Thursday, July 23, 2015

For the PJs Cast and Crew...

To the Cast and Crew of Bye Bye Birdie:

As I sit here typing away just a few hours before opening night, I have a lot of emotions surrounding the journey we all have been on together for the last few months.  There are many things I want you guys to know, and rather than take up time in circle and since I express myself better in the written word anyway, I'm going to say what I need to say here.

First and foremost, I am so immensely proud of each and every one of you.  From the onset of this production, each of you has brought something special to this endeavor and has helped to further realize the overall vision I've had for Possum Juniors ever since I volunteered to take it over three years ago.

You see, I want the Possum Junior productions to be completely and totally the PJs' in every way possible and in every aspect.  It hasn't always been an easy thing for me to know when to step in and when to be hands off - my instincts as a teacher tell me to create a highly structured and controlled environment.  And I can't say I am always able to strike that balance between maintaining that structure with still allowing you room to flourish and explore the possibilities of theater.  But, I am forever enamored at how much you all stepped up to the plate to make Birdie the best production it can be.  And, when all is said and done, I hope you can look back and say, "This was ours.  This is what we accomplished working so hard together."

Now as for the special thank-yous I want to send out:

I personally am grateful for your parents/guardians who made sure you got to rehearsal, who helped out in any way that they could, and who are supporting the PJs by coming to the show.  If you haven't already expressed gratitude to the adults who have supported you through this process, I want to share the following video with you:

Corny, I know.  But, Mr, Rogers' words ring very true.  I thank your parents and family for their support through this process.  And, so should you.

Special mention goes to Deana Lynch and Jill Lewandowski, who have been godsends to me and the rest of the PJs.  I cannot even begin to list the ways in which they've been a help to the PJs, but I want to them to know how grateful I am for everything they have done.

Also, what some of you are probably not aware of is how much the greater community of Possum Point Players has been supporting our efforts.  You may have seen the well wishes posted on the Facebook page and other places, but it was their faith and support at the very beginning that got the show approved in the first place and opened the door for us to have this wonderful experience.  And, we owe a debt of thanks to them for that.

Of course, I cannot forget our music maestros, Liz Messick and Stacey Hartman.  Liz guided you at the beginning and did an awesome job preparing you guys musically.  Stacey took the helm and has led you the rest of the way to opening night.  Many of you have known Liz and how fantastic she is for a long time, and she totally deserves all the praise we can heap on her.  But, I am especially grateful you all have had the opportunity to get to know Stacey and learn something I've known for ten years: Stacey is just plain awesome.

She has done something that to my knowledge has never been done with a PJs show before: assembled a music pit comprised almost entirely of young people like yourselves, adding another dimension to Possum Juniors being centered around young people.  This has not been an easy process for her, and she has been out of her comfort zone in a variety of ways (a feeling with which I can well empathize), yet she came through for us in big way.  I know I tease her about being an evil, soul-sucking redhead (one of the many jokes we have with one another), but she has brought a great deal of heart to this production, and I am forever grateful to call her my colleague and, most importantly, my friend.

Lastly, I have to mention our illustrious director, Logan Lynch.  From the moment he came to me with this grand idea of directing Bye Bye Birdie, I knew we were in for an interesting and exciting ride.  And, he never disappointed.  I have been in awe watching him realize his vision, and I have enjoyed our discussions as he tried to figure out ways to bring about that vision.  I am grateful for his hard work and perseverance.  Logan, working with you hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it.  But, please, remember this advice: restraint and subtlety can be GOOD things, too.  Try them sometime.  Ha!

That's about all I have to say, guys.  I won't be speaking during the circle because I want that time to be yours and I am too filled with emotion to say anything worth hearing anyway.  Just know that I am proud of you and love you all dearly.  Now, let's go break legs!  Metaphorically speaking, of course.

With love,

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