Happy Endings

JIMMY STEWART in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

I grew up in a World of Happy Endings!
I remember watching Movies on television.
Television was relatively new.
And that did not seem at the time like something that would date me the way typing that sentence does now.
As the movie ended and LASSIE came home,
Or ANNA and the KING of SIAM Danced, and she stayed to take care of his Children,
Or ROCK HUDSON and DORIS DAY worked out their relationship,
Or JUDY GARLAND and MICKEY ROONEY got their show up and it was a Success…
I remember how MOM would sigh a sigh of greatest satisfaction and say something like, “All Right. See? Everything worked out all right!,”
Usually followed by “OK, time for bed now,”
as we were often allowed to stay up late to watch the end of the Movie.

Now, I go to sleep with news reports like the dropping of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
I do not sleep well anymore — like most Americans that I know.
I am longing to hear MOM’s satisfied sigh
“All Right. See? Everything worked out all right!,”
And I notice that Happy Endings are not so readily available.
LA LA LAND… Not for me.
And when people say, ‘Oh, but they did end up Happy. They each realized their dream and they held a special place in one another’s Lives,”
I say, “That is Ordinary!
That is what we are already Living .
What we aspire to — that is what the Arts are for!”
ASPIRE!
REACH HIGHER!
Let us be Inspired — that word, meaning literally, to Take in Air!
Take my Breath Away, that I might Breathe Again — filling my lungs with Fresh Clean Oxygen, given us by every Green Living Thing on this Planet!
Teach Us how it can be!
Even if we don’t reach it in our LifeTime, allow us for a few hours — even for a moment — to See, to Feel, what it Can Be!

Give me ARRIVAL — take a Risk and against all odds; Find a way to Peace!
Give me HIDDEN FIGURES and Help me to see the possibilities of Accomplishment in a time period in which such things seemed un-doable, and Happen Anyway!
Give me the Glorious ending of CINEMA PARADISIO!
Give me Triumph!
Give me True Love!
Give me what I am here to Learn!

Back when I saw HAIRSPRAY for the first time, years ago at its Broadway Premiere, I explained to my Office Colleagues why I Loved it So Much!
Redemption!
For me, a Musical, a Show, a Movie… a Story must have REDEMPTION!
That’s what I am going for!
That is why I am there!
Here is my Acid Test for a Play or Movie:
“I am giving you two hours of my Life! Change Me!”
And if you change me for the Better, I like it even More!

A few days later, a Colleague asked me, rather casually, “ARNIE, have you seen JUNO?”
“Not yet,” I replied.
“Well, I think you’re gonna’ like it!” he told me. “It’s got a lot of that Redemptive Shit in it that you like so much!”

The World is in a troubled place, at the moment.
So many of us have felt the tremors — to our Very Foundations!
But as Artists, we Reach Beyond,
Elevate,
Extend,
Dream Bigger,
Make Waves,
Invite New Possibilities,
And See More than just what’s in front of us!

My Heart Aches for this new Generation coming forward in a World As Is,
And mistakenly thinking that that is how it has to be.
The World is not a Factory Second.
The World is a Launching Pad for your Dreams!
The World is So Many People Beyond yourself who need precisely what it is that You have to Offer!
The World is a Pot of Boiling Eggs with Vinegar and You are the Color!
The World is a Blank Canvas and You are the Vision!
The World is a Pile of FireWorks on a Summer Night and You are the Flame that ignites it!
The World is a Piano and You are the Musician!
We have no need for you to create the World as it is! We know that already!
We need You to show us how Everything works out All Right!
We need you to help us Find a way to Peace!
We need You for the World as it Could Be!

Somehow, we have a plethora of Art right now reflecting back to us what we are.
This has Value.
And this has Merit.
But this is not what I’m in it for!

BARBARA STANWYCK in STELLA DALLAS

As RAFIKI says in THE LION KING, “Look Harder!”
Find within you what you have to Show Us…
What you have to Teach Us…
Help us to see what it is about you for which the World has waited Centuries!
Let us Celebrate your Arrival!
And in this brief time we have together,
Show Us what to do Next!

If a Happy Ending does not seem realistic enough to you right now,
Then you are not looking beyond what has already been handed to you!
Life is a Collaborative Process!
It is not for you to reflect back that which we already have.
It is yours to Create for us that which we most need!

Bring it!
It is what you came to do!

# # #

Abbondanza

Abundant BeautyABUNDANCE
What does it mean to you?

One need look no further than The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans, NEAL GABLER’s profound expose’ of current economics in America, in this month’s THE ATLANTIC to see the sobering realities of economics for Most of Us.
As the byline reads, “Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. I’m one of them.”

Earnings are low. Debt is high. The shame of financial impotence is rampant.
I am as subject to these realities as any other person who has spent their life working in American Theater since America’s 200th Birthday.
But these actualities and the harshness of their toll do not define me.
As GABLER says in his article, “We don’t make [the choices that define who we are] with our financial well-being in mind… We make them with our lives in mind. The alternative is to be another person.”

But I choose to be the person that I am.
(more…)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

On this Fourth of July Weekend, Let us Celebrate

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

Flag238 Years Ago Today we declared our Freedom from the Tyrannical Government of GEORGE III.
We submitted our Facts to a Candid World:
(It is worth the few minutes it would take to Re-Read that DECLARATION)
The Declaration of Independence
Hmmm… They sure sound like familiar issues. (more…)