Dear reader,  I’ve just returned to my desk from starting my day sitting in on this morning’s Jesus Christ Superstar rehearsal attending a skype conference with our dramaturg in NYC, excellent, Roger Ellis. Quite an exquisite distinction was made between those who follow Jesus and his message of salvation and redemption as the Son of God, and those, like Judas, who follow him as a political revolutionary and rebel leader. It got me thinking about how the same distinction is seen in those who govern among us today. Those who divide and conquer. How you’re either in or you’re out. With us or against us. Winner or loser. And on the other hand, there are those leaders who are inclusive, empathetic, true to serving and answering to the voice of the people and their needs. There are those who make government a higher office.

Yesterday, I received a lengthy message from a friend who is very supportive of Paramount’s work and very protective of us. He was taken aback and concerned about what he perceived as an ill-advised marketing ploy in a post announcing the end of our season with JCS opening in three weeks and that “we saved the best for last.” What disappointed him was the idea that we could be perceived as invalidating our past work. Thanking him for feeling so strongly about all our productions, I assured him that what is meant by that phrase is this: our best show is the one we’re working on. We are always trying to do better, making our current work our best work. We are always learning, developing, having grown and been changed by what we have achieved up to this point. Personally, I never feel the same after a show has closed, changed forever by it. It is simply a way of saying we are always bringing you our best.

No doubt someone in marketing has heard me enthuse over how “Superstar” may well eclipse anything we’ve ever done because of its importance and significance. To join leading the charge for artistic diversity, equality and resonating the relevance of this rock opera with the times we live in, is a big deal. Producing it with an all-African American cast is a big deal. And it shouldn’t be. That is why it is being done. Creating opportunity for our artists is why it is being done. Creating opportunity for our audience is why it is being done. And along with it, yes, I’m afraid it is provocative politically and socially none the less. To deny that “times, they are a changin’” is to deny life itself. I’m going to risk preaching a bit here, but even in death, we are changing, transforming as our souls move on. Let’s open some hearts and minds. Being open to change is being open to life. Or as Jesus put it: “Everlasting Life.”

Love & thanks,