Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Let's Talk About Theater Prices!

What a potentially boring thing to talk about -- theater ticket prices.

Yesterday I read an article in The Guardian in which Actor Andrew Scott (AKA "Hot Priest" from Fleabag) spoke about the current price of tickets to see a production in the West End. He expressed his desire to see cheap theatre tickets "put on a sale rack." Specifically for younger patrons.

Inevitably you've seen or read an interview with an actor you love & adore who "got the bug" for acting when they saw their first production in the West End or on Broadway. It's charming. It's quaint. Dare I say, it's almost theatrical. But alas, ticket prices have risen so much, that seeing a show in one of these grand locations is out of the realm of possibility for many people, especially today's youth.

This is great place for me to mention that seeing shows at local theaters, be they Community Theater, Semi-Professional Theater, or even Professional Theater is something that you SHOULD do for a number of reason! I won't go into those reasons here (or I'll be writing this all day!) But if you want me to tell you why you SHOULD see those shows, and you SHOULD support local theater, you SHOULD buy me a cup of coffee and we'll talk about it for hours!

Before we had our daughter, my wife and I tried to see a Broadway show at least once a year. Yes, it was expensive, but it was important to us, so we sacrificed and saved to be able to afford it. After our daughter was born, it became less of a priority for the two of us. But now, at ten years old, she's becoming more and more interested in both the entertainment of storytelling and craft of acting.

She has taken a bunch of theater classes, as well as attended theater camps in the Summer. She's seen way more Community Theater, Semi Professional, and Professional shows than I had at her age. She's also performed in two professional shows ("Once" and "Assassins"), so the idea of taking her to see a show on Broadway or the West End is very appealing to us.

This is also a great place for me to mention that Julie and I combined have been working for well over 60 years! Which means, while we aren't wealthy, we definitely are more comfortable buying expensive tickets then your average kid who is still getting paid almost the same minimum wage we were all those years ago. This also is to point out that I'm old and going to complain about things! If you've read anything I've written, you already know that.

But, if a young person like my daughter, or your son, or that niece or nephew you've been meaning to call can't afford to see a Broadway or West End show, what does that say for the future of both Broadway and the West End? Or theater in general?

The incomparable David Tennant, of Doctor Who fame for the uneducated, refers to the price of theater tickets as "ludicrous."

“We have to look after the industry from the bottom up because we won’t be making great telly and we won’t be making Oscar-winning movies if we don’t still have a thriving theatre scene,” Tennant stated.


What will the face of theater look like, or film and television for that matter, if ticket prices remain unreachable for young people? Will all actors be old, rich, primarily white men (not counting the mezzanine).

Or will the expense of theater be replaced with the relatively free Tik Tok or Reels? And at what cost? How will our future storytellers be influenced by the "stories" that they have access to consume?

I like to think I'm not a "get off my lawn" type of aged person. I like to consider myself a sort of warden of entertainment for my child. Sure she's going to make her own decisions, but I like to make sure she's aware of the films, television, and theater that have come in the past.

But in the end, it's her generation that will carry entertainment and storytelling into the future. A future more uncertain than ever. With the hefty price of Climate Change, Environmental Sustainability issues and the difficulty of dealing with Artificial Intelligence. The least we can do is allow them a seat in the goddamn theater.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Making a Slurry

The mind is a weird and bizarre thing. Last night I was describing the process of "making a slurry" to Kit.

 I said, "It's like that time we made slime."
To which Kit replied, "We never made slime."

We 100% did. On May 11, 2021 in fact! Our friend Tara sent us a slime making kit from Nickelodeon (THANKS TARA!) AND we even put it in an episode of The Kit Show, "Kit's Science Lab #2."

This morning, I found this photo:

I remember this like is was merely a few weeks ago. Kit has no memory of it ever happening. We spent about 3 hours making slime. At 45 (at the time) that was a rather in significant duration of my life. At 7 (again at the time) it was a much LARGER part of Kit's life.

The human mind, specifically its memory, is a fascinating thing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

"I Forgive Myself"


One of my favorite philosophies, which I've learned from Improv, is the concept of "I forgive myself." There's NO FREAKING way I'd currently be performing one of my favorite musicals, on stage, if it weren't for embracing this tenet.

Performing and teaching improv has (almost) cured my stage fright...which, in high school, was damn near crippling. I have been a member of ComedySportz Philadelphia for the past 12 years. I have been teaching improv for the past 7 years. I freaking love it!

