Community

CommunityIt has always been one of my Favorite Things!
People Coming Together!
I was a Theater Geek in High School — I think mainly because of the way people came together toward one Goal.
And it was tangible — the momentum of a Group of People
To Create a Show…
To Create a Country…
To Create some Vision of the World…

Lately, I find myself immersed in Community!
And Deeply Moved by its Power!
The Brahman!
The Expanse of one Soul!

On the Office Front…

I just moved Offices last week,
And a Wonderful Group of Assistants, Friends, Current and Former Interns all came together to help! It was a Joyful Experience of Community!

For the past Nine Years I have been in a Wonderful Situation,
Renting my Office Space from an Existing Theater Company.
Every one I met was Such a Delightful Soul!
And over time, not the physical space, but these people,
Became my Home.

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The New Office

In my new office — not even in there a month yet —
And I just Love the People!
My new Community!
I am not an isolationist.
I Love when there’s other people around!
I thrive in Community!
And I am So Grateful for this Crazy Industry and all the Amazing People in it!

On the Work Front…

Recently, I completed a Huge Work Project:
Casting for a Big Broadway Musical which is going to WorkShop.
What JOY to see So Many Actors I have Loved and in whom I have Believed for So Many Years!
What a Delight to meet Such Talented New People!
And whether it was the Dance Calls, the CallBacks, or just waiting in the Hallway for their appointments, people were so Wonderful to one another — so respectful of one another.
It was a flourishing garden of moments such as one actor not having brought a guitar, and another actor in the waiting area jumping up and saying, “Here! Take Mine!”
Community in Action!

On the Personal Front…

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At our 20th Anniversary Wedding Party

My Partner DAMON and I got married a few weeks ago — on our Twentieth Anniversary!
How FULL Of JOY!
We had a small private ceremony at our Church,
Surrounded by Friends and Immediate Family… Our Small Community, in our Small But Powerful Little Church!

Today when People are So Spread Out all over the World,
It is such a Treat to have Friends and Family Together!
The Online and Virtual Communities are quite a Joy-Filled Miracle,
And they have the potential to be such a Blessing in our Lives!
But there is nothing like a Hug!
Or, better yet, a Whole Lotta’ Hugs!

YES!
HUG!
HUG PEOPLE!
HUG Those You Love!
HUG Without reserve!
HUG Those Closest to You!
HUG Your Enemies — Go Ahead! Freak ‘em Out a Little Bit!
HUG Your Lover!
HUG Your Children!
HUG the Elderly!
HUG People of Every Color and Creed and Height and Age and Gender and Anyone who is Willing to HUG!
HUG Everyone!

And while there is much I could write about our Wedding,
There was one extraordinary moment of Community which I would like to share with you:

Early on in our relationship, I took my partner with me to the Broadway Opening of the Hal Prince Musical, PARADE. When the extraordinary actress, CAROLEE CARMELLO, sang the final duet, my Partner took my hand and whispered, “Some Day she’ll sing that at our Wedding!” Tony-nominated for her performance, CAROLEE went on to become one of our Biggest and Brightest Broadway Musical Theater Stars. Back then, of course, two men couldn’t even get legally married in this country!
Now, twenty years later… So much Progress!

During the service, after one of the Readings, I got up and told the story of DAMON, and his Dreaming of this. I then went on to say that Show Business was the kind of profession, like others, I’d imagine, which requires great sacrifice not only on one’s own part, but on the part of one’s partner — and that I could not have the career that I have if it were not for his willingness to stand by me and to make so many sacrifices! I mentioned that show business is tough and that there isn’t much money in it. “But there is Magic, and there are Miracles, and sometimes, all it takes is one Amazing Woman being Willing to say, ‘YES!’ Please join me in welcoming CAROLEE CARMELLO!”

DAMON was completely Surprised and burst into tears.
Many of those present wept for the Joy of watching an impossible Dream Come True.
Community!
CAROLEE and I belong to the Community of Show Business, and her sublime act of Generosity was the sort of Kindness which helps humanity thrive! How extraordinary that a Broadway Star of her Magnitude would agree to sing as such a meaningful surprise to a man she had never even met!
And thus she created a most treasured memory for both of us, for our Lives, and for everyone present!

Our friend JASON recorded the moment with his phone and posted it on YouTube:

“No man is an island…”
CAROLEE was in rehearsal that day for a WorkShop directed by GRACIELA DANIELE, and GRAZIE (to those of us who know and Love her) had to agree to let CAROLEE out of rehearsal to do it. If you know anything about WorkShop schedules, you know that every moment is precious, and this too was a great sacrifice.
But being another Phenomenal Woman, she too, said, “YES!”

On the Tragic Front…

Community!

GRAZIE and I worked together most recently on a large scale Musical which I cast last year.

Sousatzka

The other day, I received the tragic news that a young actor named TEVYN HILL whom I cast as the understudy to the lead in that Musical had passed away of a terminal illness — he had kept his health situation private.
I had discovered him at the Oklahoma City University ShowCase, and cast him within a year out of school.
What a bright and promising talent!
I have heard from several Cast Members, been touched by several posts in social media, and reconnected with the Creative Team of the Show.
I even heard from the head of his Training Program who reached out to Thank Me for all that I did for him in his brief Life, and we comforted one another on this deep and tragic loss.
Community.
People coming together!

Here is TEVYN’s Reel”

And here he is a bit earlier, singing a song that would come to have profound meaning for this Young Man:

On the Political Front…

Perhaps you’ve seen this…
PAULA DUNCAN, a Juror on the PAUL MANAFORT Case, was interviewed by ANDERSON COOPER, recently. She is a tRUMP Supporter who was able to put aside her Political Beliefs, as she felt the evidence clearly showed that MANAFORT was guilty on all 18 counts.
I am troubled by so many things about Donald tRUMP, but most of all by his Divisiveness and so many of his policies being antithetical to the Power of Community.
But this interesting woman, a tRUMP Supporter, spoke in favor of Kindness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=ojGUrKdmgLU

(Please feel free to begin at 5:18 — it is the last minute that is the most powerful part!)

Perhaps we have all had enough of tRUMP’s divisiveness!
Perhaps it is time for a new Definition of Community!

On the Literary Front (including The Beatles)…

The American Heritage Dictionary offers many definitions, among them:

Community, n. — (kə-mynĭ-tē) 1. Sharing, participation, and fellowship: a sense of community. 2. Society as a whole; the public; 3. A group of organisms interacting with one another and with the environment in a specific region.

For myself, I would add something more to that:
In my experience,
Community is a Group of People who work together in Love and Respect toward the common good, coming together for the betterment of the World and in Celebration of the Beauty of Life!

I am Blessed to be surrounded by and immersed in all of the Magic and Wonder of Community in every area of my Life!
I appreciate the Miracle of it!
The touch of another person’s hand!
A Smile!
An Encouraging Word!
Eye Contact!
Just being with one another!
Sharing an Understanding beyond Words.
Believing in Something Together!
Seeing the possibility of a Better World in the eyes of a Likeminded Soul!
Coming Together
And Creating Some Vision of the World!

Find Community!
Find Others with whom we can work toward our Common Good!
Reach Out!
Come Together! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45cYwDMibGo

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1 Comment

  1. YES! and YES! and YES! Thank you, Arnold, for filling us with joy and hope in what only seems a dark time but is, in fact, just another challenge.

    Reply

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