Monday, June 12, 2017

Ben Platt's Picture Perfect Night

If you hadn’t heard of Ben Platt before today, you will now. The Los Angeles native who played the prince in Cinderella, “in a blue sequined vest at the age of six,” is now the prince of Broadway. “Oh my God!” he mouthed moments after he nabbed the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen. “Holy Crap! Ok! This is a Tony! Hello! Ok! Ok!” he shockingly told the audience Sunday night. While Platt was in disbelief, the first Tony nomination and win for the 23-year-old was not unexpected. Shot full of adrenaline, Platt went on to thank everyone from his physical therapist to his brother-in-law who was home watching his “edible, edible nephews.” Speaking of eating... the Tony audience gobbled up his performance of "Waving Through A Window." 

Dear Evan Hansen is a show about an awkward high school student whose social status is transformed by a blooming lie following a tragedy. The story deals with bullying, teenage suicide and the perils of social media. “Everyone has a bit of Evan Hansen in them,” the newly minted Tony winner told the press after his speech. “I hardly remember what I said,” said Pratt. I remember though. The Picture Perfect star ended his speech with these words for young people:

“Don’t try to be anybody but yourself. The things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.” 

A picture perfect message on a picture perfect night for Ben Platt.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

National Cancer Survivors Day

It’s June 4th and it’s National Cancer Survivors Day! It’s meant as a day to celebrate survivors and inspire those recently diagnosed to show them you CAN. You CAN do this! 

So, Happy National Cancer Survivors Day to all you fighters and fellow survivors out there. YOU are some of the strongest people I know. YOU inspire. 

To those warriors cancer took from us. Your fight is never forgotten. YOU are never forgotten. You are here with us every day. To the cheerleaders who threw us into that basket toss so we could fly when we couldn’t… Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We could not have done it without YOU!

The fight isn’t over until we find a cure. To the researchers, scientists and doctors around the globe tirelessly trying to find a cure … You CAN. You WILL. Thank you. There is a CAN in CANcer. 

Now, let’s celebrate! 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Journey Interrupted: Etiquette and The Great White Way

When I think about Broadway I think of these words: Magical, transformative, community, inspiring, storied. When I think about some of the people who attend Broadway shows I think of these words: rude …well... just rude. Never, “In My Dreams,” had I ever thought I’d have an urge to write this kind of blog post. However, here goes my mini-rant about just some of the audience at today’s matinee of Anastasia.

*Phones. Yup… the use of cell phones was alive and well. Why are you at a show texting and reading your mail?! WHY? Is it really that urgent?! Do you really think nobody can see the bright iPhone screen? Put your phone away and stop texting OR taking pictures. Yes. One person snapped photos and I just wanted to yell “Put the phone down and enjoy the performance! Live in the moment not through your screen!” “Learn To Do It.”

*I understand that people need to get up and leave during a show for various reasons. They need to use the restroom. They need to stretch their legs. Whatever. It’s totally understandable. However, to get up in a middle of a number is just … rude. Not just any number but “Journey to the Past.” Like come on? “Stay, I Pray You!” Even the person behind me audibly sighed. I just don’t understand getting up mid-number unless you’re having some kind of medical emergency. 

*Eating. Don’t get me started. This is what I heard during “Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)…. crinkling of multiple plastic wrappers. Not just one moment of crinkling. The whole track had crinkling over it. Would you do that during an entire work meeting? I don’t think so. 

*Leaving during curtain call. I think it’s horribly rude to leave during curtain call. The musicians, crew, actors all just worked their butts off to give you their best performance. The least you can do is give them the round of applause they deserve. How would you feel if that happened to you? It’s just rude. One lady was like “I gotta get to the Stage Door!” I get it, but seriously?” (I did write a blog about stage door etiquette a few years ago. Here’s the link

Needless to say… a majority of people who go to the theatre are polite and quiet. There is no question about that. If you’re reading this, my grievances are probably not directed to you. My point is this. You paid a decent amount of money to enjoy a Broadway show. The person sitting in front of you did too. Some people travel across the world to see a show.The actors, musicians, stage hands, etc…. all have worked countless of hours and work 8 days a week to tell you a story and bring you some Broadway magic. I’d really love to “Close the Door” on the discussion of theatre etiquette.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Moment In Manchester

“When I was a boy & I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me…”Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -Fred Rogers

It’s the morning after of the attack in Manchester. Last night work was abuzz with feeds, pictures, press conferences and phone calls. “Was it just balloons popping?” “Was it an attack?” “What are we hearing?” Then… the unraveling of the knot of questions as answers began to trickle in. Our hearts sank. While I don’t directly cover international news, we all know the news in cities across the world effects everyone. An attack on innocent people is an attack on all humanity. It is the stories after the unthinkable… threading its way into my work email… that reminds me why I do what I do. The hope. The helping. The community. The coming together. Those are the stories that need to be told too. The quote at the top is from Fred Rogers. I used to watch Mr. Rogers Neighborhood as a child. Some of those people at Manchester Arena were kids. Their innocence and lives changed in an ugly act of violence. I pray they’re able to take the beauty away from the acts of kindness they witness in the days to come. Those are the stories I like to tell. The stars that are seen in the darkness. The people who are helping. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

