I was relieved when my brother called me the next day. “How’d it go?” He asked on Tuesday about the Petalwink: The Musical Song and Dance Showcase held on Monday.
I used all the superlatives he expected (so rarely does he get an answer about how anything in my life experience is mediocre: “It was the WORST!” “It was the BEST!” and naturally, the Showcase was “The BEST!!” It really was, though). He then empathized with me about how it feels to be going 8,000 mph on a creative project with a cast and then be suddenly done. We talked about how much restraint it takes to not stalk the cast and how most moments are filled with self-doubt: Why aren’t they texting me about how much they miss me and the project? What are they doing that they can’t just pick up the phone?
It’s a strange feeling to feel so full and happy and at the same time like I’ve been hit with a wall (not that I hit a wall…but the wall hunted me down and slammed into me). To feel like I gave everything, but didn’t give nearly enough. To feel like I could have done so much better, but I did my best. To feel the culmination of something wonderful, but know it’s just the beginning.
On Memorial Day at 3:00 and 7:00, Davis Black Box on Principia College Campus (thank you Prin and Department of Theatre and Dance for your hospitality and support!) in tiny, quaint Elsah, IL was brimming with heart-pounding, inspiring music, while characters who had before nestled only in my imagination and on paper were coming to life in full, three-D color. More than a staged reading (’cause why would we do something so expected, routine, or normal? Or…sigh…simple?), the scenes were deftly directed (thank you, Trish Brown), beautifully choreographed (thank you, Kelly Nichols), and included fabulous live underscoring along with big rich musical tracks and clever lyrics (thank you, Deborah Hurwitz). My ever-remarkable husband (Whit, is there no limit to your talent, dedication, and endurance??) ran the sound with the brilliant Darin Pierce (thank you, Darin!). Our videographer did more than video and snap photos, she helped with lights, staging, strike and more (thank you, Piper Hillman!) and our lighting board guy came on board with just 3 days to go and blended right in perfectly (thank you, Aean McMullin!). We are grateful to Leah McFall and Denisse Scholz Luzio for helping with costume concepts. And I still cherish the story of how this project got rolling: Jennifer Ragan Kelly and Jason Whicker contacted us and saw what the show might be. Our generous supporters–donors to our “cause” have been indispensable. We had a packed house, and their tears, laughter and cheers will echo happily in my memory forever (thank you, friends and family!).
My heart is owned by the precious cast members (past and present), however, above all. Weddings (“Petalwink”‘s for example!), work, life-after-college, summer plans, international travel, and family time were all put on hold so they could participate on a volunteer basis in the two-week workshop (and several others over the past year) that led to the Showcase. They were tireless, unselfish, joyful, hilarious, hard-working, generous, and on top of that: talented.
The first question everyone asks is, “What next?” Great question! Next I will finish the script (the book), Deborah will finish the music and lyrics and we will continue looking for next partners, for those who have a vision as big as ours for this tiny fairy. My benediction for what we’ve done so far and my prayer for going forward are the same: Thank you.
The Cast of PtM Showcase gestures to Composer/Lyricist Deborah Hurwitz during their last curtain call. Photo courtesy of Piper Hillman.
We are still needing and gratefully receiving donations that will enable us to put together a production package! We are just getting started. If this is a project that resonates with you, get more info and please donate here.