Tuesday, August 20, 2013


1993 began in Daytona Beach, finishing up the run of Jacques Brel. Word came from Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach that they were in need of a Lancelot for their production of Camelot. I think I was hired purely on recommendation. I believe I may have had one day off between the end of Brel and the beginning of Camelot rehearsals. Such luck!

This made my second time doing Camelot, the show that so inspired me in 1977. I had moved up from Sir Third-From-The-Left to Lancelot! The best was yet to come.

Laura came down to see the show, as usual. Then it was back up to NYC, at last. Brian Maffitt showed me this neat new program called After Effects that allowed you to create animation. Together we wrote and recorded the soundtrack for a Sesame Street-style animated short called Farm Folk Forum. Brian did most of the animation, although I plotted the timing and movements of my character, the horse. I loved this. We did end up submitting it to Sesame Street; they passed on it, but praised the "very clever writing", or words to that effect.

Seaside offered me a couple of wonderful roles for the summer, so I went back. I was Nathan Rothschild in The Rothschilds, and Antipholus of Syracuse in The Boys From Syracuse. Good times.

Then it was back to NYC. At some point in here, Laura and I moved into Manhattan, to an apartment on 10th Avenue between 43rd and 44th. Actually, it could have been in 1992. Not sure. We had two cats around this time: I know Berkeley we got while we were in Brooklyn. And Camilla I believe was a Manhattanite by birth.

I had walked by the Henson townhouse at 117 East 69th Street several times. I had seen the famous stained glass Ernie and Bert window. Here I was, in New York, where Henson was based. I had always loved the Muppets, far beyond any degree that could be called "normal". How did you get to do that? I wrote a letter to them, asking how one got to be a Muppeteer. I got a lovely letter back from Leslie Converse, saying that I should send in a videotape showing my skills with a hand/rod puppet, and showing a variety of character voices.

I borrowed Brian's Hi8 camera, and got busy. I got my crappy old Anything Muppet puppet from home, made a bunch of characters, figured out what I was going to do, and taped it. I sent it in. Who knows?

I turned 30. I think this exploration into animation and puppetry was all by way of turning 30, and wondering what else I could do with my life in addition to being an actor/singer.

At any rate, I auditioned in NYC for the Yeston/Kopit Phantom at Carousel Dinner Theater, which was located in Akron OH. It was the largest dinner theatre in the country, or so they said. I remember the audition, and being up against several guys with Broadway credits, but I got the part. Once again I was Erik (the Phantom), the role I had played at Seaside the previous year. Laura had already worked at the Carousel, so I had some idea of what I was getting into.

Man, the winter in Akron is brutally cold. Anyway, that's how 1993 ended: shivering in a mask in Akron.

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