Saturday, December 31, 2016

Top Ten Events of 2016

Obligatory "Hamilton" sidewalk selfie.
There are those who have suggested that 2016 is the worst year in recent memory. They are generally referring to the deaths of numerous pop culture figures from the 1980s and the election of Donald J. Trump.

My father died this year. In fact, two of my great friends from my youth, their fathers also died this year. Everything else can go hang, it has been a year of personal mourning, it’s all subjective, ask the children Aleppo how this year has gone. Kind of puts the death of the inventor of the Red Solo Cup in perspective.

Every year sucks. Every year is amazing. Here is my entirely subjective top ten list (in chronological order) of the most amazingly awesome things that happened to me this year, and only a few of the incredible people with whom they happened.

  1. I Hate This (a play without the baby): This one-night-only, 15th anniversary performance, directed by Chennelle Bryant-Harris, was an eye-opening rediscovery of a work I thought I knew, and I got to share it with a wonderful audience.
  2. Cleveland Marathon: Chris Fornadel and I survived the CLE Half Marathon through an absurd, freak mid-May snowstorm. Could not have done that without this hilarious running partner, but that was crazy.
  3. Last Frontier Theater Conference: Playwright Kevin Armento was an inspiring and encouraging lead panelist for my new script. Also glad I got to see a performance of his Good Men Wanted at the conference, his personal philosophy of writing is one I can get behind.
  4. Cavs Victory Parade.
    The Chosen One.
  5. Twelfth Night (As Told By Malvolio): Celebrating the First Folio in Cleveland, I adapted and directed a 45-minute version of Twelfth Night with some of my very favorite young actors, which we toured to Cleveland public libraries around the city.
  6. Saw fucking Hamilton.
  7. Cleveland Playwrights Festival: Playwrights Local presented a script-in-hand workshop of my new work, The Way I Danced With You, directed by Melissa T. Crum, who, with Chennelle, has been instrumental in my development of this script. Response was very positive and the entire weekend of events was an instructive experience.
  8. Tony Kushner & Sarah Vowell: This Think Forum event, ostensibly an open discussion about the life of Abraham Lincoln, the evening was a bleak, hilarious and ultimately reassuring post-election balm.
  9. Reception: My wife and I began holding a salon of arts and ideas at our home late in the year, and we seem to have discovered a wonderful coven of brilliant hopeful minds.
  10. 28th Annual Great Lakes Theater A Christmas Carol Writing Contest: Always a delight and an honor to help shepherd this contest for Cleveland middle school students, this year’s winners all felt particularly poignant, their interpretation by performers from GLT's production A Christmas Carol delightful. Have you listened to the broadcast yet?
He judges my blogging.
This list only mentions a few people and barely scratches the surface of the productions, festivals, parties, personal moments, journeys, concerts, school, neighborhood and campaign events, and all the details which make up a year well-spent.

There was so much pain in 2016, from the very first day (when I have have to admit I was terribly hungover) to this day. Well, not today, actually, today has been pretty calm and relaxing. 

I hope you have also been blessed with good times this past year, walking between the raindrops (as they say) and wish you great and wonderful things in 2017.

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