Theatermania just posted an article on Goodbye Cruel World with a headline that starts with "Paco Tolson to star in..." Holy shit! With a big picture! It's not one of the publicity photos but one of my old headshots.
Goodbye Cruel World had a publicity photo shoot at an address near 34th street. Theresa Squire who is working on our costumes has a studio near there so I assumed it was her place we were going to. She's been the go-to photographer for the preliminary press shots with Vampire Cowboys, so I assumed we'd hit costumes and photos in one fell swoop.
I was early and called ahead to see if I had the address right and to see if someone would be there, and a curt voice said something like, "Yes, come on up." I didn't think it sounded like either Theresa our our other designer Antonia, but I dutifully followed the directions to #509.
I stopped at the door. The door said "Carol Rosegg". Not only was I half an hour early but now I was also convinced I was in the totally wrong place. Carol Rosegg is one of the most famous theatre photographers in New York. I would sometimes wile away the time at my old job looking through page after page of her work on the internet admiring photos of some of my theatre heroes in action imagining the day when she would take my picture from the center orchestra. I didn't even want to knock on the door because if I was in the wrong spot then I would embarrass myself in front of an industry giant. I stood there frozen and then went for it anyway.
I pulled the handle and it gave a little, then clanged loudly in the empty hallway. It was locked. Awesome.
I turned away trying to figure out how I had gone wrong when I heard someone on the other side get up and cross to the door. A woman answered and said, "Hi, I'm Carol. You're the first one here. Just have a seat and read your Voice." I was so surprised that I went in and instantly dove into the paper trying to wrap my brain around what was going on. Was she expecting someone else and thought I was them? I could just picture Bill Irwin or Nathan Lane knocking on the door in 15 minutes saying, "Okay, I'm here let's do this--hey, who the hell is that guy?"
Eventually the others arrived and we got started. It quickly became clear to me that I have a ton to learn about getting my picture taken, but Carol was very cool about it and ushered us through some composition and framing suggestions. It was a really fun experience and Cindy and Tami were in amazing costumes out there with me so we had a lot of improvisational fun. We had a tuba with us as per a scene in the play and that ridiculous prop was prominently featured (I ended up playing it during the session and it tasted like rust). We had a blast. I can't wait to see how the pictures turned out!
At the New York Innovative Theatre Awards Martin and Rochelle gave a rousing, articulate speech about the hard work and commitment that goes into making art. I remember sitting in the audience and really digging what they were saying. "They really get it and believe in it," I thought. And that is part of what makes this recognition so special for me. We're all in it together and although they're not performers, they're a big part of who we are and what we do. They understand the struggle and participate themselves. Their staff sees a zillion shows a year and I know I am one of the great multitude who rely on this website for the word on what is going on in the community. I remain completely floored.
Two of the three shows mentioned in my POY bio were shows I did with Vampire Cowboys (Soul Samurai and Fight Girl Battle World) and I have to say I owe a huge debt to them. They are a tremendous group who have done outstanding work for many years and taken me along for the ride. Part of what makes them so special is the quality of the collaboration, and in both of those shows I was a member of an incredible, true ensemble. The third show was Temar Underwood's The Brokenhearteds and again, all of us were up there as one and they all blew my mind. We did it all together.
Secondly, two shows are lined up for next season. The first is Robert Ross Parker's production of Goodbye Cruel World in January with Roundtable Ensemble. The play is an adaptation (Robert's) of a play called The Suicide by Nikolai Erdman and it's fast, furious, and physical in the best comic traditions. It'll be at The Arclight Theatre on 71st street, more details to come.
Following on the heels of that will be the Off-Broadway premiere of Michi Barall's play Iph, Then with the Obie-award winning Ma-Yi Theater. Visionary director and, ahem, Obie-award winner Loy Arcenas, who directed their brilliant production of The Romance of Magno Rubio and the workshop of I__NY, will return for this as well. That'll be sometime in March/April at The Ohio. More details to come.