Paramount School of the Arts was live at 5 p.m. on Facebook last evening for Master Class Mondays! With Director of Education and Community Engagement Shannon Cameron, yours truly got to talk about directing and other topics addressing the interests of a good group of attendees. The hour flew by and there are more than a few embarrassing moments of self indulgence and forgetfulness (couldn’t for the life of me name William Ball’s book title: A Sense of Direction or heaven help me, Chagall!). There are many subjects we never got to touch on – but what did pervade the proceedings was the importance of the collective at work in making theater – how it is more than any individual’s singular vision. Collaboration is what drives our work. The atmosphere of openness in which everyone is free to personalize their creative input, seeing themselves in the process of discovering the outcome – is what makes what we do meaningful and relevant to our creatives, our community and our audience. It’s no one-man show. (Especially considering all the women contributors!)

Now isn’t this a coincidence: I just went over to our website at looking for any updates to report and there is the most eloquent, heartfelt and beautifully written letter from President and CEO, Tim Rater for Volunteer Appreciation Week! Lo and behold, he’s saying pretty much the same thing – Paramount’s success is all about teamwork! Tim has led us into a company culture of serving and giving back to our community. To be going into Season 10 with him and all the varied possibilities and responsibilities of what that means ahead, is the promise of an inspired, uplifting and stellar return to Paramount for all of us. Check out his letter of appreciation to our volunteer ushers who are truly the face of Paramount Theatre. With them, our theater feels more like home!

What an event it will eventually be when we can all be together!

While we’re apart, I’m valuing screen time zooming from face to face and visited with a group of students last week attending University of Houston. Colleague Rachel Bush (from my Pioneer Theatre in Utah days playing Amos in Chicago) has a Stage Management class that was interested in picking this artistic director’s brain – we had a very lively conversation for a good 90 minutes. I shared my indebtedness to the unsung heroes of theater production; an excellent Stage Manager is everything! Prepared, organized, precise, empathic, insightful, notating the rehearsal process, maintaining the director’s and designer’s and cast’s work and directing the understudy rehearsals and emergency put-ins – they also navigate the scene shifts, transitions, moving set pieces in the rehearsal hall which are then transferred to the stage under their leadership. Yes. They sound god-like because they are! A very special calling it is – and one that most patrons do not appreciate as they watch the lights dance and the orchestras soar and the actors enter – while none of it happens without the Stage Manager making the calls!

Singer-songwriters! Do look into this week’s episode of Connection: A Social Media Concert with submissions due by midnight tomorrow for Saturday night at 8 p.m.’s media drop!

What an event it will eventually be when we can all be together!

Love & thanks,