Daily Archives: March 11, 2011

Today marks 40 years since my first Directing project in NYC…

On March 11, 1971, Systems Theatre (the group I originally started in Evanston, IL) did it’s first NYC production: Thomas Merton‘s ORIGINAL CHILD BOMB, which we presented at St. Clement’s Church in their downstairs theatre space.

St. Clement's Church, NYC

Upstairs at St. Clement’s was the famous American Place Theatre which was doing their last season at the church before moving to their new building, where they still perform. While we were doing our production, they were doing George Tabori‘s PINKVILLE, a play about Viet Nam. ORIGINAL CHILD BOMB was about the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the effect they had on people.

This was the first production I did with Edwin Roberts, a great composer (we have done several productions together… most recently the revival of our 1973 Opera for Children THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK) who turned sections of Merton’s amazing original into Gothic Chants. Choreography was done by my friend and dancer Claire Henry, who I had worked with at Northwestern.

The cast was eight people, many of whom I have lost contact with. Court Miller died of AIDS in 1983. Sheila Burns owns a bookstore in Ashland, Oregon.

Steve Schwartz is still in the theatre somewhere (we are connected as “friends” on Facebook). Jenna Holland (which was my ex-wife’s stage name) is retired in California. I wish I knew where Norman Parker was… back in the 80s I saw him on a couple of TV shows. I don’t know where Mardee Kravitt is, either. Last I heard she was doing television producing.

ORIGINAL CHILD BOMB received a very good review from Show Business, a local theatre weekly in NYC at the time. The theatre was small and it was full during the 4 performances we did. We were doing an Actors Equity showcase, which allowed us to use Union professionals for up to 8 performances without pay… we, however, could not charge for the show. So people got to see it for free.

Michael Douglas and the late Raul Julia were starring in PINKVILLE upstairs and they came to most of our shows. Michael told me it helped them get in the mood for their show.

I wish it had gotten more notice… I might have been picked up by Joe Papp or Ellen Stewart and built a really strong Directing career. As it was, I lasted in NY Theatre for another 3 or 4 years before I went into Arts Administration to earn a living.

But, on the 40th anniversary of this production, done long before the internet and with no record remaining except my memories of it, I’m feeling pretty old.

Here’s what Class War looks like – a Chart

I picked up a very good comparison of the amount of money Scott Walker and his allies in Wisconsin are ready to cut from the budget that effects middle class and union workers to the amount of money given away as tax breaks for the wealthy (reprinted from a Daily Kos post by greywolfe359):

On the left you have the “shared sacrifices” and “painful cuts” that the Republicans claim we must make to get our fiscal house in order. On the right, you can plainly see WHY these cuts are “necessary.” The reason? Because we already gave away all that money to America‘s wealthiest individuals and corporations.

This just mirrors what we’re seeing in Wisconsin, where Governor Walker (R-Koch) claims that ordinary public sector workers need to fork over at least $137 million to save the budget. Problem is, he just gave away $117 million in tax breaks for his corporate pals. This is out and out class warfare. The big corporations in America have decided that they can get even richer by raiding the public treasury. It’s time for the middle class to stand up and defend itself!

Greywolfe359 also gives us this music video for Unions standing up to the Wisconsin Class War:

Quote of the Day – an award for Scott Walker (via Under The LobsterScope)

"We probably should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year Award." — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, referring to Gov. Scott Walker   … Read More

via Under The LobsterScope

David Broder, Political Journalist and Pundit, Dies at 81

Sorry to see this in the Washington Post this morning, but David Broder has died of complications from diabetes in Arlington Virginia this past Wednesday. He was 81 and considered by many to be the Dean of Washington Political Journalists. His last column appeared on February 6th.

Broder’s career spanned 11 Presidential administrations and he appeared on Meet The Press more than any other journalist, a record which is not likely to be beaten soon. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his commentaries on the Nixon re-election.

Farewell David Broder.