a “significant cross-country theater idea” that Carole Shorenstein Hays is reportedly cooking up from her home in Sonoma County. Mark my words: if this comes to pass, I will be traveling to the Bay Area in an R/V to experience it.

On a sorrowful note, the theater world lost two towering giants in recent days: West Coast powerhouse Diane Rodriguez and East Coast powerhouse Bernard Gersten. Rodriguez’s career spanned from Northern California (El Teatro Campesino) to the South (Center Theatre Group), but her sphere of influence was nothing short of global. Gersten’s helped shape two of New York’s most important cultural institutions: The Public Theater and Lincoln Center Theater, and even managed to make a splash in Hollywood. Though they may have shuffled off their mortal coils, I take solace knowing that their enduring legacies have rendered them both immortal.

As always, a toast of something sparkling to you and yours!