Who are people that mean the most to you in your life?
How did you meet them?***
***The answer to this might mean more than you think.
The Flowers I Met On My Detour
Since 2012, this picture has been taped to my fridge:
Who are these two guys and where did I find them?
Jerold Goldstein, to my left. My tough-love, hard-core musical theatre director when I was 13 years old, a family friend (well, basically just plain old family) since then, my parents rock and anchor when I was in a coma, and now, the director and raison d’etre of my one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful.
To my right, Mr. William Finn. My mentor from afar since the day I discovered his Tony-Award winning musical, Falsettos at 15 years old.
I was obsessed with Mr. Finn’ eccentric lyric choices and infectious musical compositions, that I mailed him a 12-page analytical essay that touched on every note of his Broadway musical’s score.
A month later, Mr. William Finn himself called me while I was practicing ballet in my basement on a Saturday night.
(Yes, I was a pretty dorky 15-year-old.)
He said, “I don’t usually do this, but I was really touched by your letter.”
Musical Theatre Dorky Teen’s Dreams: MADE.
Then, my coma ensues and…well, you’ll have to see Gutless & Grateful to hear all the crazy details, but long story short, he came to my high school graduation, which happened to be held in the middle of the surgical ICU.
I’ll share a little excerpt from my upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour:
“So here I was receiving my high school diploma in the middle of the ICU, and in attendance were my parents, my headmaster, my six best friends, and William Finn.”
After seeing it, he was so impressed that he asked me to perform my show as part of his “Mr. Finn’s Cabaret Series” at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA the next year.
And of course…Jerold was there too!
A Very Musical Detour
Let’s just say, that as a 15-year old Broadway-Obsessed Theatre Ham – (a “BOTH?”) this was never the way I would have anticipated meeting the mentor of my musical dreams!
But that’s the nature of a detour, right?
Life never goes as we expect, but we CAN expect lots of unexpected paths and detours. It’s the twists, turns and difficulties in your path that can transform you and your journey. Those fears, hardships and detours are what makes you human and…YOU.
More importantly, those detours can bring amazing people into your life…
Without this detour in my life, I’d be missing the precious relationships that have made me who I am:
- Jerold and I would not be working together on a musical about a near-death crisis that he watched me and my family go through.
3. And I am pretty sure that Mr. Bill Finn wouldn’t have such a compelling reason to go to my high school graduation.
And another “Flower” from My Detour…Mr. Broadway Himself!
4. And bonus person, for all of you musical theatre fans – I definitely would not have met my musical theatre obsession/crush, the amazing Seth Rudetsky, or get to perform a song by Mr. Finn himself and chat about the crazy journey that this detour has led me on.
(It’s a pretty funny interview – listen to Seth Speaks here!)
Recounting this whole crazy ride to Seth on a Broadway Sirius Radio Channel I’ve idolized as a musical theatre dork made me stop in my tracks, take a deep breath, and exhale a major sigh of gratitude.
The Unexpected Road…Is Quite Musical
This wasn’t a road I expected...and I’m still pissed I never got to play Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway… (Never say never…? Hey any casting agents reading my blog…)
The Power of Sharing Our Detours
That’s why we share our stories. We share our “detours” instead of running from them. We share to cheer each other on in our journeys. We share to encourage our fellow Detourists to reach that beautiful clearing – perhaps a different one than they planned for themselves, but perhaps an even more beautiful sight to see.
What The Flowers On Our Detour Teacher Us
We meet all different types of flowers on our detours. Some…aren’t so nice.
But there are four different kinds of beautiful flowers I’ve met along the way.
1.) The familiar flower that takes on a new role in your life. (Jerold)
2.)The quirky flower you admire from afar but never expect to get as close to. (Bill Finn)
3.) The flower you discover in person unexpectedly and with much giddy joy. (Seth Rudetsky)
4.) And…the flower that steals your heart. (My husband, of course!)
Which ones have you met?
So, thanks Bill Finn. You showed me that with some humor, determination and a good old musical theatre vamp, anything is possible!!!
Here’s the story of how I met Bill Finn, in my show, Gutless & Grateful…and the sound cues didn’t work…fake it till ya make it 🙂
(On a side note, the opening number of his Tony-Award Winning Musical Falsettos is a hilarious upbeat number: “Four Jews in a Room Bitching.” That title pretty much sums up what my family must have been like all living together in the ICU while I was in a coma for months…but that’s another story.)
(Actually – it’s the story of my new full-length drama, IMPRINTS!)
Okay, but that’s really another – Huffington Post – story.)
Who are your flowers?
Today, think about any “detour” in your life. Think of ONE person that you met, just because of that detour.
Today, thank that person, who you never would have met, had your path been straightforward and simple.
Thank them. They are the flower on your detour.
Sign up for more ways to find the “flowers” on your detour…
Bonus Section for Theatre Geeks Like Me:
- Singing Bill Finn’s song Infinite Joy for my dad’s 60th Birthday
- Singing “I’d Rather Be Sailing” By William Finn in Gutless and Grateful
- How Theatre Saved My Life (Backstage)
- A One-Woman Musical Doesn’t Make You Invincible and 26 Other Lessons from 27 Surgeries
- Drama as a Lifeline in Transforming Trauma
- Forever Gutless, Forever Grateful
- A song I sang as a 15 year old musical theatre dork, The Sweetest Sounds
See where I’m performing GUTLESS AND GRATEFUL NEXT!