HAL

HAL PRINCE
January 30, 1928 – July 31, 2019

HAL PRINCE and me at the Opening of CANDIDE

I was HAL PRINCE’s Casting Director for the better part of a decade.
We worked together on his revival of SHOW BOAT from its inception throughout its many productions all around the world. Our production of SHOW BOAT premiered at the North York Performing Arts Center in Toronto 26 years ago. I also worked with HAL on the most recent Broadway Revival of CANDIDE, as well as KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and PARADE.

This year alone, we have found ourselves saying goodbye to countless theater luminaries, including DIAHNN CARROLL, CAROL CHANNING, ANDREW ZERMAN, KAYE BALLARD, PHYLLIS NEWMAN, VALERIE HARPER, BILL ESPER, DORIS DAY, E. KATHERINE KERR, KATHERINE HELMOND, MARTIN CHARNIN, MAX WRIGHT, ALAN WASSER, ALVIN EPSTEIN, ERIC LAJUAN SUMMERS, TONI MORRISON, RIP TORN, GLORIA VANDERBILT, ANN CRUMB, TIM CONWAY, GEORGIA ENGEL, LUKE PERRY, ARTIE GAFFIN, MARION MCCLINTON, KYLE RENICK, RON LEIBMAN, RENE AUBERJONOIS, and So Many Others… But even among so many shattering losses to our Community this year, this one stands out.

HAL PRINCE died on July 31st at the age of 91. There will be a Celebration of his Life at the Majestic Theater next Monday December 16th.
I have never known a professional life without him in it, and the loss to the theater community is perhaps the most profound imaginable.

You see, (more…)

Season of Thanks!

The Feast!Do you have one of those perfectly set Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Tables?
I do not.
My Holidays in general are perfectly imperfect!
They are messy. They require a lot of cleaning and washing of dishes. They’re a lot of work.
And they’re always worth it!
Our culture nowadays promotes convenience, and sells us the idea that convenience can be purchased — and to some degree that may be true.
But it is at a much higher cost than it may appear — if we buy too much into the idea that convenience without any mess is possible, we miss the Heart of it all.
And we set up a false expectation that the result is more important than the process.

(more…)

It’s not too late.

Summer technically does not end for two more weeks — Autumn begins on Monday September 23rd this year! That’s a Full Two More Weeks!
And while the summer Harvest is beginning to wane, and Autumn’s apples are coming in. You can still find Blueberries… Pluots… Heirloom tomatoes!
Large crops of fresh local Tomatoes, ripe and red! Not from warehouses where they’ve been gassed for color. …Fresh!
Beautiful, Robust, Tasty, and Delicious!
There’s even a few peaches here and there… They might be done sometime this week….
But it ain’t over!
What can you do with that?
What can you make?
What can you Create, just one more time…
See the possibility!
Waste not the golden hours in grudging they’re going! But rather, celebrate what is here!
Savor what is Now!
One of my very favorite meals is Heirloom Tomato Watermelon Salad! (more…)

RANDOM KINDNESS AND SENSELESS ACTS OF BEAUTY

Do you know this Ted Talk?

 

It’s by SHAWN ACHOR. And while it would be difficult to say that any one TED TALK is my favorite of all time– this one is certainly up there!

I encourage you to watch it!

SHAWN — an advocate of Positive Psychology — recommends five actions, which when practiced every day for three weeks will help us to a more positive mindset and happiness: (more…)

PRIDE 2019: The 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF STONEWALL

Last Year’s Pride Parade

Today is World Pride Day.
We Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the STONEWALL Riot,
Widely considered to be the Birth of the Gay Rights Movement.