Through this sometimes maligned art form, I have grown to realize my fear was never "looking stupid on stage." As a comedian or entertainer or just a damn fool, that's kind of part and parcel to making people laugh. In fact, my low-rent super power is to convert people laughing at me into people laughing with me. Obviously a defense mechanism (also going back to high school). I've learned that much of my fear came from letting down those around me. My cast mates or fellow performers. If I drop a cue line, how does that affect their performance? THAT had long been my fear of stepping on stage in a scripted format. With Improv, there are no cue lines. There is no script. You accept ("yes"), you amplify ("and"), and you continue to tell the story...together.

But how do you take what you learn from improv and insert it into a scripted performance? By learning how to forgive yourself in the moment.

Last weekend, as we opened Assassins at City Theater in Wilmington Delaware, I new I was as prepared as I could possibly have been. I knew the script forward and backwards. The scenes. Two monologues. The songs. BUT, as sometimes can happen in a live setting, I slipped up. I transposed a line in a song... which happened to be a huge cue line for the rest of the cast. Collectively they salvaged my mistake, but I was so disappointed in myself. THIS is the FEAR come to life!

But then I said, "fuck it." I could sit there and let it eat at me for the rest of that performance, which will undoubtedly kill the mood every time I walk on stage, or I can do what I've learned from Jason Stockdale, Dave Jadico, Alli Soowal, Mary Carpenter, Kristin Finger, Don Montrey, Emily Davis, Darryl Charles, Sue Taney, Jon Colby, Steve Roney, Jim Burns, and a myriad of other teachers I've study with over the years and simply say "I forgive myself" and move on.

I'm not going to tell you it's easy. It's not! Quite the contrary. It takes a shitload of practice! But, since I fuck up a lot, and I'm old, I have to be damn close to my 10,000 hours needed to master it.

It works on as well as off the stage: Forgot to make the coffee, I forgive myself. Ran out of time before mowing the lawn, I forgive myself. Haven't showered in 3 days, I forgive myself...though those around you mind take exception.

The day after my error, I was back on stage in another performance. To alleviate it happening again, I was laboring over that part of the song. Jim Burns, who I have worked with on shorts, web series, improv shows, and various stage performances was helping me. After working it for a bit bit he finally said, "Okay. Don't over do it, or it becomes a thing." That advice greatly complimented the "I forgive myself" philosophy.

When that moment in the song came up, I concentrated on the words, but let go and didn't over complicate it. Everything went completely fine.

Forgive yourself. Also, if you can. get a Jim Burns in your life!

Friday, March 31, 2023


I'm now one of the Google users who is able to use BARD. So of course, I immediately asked it some tough questions:

I'm sure I am now on a list since I tried to use AI to help me get away with murder! It should be noted, the death was an accident AND my daughter NEVER HAD A GOLDFISH!!

Let's try something a little less murderous:

Did I say "less murderous?" My wife is 100% team Spike, I liked Angel...so she'll kill me over this.

Speaking of murder:

I had hoped this answer would have been more definitive. Like if it said, "Charlie Sheen." I'd have been shocked, but also, kind of not...

This is all well and good, but let's trying something with a little substance. Something that we ALL need an answer to:

"Your milkshake will be the talk of the town," is what Kelis' would have sung if she was a white dude in the 1940s.

And while we're talking about milkshakes...

Lotta pussyfootin' here, BARD!

Maybe I'll accept that BARD didn't want to commit to putting the blame on OJ, but the answer to this is 100% David Lee Roth, even if he is pompous as hell!

Looks like know new Beastie BARD songs coming anytime soon...

And finally, I have these song lyrics running through my head non-stop:

Until A.I. can properly recognize ANTHRAX lyrics, I don't think we have to fear an uncanny valley situation.

Also, OJ totally did it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

House of Glass(es) - How To Choose A Speaker of the House in 2023

Yesterday should have seen the swearing in of the 118th United States Congress.

This happened for the Democratic run Senate, but the Republican lead House of Representatives found itself in chaos. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who has long positioned himself for the Speaker of the House position, saw his dreams slip through his fingers as he failed to gain the 218 votes needed to win the Speakership. In fact, he failed three times! 

This has not happened in over 100 years!

BUT, most people don't know, there are many weird and archaic rules that govern the government! The House of Representatives might have some of the weirdest!

As Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida waged his war on Kevin McCarthy, some bizarre rules started to come to light. One of the strangest is as follows:

Rule 72 (9-c): pursuant with House rules, if a speakership cannot be decided after three continuous votes, the first member of the sitting body who eats their own glasses shall take up the title.

Apparently, many of the "would be" participants heard about this rule last evening, as they all jockeyed for position.

Being cheered on by some supporters, Kevin McCarthy started going to town on his reading glasses.

Rep. Steve Scalise from Louisiana, who many believe will end up being the Speaker of the House, said in a statement, "The only glasses I am interested in, are the commemorative drinking glasses for Puss in Boots, available at participating Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen and the drinking glasses for Avatar: The Way of the Water available for a limited time at Chick-fil-A."

Rep. Jim Jordan from OH, who pretended he wasn't interested in the Speaker role, tried to eat his glasses right off his face without anyone noticing. He failed on both attempts.

Rep. Jim Banks from Indiana was seen eating his monocle which was mistaken for the statement "Eat the Rich." As such, he was immediately disqualified and removed from the Republican Party.

Rep. Andy Biggs from Arizona thought it would be funny to eat a pair of oversized clown glasses. However, none of his oversized clown colleagues were laughing. Also, his eyes were bigger than his stomach. 

Rep. Lauren Boebert from Colorado (not sure which planet), didn't understand the assignment. Instead she ate a Hearing Aid. Luckily, an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy by President Biden, saw this hearing aid available over the counter, without a prescription. At least SOMEONE is still governing for the people.  

And of course, not to be out flanked by his cohorts when TV cameras are around, Matt Gaetz also attempted to eat a pair of glasses. However, his pair belonged to a minor who he had been sending money to for "things," which apparently isn't against the law, but it also didn't gain him the speakership.

It's fucking insane that one of these assholes will likely be two heartbeats away from the Presidency. 

By the way, if you were wondering if this practice has ever been used before to determine the Speaker of the house, the answer is yes! But that speaker had the decency to cover her mouth.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

A Happy New Year's Day at Hershey Park

On New Year's Day we went to Hershey Park as a family. It's the last day the park is opened until April...unrelated, it's 62 degrees today!

While Julie, Kit, and I stood in the long line to purchase our tickets (I know, we didn't buy them online) a park employee approached and asked the line, "Who here is just buying tickets?"

My assumption was that everyone in line was. But like a proper grade schooler, I raised my hand. She then waved her hand to me and a woman stepped out from behind her, with her daughter in toe. That young girl was about Kit's age.

"We have these three tickets we'd like to give you," she said to us. WAIT! WHAT?!?

Her son is a Hershey Park employee and he had three remaining complimentary tickets that would expire at the end of the day. This kind woman: Got dressed, got her daughter out the door, and came to a very crowded amusement park (did I mention it was about 60 degrees that day too?) simply to give away these tickets.

She could easily have said, "Oh well" and simply thrown them in the trash. But here she was, on the first day of the new year, doing something incredibly selfless.

Julie asked if we could Venmo her, which this kind woman immediately declined. We thanked them profusely, but it all happened so fast, that we never asked for their names.

Literally the kindness of strangers.

I have seen many posts and news stories that would lead you to believe "2023 is starting off terribly." But I can't disagree more.

Inevitably we'll all suffer great defeats, losses, illnesses, and even deaths that will affect us deeply. Unfortunately, that is reality of living regardless of the year printed on your Otter Calendar.

But, not even a full 24 hours into a brand spanking new year, I have a renewed optimism regarding humanity. Many thanks to these kind strangers for helping kick off our 2023 in such a pleasantly surprising way.

Wishing you ALL many more highs than lows and a very Happy New Year!

Friday, July 15, 2022


I am as guilty as anyone of overusing the word, "Awesome."

Every time someone posts something positive on social media, my initial response is, "Awesome."
And now occasionally, "Amazing."
But both of them, I use WAAAAY too much.

Starting today, and running through the rest of the year, I am going to comment, "That's what's up!"

POST: She said yes!
MY COMMENT: That's what's up!

POST: This fall we'll be introducing a new member to the family!
MY COMMENT: That's what's up!

POST: Holy Shit! Agents are bringing people out of Mar-A-Lago in handcuffs!
MY COMMENT: That's what's up!

Please don't think that I am in any way being sarcastic if I leave this comment on one of your posts. It's just that I want to convey my feelings about your news in a positive way with out saying "Awesome."

I don't know how people will react to this, but me...I think...that's what's awesome. Shit! Fuck! Dammit! It's a hard habit to break.