Last night’s deadly terrorist attack in Manchester, England ripped through the hearts of all of us witnessing the evening news last night. A horrible end to the day and start of this one with the deaths tolled and the mounting stories of grieving loss and injury. 

It’s hard to know what to make of going on here. The devastating suffering saddens so deeply. Compassion, sorrow, and incredulity rage and eclipse everything. If we let it. 

Last week was a cause for so much humble thanks. While in Chicago for a Goodman Theatre gala Saturday night, celebrated actor Billy Porter, with several members of his family, made his way the following day to Paramount’s Jesus Christ Superstar ​on Sunday. Mr. Porter is the Tony Award and Grammy winning star of Kinky Boots, originator of the role of “Lola” and a concert and recording artist of the highest order. Billy is friend to Superstar’s director/choreographer Ron Kellum, and our “Judas,” Mykal Kilgore. His surprise visit was in addition to another just a few days earlier on Wednesday. At the request of none other than the show’s multi-Tony Award and Grammy winning composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, his daughter, Imogen, a celebrity in her own right, arrived and attended the evening performance after lunching with Tim Rater, Amber Mak, Ron Kellum, and myself. (Me, gobsmacked and star-struck). Imogen and Billy went on to graciously greet the cast after the show on their respective stays with us, and as you can imagine, our actors could barely contain themselves, many awed to tears by their being here for them! Lots of hugs and selfies ensued! 

Yesterday started out so thrillingly and productive attending the callback auditions for Elf with director/choreographer Amber Mak, casting director Trent Stork and associate music director/assistant conductor Kory Danielson at the keyboard. As combinations of actors played the principal scenes, laughter filled the room and hearts opened up as Broadway-sized voices raised the roof. Camaraderie, admiration and support is shared here as we all feel such a strong sense of community and friendship.

The talent and artistry of these actors yesterday, and those in our cast of Superstar, inspire so much love and hope. The value of which is so desperately needed right now. Be well, my friends.

Love & thanks,