1969.
What a fervent time!
The Civil Rights Movement was in Full Swing!
The Women’s Movement was in Full Swing.
And another Marginalized Group — Gay People — now got their turn. (more…)

AMAZING GRACE

Amazing Grace
By Arnold J. Mungioli

I wake up a Crazy Wretch,
Tortured by all that I haven’t achieved,
Insane with perceived lack…
My Inner Critics reveling at a tea party on my head,
Full ground-length lace tablecloth and tea china, perfectly set.
Finger sandwiches of So Many Varieties
Cucumber and Self-Deprecation
Comparings and Clotted Cream
Watercress with No Self Esteem and a sprinkling of “How Dare You” Salt
I wake up choking on a mouthful of these Tiny Sandwiches
Grateful that it’s only High Tea,
And not their Holiday Grand Buffet.

I am awash in my own UnWorthiness.
Lost
Blind
Fearful
UnBelieving.
Now,
Here,
The Sun Shines in my window,
As if God is looking in, (more…)

ReBirth 2019

Easter
PassOver
Season of ReBirth!

I do So Love the Celebrations of Springtime —
Not just the Holidays but every bud and bloom.
I Love how things begin to Open Up!
And Open to the Ever Increasing Bright Light of Day!
And Open…
Open…
Open…

Coloring Easter Eggs with the Kids!
…for the Kids!
Well, Both!
(more…)

Messier Than Usual

20190212_135243

Step Forward. It’s Messy!

As folks mostly know, this is Messy March!
Oh, I realize we are nearly a week into April!
And Celebrating Messy March in April… isn’t That Messy!???

Messy March is a Season I celebrate, and it is not literally the 31 Days of March, so much as it is a state of Permission to Make Mistakes, Try Stuff, Take a Risk, and Make a Mess.
I celebrate Messy March every year, and the timing is always So Perfect! It seems to show up just when it’s needed Most!

Not satisfied with where things are?
Take a Risk!
Make a Mess!
Boldly Dare!
Rarely do we risk everything and witness every next step of our Journey going smoothly.
When we brazenly risk, we shake things up!
And the first step of an improvement or a change of course can often be Mess
The Possibility for something new begins at the end of our Comfort Zone!
It’s the stuff we need to do that we don’t know how to do that will lead us to the next phase of our Journey.
And here we are
In the Messy Middle!
In the April of Messy March!
This March has been So Messy that I haven’t even had time to publish this post until Now!
My friend RICK, whom you may have read about in previous Messy March Posts  and who was the Inspiration for this Season’s Creation, has been equally swamped and it looks like we shall be celebrating this year’s Messy March sometime later this month!
And we invite You to do the same! (more…)

He Would Have Loved It! [A Narrative Essay]

The Bob Fosse Postage Stamp

He Would Have Loved It!
By Arnold J. Mungioli

Arnold J. Mungioli is the Casting Director of Broadway’s Tony-Award-Winning Best Musical, Fosse, among a variety of other projects over the last two decades. He is still working as a Casting Director, Speaker, Writer, Teacher, and LifeCoach today.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the show’s opening on Broadway.

[n.b.: Pictures included throughout are mostly of the Dancers, from the hallways after the first Toronto Workshop and the party following the second. Needless to say Actors Equity does not allow us to take photos during the performance.]

On Sunday August 9th, 1998, the Musical, FOSSE opened for its first commercial run in Toronto. Dancing like this had not been seen on stage for at least a decade, and it was magnificent — the very best of show business! A Gala Party followed.
On Monday morning, August 10th, I arrived at my office as usual, only to be greeted by RCMP Officers in the lobby, guns drawn. (more…)

Christmas Card 2018

For those who know me, my Christmas Card arriving in February is somewhat of a tradition — well, February might even be a bit early!
Christmastime itself is a time to be fully present. I enjoy this time of year with my partner and with my big Italian Family from all parts of the globe, as well as friends in different locations.
We still decorate our home in a way that requires several days to put up and several days to take down, and of course, we celebrate all Twelve Days of Christmas.
Somewhere in that experience, I will invariably experience some spark to my Soul of something I would like to share with everyone!
This year, I was stricken by the possibility of angels. Not as occurring in a separate time and place, or long ago, but amidst and amongst the physical realities of simple family gatherings and amongst time together with friends.
And so, (more…)