The Tempest

A well deserved week off after The Tempest!  I'm so proud of what we were able to accomplish, shadow puppets, giant silks beautifully choreographed and flowing into several different positions, communicating complex ideas across 3 separate fully staffed companies that all had stake in the product... and all with only two days of tech!  We only had 5 hours of focus time scheduled, so I made sure to concentrate my budget on moving lights. 10 High End Intellaspot XT-1 gave me the ability to spend less time focusing on my feet and more time getting a variety of looks during programming time.

The preparation was intense, and of course a few things fell through the cracks in all the complexity, but it is a true testament to the tenacity of theatre that we ran the gauntlet and crafted this delightful little gem.

Grounded takes off!

First shows in new places always come with a learning curve.  Virginia Stage Company bravely producing George Brant's Grounded was a lovely first splash for me into the Hampton Road's theatre scene.  The Wells Theatre is a Paramount/Majestic style theatre, beautiful carved statuary and elegance all around.  A peak under the hood shows a real down to earth friendliness in it's staff and a lot of sweat and tears over the years. I can't be more thankful of this opportunity, with this glorious script, the amazing Kate MacCluggage, and the uber smart creative team with Laley Lippard directing. By opening night, I'd probably seen the show at least 15 times and Kate simply devastated me. I didn't even know I still had that much more to give around this piece.  If you haven't seen it, go today.  If you can't, then read the script. Laley wisely describes it as the definitive war poem of our time.  I couldn't agree more. Grounded should be taught in civics classes all over the nation.  It should be a part of our reflection as Americans, reflection by us of us, part of how we see ourselves on the world stage and part of how we hold each other up in pride and compassion.

get your tickets!

Opening Night and Beyond

First blog post, I thought it fitting to re-post from FB my great thanks to all those I've learned from over the years:


So many tears this morning! It’s hard to find the right words of gratitude, respect and deep love for all the people I’ve worked with the last 24 years. A big part of me doesn’t even want to make a goodbye-to-Austin post.. I just want to sit with my rose colored glasses and believe that nothing will change. That I’ll still fly in to do shows and find myself sitting on porches drinking with friends and toasting this amazing journey we’ve all embraced. That can’t help but to change now and all the love I have for my theatre family just reminds me of how much I’ve learned over so many years. It’s a funny thing to start a career at 17 years old and then hitting 41, look back over it. So many deep roots grown, growing pains learned and frankly.. the shaping of my very being. Theatre gave me my freakishly amazing wife Michelle Fowler-Amato (and thereby my daughter) and put me on a road of learning, joy and humility that I hadn’t even conceived. I’ve always loved Theatre for how we use our stories, our message, our vision to truly shape the world around us. I hope that if I do my job right, I can change people’s minds, create more acceptance in society and increase our common joy. But, what I didn’t know is that all those things would happen to me too. I’ve learned so much from you all. So many amazing, talented, thoughtful collaborators over the years putting up with my brazen style, I will truly miss you and dearly hope this isn’t goodbye.

Robert Whyburn taught me light. Bonnie Cullum taught me fierceness and sight. Dave Steakley taught me about the big picture. Sally Jacques taught me about love and compassion. Robert Faires taught me that when critiquing, I must not forget the ultimate goal of making things better. Susan Branch Towne tried to teach me how to be flexible with style. Shannon Richey put up with a young overly passionate me and still credits me for teaching her when I have so much more to learn from her. Ann Ciccolellataught me how to balance an impossible number of obstacles and still get what you want. Ann Marie Gordon taught me how to sit in a bubble of vision.Michael Raiford is still trying to teach me elegance and style and what it means to take what I’ve learned and try something new. Patrick W Anthony,Brian Scott DavisZach Murphy and CJ Swinburn taught me that I keep work close to my heart and find the best of friends sitting right there with me. Much love to Melinda ParrMonica KurtzTina Pixie AventJen Rogers andTalena Martinez and so many more.

And the actors, singers, dancers.. the cast of our wonderful ship of fools, driven by fate and a need to make things better and shine while doing it. I’ve always pined that designers don’t get more access to that awesome big-hearted backstage love. We flit in and out and hand you the keys to our hearts, without you it would all be for naught. I’ll miss you all terribly.