An Ode To Mom

Thank you for being there and saying you care
For cheering me up when a boy I liked didn’t care
Thank you for the words of advice you think I don’t hear
For cutting me slack when I don’t understand Shakespeare
Thank you for picking on what I wear
It’s just another sign that you care
Thank you for making sure I know I always feel loved
It warms my soul, like an Ugg winter glove
Thank you for driving me city to city
This as I pursued a career with my sidekick kitty
Thank you for getting my Cabbage Patch Kid
Don’t think I forgot, what you did.
Thank you for teaching me Hebrew in school
Even though I broke rules and wasn’t your star pupil
Thank you for leaving me voice messages every night
For reminding me to shine in my own spotlight
This poem could go on and on … cause mom… you’re the best around
To all mothers in every town
You all deserve a diamond crown
So sons and daughters if you’re reading this
Call your mom or giver her a kiss 
Happy Mother’s Day

Friday, April 21, 2017

Almost There

Guess what day it is? My one year Cancerversary! I’m not married… yet. Where are you Prince Charming?! I like a good celebration… so dang it… I’m celebrating an anniversary! On this day last year I heard those three years. “You have cancer.” This year, I’m turning the frown I had last year upside-down and turning it into one big Cheshire Cat smile! 

One year later I am done with surgery. I am done with chemotherapy. I am done with radiation. I am done with physical therapy. I have two more Herceptin infusions to go and many years of hormone therapy ahead, but I Wished Upon a Star and now I See The Light. I was talking to someone at the hospital this week when they asked what I learned over the year. One sentiment I did take away you can find in a song in the Disney movie “Moana.”

There comes a day
When you’re gonna look around
And realize happiness is where you are

Whenever I feel something negative begin to drown me I take a deep breath and remember where I am. I am not in the same place I was last year. Ask me what my priorities in life are now and they are different. Now my daily activities reflect what is important to me. I’ve always been a lover of “the little things.” Now I’m so much more deeply in love with those things. The “bless you” after I sneeze by a random stranger. The “like” of a Tweet I posted. The taste of food. I realize the happiness of where I am at that moment. It doesn’t have to be a good moment. It could be that some boob just bumped me over on the subway platform to catch a train. I pause, roll me eyes, take a deep breath and re-set my reaction. I can create happiness. I am responsible for my happiness. My thinking is no longer of annoyance, but of gratitude … thankfullness that I’m standing on that subway platform to be knocked into and not bedridden with chemo caused fatigued. 

Being happy is healthy. Being happy takes courage. That said, I’m on my way to the Happiest Place on Earth! I’m marking the milestone by going to Disney World with a dear friend. I haven’t been able to take a vacation for over a year. I’m putting on my Hakuna Matata hat and… as I wrap this post up… reminding you to think happy. As a wise fairy said, "All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of Pixie Dust."

Monday, April 10, 2017

Yom Tov

It’s Monday! Happy Monday everyone. It should be. However, I woke up this morning with tears on my cheek and a pocketful of anxiety. Oy vey! So, I said “Screw you anxiety!” I took a few deep breaths and hit snooze. This was not how I wanted to start the beginning of my favorite Jewish holiday… Passover! I wanted to re-set this day and the tone of it. So, 8 minutes later my alarm went off again and I’ve decided to start it with an F(#)!% You to anxiety, a cup of tea, a handful of Dark Chocolate Powerberries from Trader Joe’s and a trip to a spin class I haven’t been to since my chemo days. Take that anxiety! 

Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday. I have so many fabulous memories of my grandma, Seder and my family just having a blast over our abbreviated Haggadah. I usually am home for the first night of Passover. This year I will be at work. Last year (Passover was later in April) I was stepping out of O’Hare airport and onto my new path as a newly (less than 24 hours new) diagnosed cancer patient to celebrate the holiday with my family. I’m a bit annoyed that cancer has screwed with my happy Passover memories. So, I’m making this Monday a marvelous one and this first night a celebratory one. I’m allowing my anxiety tears to fall for one more minute as it’s okay to feel what I’m feeling. It’s not okay to let it overcome me and mess with my day. So, as I take a sip of my tea I hit re-set as I hit “send” on this blog.  

We should all celebrate something this Monday. We have all made it to another week. We all can find something to be grateful for as we rise out of bed. What am I grateful for? I am grateful that I am not on the path I was last year. I’m taking a right turn onto a new, less mountainous path. The Angel of Death passed over me. I’ve left the hell of Egypt, that the Jewish people endured thousands of years ago, and am making my way to the Promised Land. I am moving forward. Have a marvelous Monday!