I have been in NY for a little over three weeks, though I spent the first couple sequestered in my apartment finishing a manuscript (more on that as it develops) and getting ready to launch the Bastard Jones website, where you can listen to eight songs and read the entire first act.
The launch coincided (not coincidentally) with the annual conference of the National Alliance of Musical Theatre , which I attended as the dramaturg for producer Brisa Trinchero of Make Musicals. The experience proved unexpectedly mystical as well as musical.
Those of you know me well know that I've undergone a transformative few years: a midlife crisis, a career course correction. Since the death of my mother last year, I've largely retreated from the world, rebuilding myself as I find a new normal.
It was with that in mind that I went to NAMT's conference, networking, seeing excerpts from eight new musicals (including my favorite, a hard-rock version of Lizzie Borden). Despite the excitement, I was determined to be Zen about the whole thing. So instead of puppy-dogging around in my usual frantic manner, I simply made a list of the people I wanted to meet, then trusted I would see whomever I needed to.
On the top of my list were two NY-based companies specializing in developing new work, Amas Musical Theatre and the New York Theatre Barn.
The first show I saw I found myself on line behind composer-lyricist Sheilah Rae, who instantly befriended me, no questions asked. Afterwards, I joined Brisa for lunch with Robb Hunt, executive director of the Village Theatre outside Seattle, who was meeting some other friends. I sat down opposite two women who promptly introduced themselves as the board president and artistic director of...wait for it...Amas Musical Theatre.
As with all of the theater people I've met, we had a number of friends in common and immediately got on as if we've known each other for years. They invited me to their fundraiser featuring Forbidden Broadway creator Gerard Allessandrini. Not one to question serendipity, I'm going.
I returned to the line for the next show only to find myself behind Sheilah once again. Now keep in mind there are hundreds of people at this event. The odds of ending up behind the same person are slim. I was musing on the coincidence when she informed me of something she hadn't said earlier--that she's the board president of, that's right, the New York Theatre Barn. She invited me to their monthly showcase of emerging writers.
Not one to question serendipity, I went tonight, reveling in the youthful talent even though I felt ancient when artistic director Joe Barros mentioned he was 17 in 2001. Which means he was born the year I graduated high school.
But I respect synchronicity. The decision to move back to New York and to write musicals feels so intrinsically right to me it assuages all doubts. I'd say that my whole New York experience feels like coming home, but since I grew up 22 miles away in Jersey, it is coming home. So for the first time since the recession hit, I feel my mojo coming back. Stronger and more certain than ever.
Of course, having this view at sunrise don't hurt, neither: