Saturday, January 30, 2016
Rasul Damji Shares His Thoughts On Re-Inventing A Company - A Wise Business Leader Offers Pearls of Wisdom
My good friend, Rasul Damji, is a remarkably wise senior executive. He has recently completed the task of leading his company through a complex transformation - in effect reinventing the company to respond to changing market conditions and internal dynamics.
I recommend to you this thoughtful analysis of that process of reinvention. Rasul is currently evaluating new leadership opportunities as the C-Suite level. If, after reading about his latest leadership successes, you know of a company that could benefit from his brand of wise and ethical leadership, I will be happy to put you in contact with Rasu.
Review of "A More Beautiful Question" by Warren Berger - Sparking Breakthrough Ideas Through Inquiry
Using some excellent cases to illustrate principles, author Warren Berger discusses "The Power of Inquiry To Spark Breakthrough Ideas." He quotes liberally from such icons of innovation as Joichi Ito of the MIT Media Lab, David Kelly of IDEO, and Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School. My office is contained within a hub of innovation, the Cambridge Innovation Center ,on the campus of MIT, so I am always intrigued to learn new lessons about innovation and the things that may spark it.
One of the threads that weaves itself throughout this book is the fact that children are natural questioners. It is only as we grow older that we tend to squelch our innate propensity to ask questions in order to better understand ourselves and the world around us. In this book, Mr. Berger offers many examples of individuals and companies that he re-learned the art of asking great questions.
I was intrigued to learn that Edwin Land, the father of instant photography, was prompted to develop this technology when his young daughter innocently asked him why they had to wait to see a photograph that he had taken when they were on vacation as a family.
He makes specific suggestions, based on research done at the Right Question Institute, regarding how to frame appropriate questions at each stage of a process of exploration, discovery and innovation. One insight that stood out for me was the use of terminology that is useful in a group setting that disarms defensive posture on the part of those participating in the conversation. The form of the question that often provokes healthy discussion is to ask: "How might we . . . .?" He also describes the technique that has worked for many companies of replacing "brainstorming" with "question storming."
His final challenge which he poses in the final chapter of the book, is to ask how each individual might frame "a more beautiful question" that frames and sparks inquiry and endeavors to provide meaning and purpose for the rest of one's life. Inspiring!
Friday, January 29, 2016
I had an opportunity last week to watch an engaging and fascinating new play produced by Dutch Kills Theater Company at the performance space at 46 Walker Street in SoHo. "In Quietness" by Anna Moench and Directed by Danya Taymor takes a look at the role of woman in a traditional fundamentalist Christian culture. Set in a seminary in Texas, women who are married to aspiring pastors are indoctrinated into how to be the kind of supportive and submissive spouse and "help meet" that an over-literal interpretation of the Bible might lead one to believe that God expects from a godly woman. Ms. Moench treats this controversial subject with grace, adding layers of complexity in relationships that keep this play from straying too far into the territory of stereotype and polemics.
Paul (Blake DeLong) feels the call to ministry, but is trapped in a marriage to emotionally distant and career-obsessed Max (Kate MacCluggage). He strays into an affair with a woman. As the action of the play begins, that woman has been hit by a car and lies in a vegetative state in the hospital. Paul sits in front or her bed soliloquizing about his dilemmas in life. Despite his decision to continue studying for the ministry, he cannot let go of his love for this woman, and he holds vigil at her hospital bedside, both as the play opens and as it winds down. Meanwhile, Max reluctantly enrolls in the special course, taught by spinster Terri (Alley Scott), to learn to be a godly woman who supports her pastor husband "in quietness and full submission" (I Timothy 2:11)
|Blake DeLong as Paul|
"In Quietness" by Anna Moench
Dutch Kill Theater Company
Through January 30th
A fellow student in Terri's course is Beth (Lucy DeVito), who is struggling to be submissive to her abusive husband, Dusty (Rory Kulz). Each of the actors creates a believable character. The role of Dusty as written comes the closest to being one dimensional, for he appears only briefly to berate Beth. Beth is deeply conflicted, feeling a call to preach, but also believing that women are forbidden to fill that role. She compensates be prophetically challenging Paul to be more of a man. Ms. DeVito is a spitfire in this key role. As the conflicted Max, Ms. MacCluggage shows us a complicated woman torn between career, love for husband and resentment at his affair with a woman who lies in the hospital "in quietness." The playwright seems to be asking just how many ways a woman can be silenced. By an accident - an act of God - and by following an outmoded and misogynistic interpretation of Scripture. As Terri, Ms. Scott uses OCD-type gestures to paint a picture of a woman struggling to keep everything in perfect order, often pulling at the hem of her garment to make sure there are no wrinkles and that everything is just so. Mr. DeLong presents Paul as haunted by the dissonance between his call to ministry and the emptiness he has felt in his marriage to Max, and in his grieving for the other woman he has come to love.
|Kate MacCluggage as Max|
Blake DeLong as Paul
Alley Scott as Terri
Lucy DeVito as Beth
"In Quietness" by Anna Moench
Dutch Kill Theater Company
Through January 30th
Ms. Moench offers no easy answer, but does an excellent job in prompting the audience to ask difficult questions about faith, fundamentalism and the role of modern women in a church that is steeped in the past. Director Taymor keeps the pace of the action moving along briskly, and the set by Kristen Robinson, Costumes by Beth Goldenberg, Lighting by Masha Tsimring and Caitlin Smith Rapoport and Sound by Asa Wember all contribute to a very intriguing and satisfying evening at the theater.
The play must close this weekend, so hurry to get your tickets while they are still available.
Dutch Kills Theater Website
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Review of "Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow - The Book That Inspired The Broadway Musical "Hamilton"
I was inspired to read this book because of my strong interest in the Broadway musical "Hamilton." I knew that Lin Manuel Miranda had been prompted to think about the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton as he browsed the bookstore at JFK Airport prior to flying off to vacation in Mexico. So I decided to recapitulate that process and read the book before seeing the show on Broadway.
Mr. Chernow's style is clear and compelling. The enigmatic figure of Hamilton - orphaned bastard son of a Scotsman and a woman of low reputation in the Caribbean - becomes more comprehensible as the author explores the motivations and moods of the man who single-handedly invented the foundation of the present U.S. government Treasury Department. He was a strong defender of the fragile Constitution. and feuded famously with three of our Founding Fathers and Presidents: Jefferson, Madison and Adams. He made himself indispensible to George Washington, both during the Revolution and as the new government was being formed and the new country was being birthed.
His tragic early death in a duel with Vice-President Aaron Burr is one of the darkest chapters in the early history of our republic. Burr is quoted - in this book and in the musical - as saying "I should have realized that the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me."
This comprehensive biography fills in many holes that existed in my understanding of the early days of our country. It also caused me to see Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison in a different light, and to appreciate the strong role that the woman in Hamilton's life played, particularly Eliza, Angelica and Maria Reynolds.
I am giving away copies of this book to friends who are fellow fans of Hamilton - the man and the musical.
Director Paul Daigneault steers the bus with a steady hand in this Boston premiere of the musical tale of a young woman whose disfiguring scar defines her life - until it does not. Violet (Alison McCartan) journeys by Greyhound bus from North Carolina to Oklahoma to visit a healing preacher (John F. King) to beg for a miracle to remove the scar from her face. But her real journey is an interior one as she comes to see herself in new ways as she interacts with passengers on the bus who treat her with grace and affection, something for which she has thirsted since a wayward ax head changed her looks and her life. Two soldiers, one black and one white, develop strong ties with her that she has a hard time understanding and accepting. Flick (Dan Belnavis) clearly is drawn to Violet, but she initially seems more at ease with his white buddy Monty (Nile Scott Hawver).
As Violet makes the trek from the east to the the heartland, the musical styles that Composer Jeanine Tesori emulates follow the geography: folk, country, R&B, and Gospel. Ms. Tesori places her musical fingerprints on each genre, and the resulting score is a gorgeous compilation that tells the story of Violet's pilgrimage within herself. Musical Director Matthew Stern leads seven musicians whose virtuosity and blend are a highlight of this production.
Ultimately, Violet learns that what needs healing is not her face, but her heart and spirit and outlook on herself and on life. The cast has been well chosen, and boasts some excellent actors and singers.
- Dan Belnavis as Flick has a voice that makes one's soul rumble. His solo "Let It Sing" allows him to pull out all the stops on his vocal instrument. But his acting is as effective as his singing, and his character's willingness to absorb racial slurs and inadvertent slights from Violet allow him eventually to forge a strong bond with her that is surprising and ennobling.
- Nile Scott Hawver as Monty does an excellent job of keeping us guessing about his true motives. Does he come to really care for Violet, or is he just using her as the latest in a string of "love 'em and leave 'em" one night stands? His solo "Last Time I Came To Memphis" offers up some clues about his past encounters.
- John F. King is the Preacher and several other characters. He walks a fine tightrope between creating a believable charismatic preacher/snake oil salesman and a caricature of a televangelist. His is a wonderfully understated and very effective portrayal.
- Kathy St. George portrays an Old Lady as well as a Hotel Hooker. Her characters are so finely drawn and so compelling that she almost steals the show. She is that good. Her comic timing and versatility reminded me of the luminous Andrea Martin.
- Carolyn Saxon is a bus passenger and the soloist in the soaring Gospel anthem "Raise Me Up." She brought us to church!
- Michael Mendiola is excellent as Violet's widowed father, struggling to raise his daughter and deal with the guilt of having literally scarred her for life. He has his moment to shine vocally in his song "That's What I Could Do."
- Audree Hedequist is Young Violet. This gifted young lady holds her own in her singing alongside actors who have several decades of performing under their belts. She and the older Violet often appear on stage together, offering the audience a dual perspective on Violet's thoughts and feelings at several stages of her life.
- Alison McCartan as Violet takes the audience on an emotional journey. She begins as a "shrinking violet," hiding her scar and her shame behind a cascading curtain of brunette hair. By the end of the journey of self-discovery, as she sheds self-loathing and replaces it with acceptance of herself and her new soul mates, the Violet is now in full bloom. It is a powerful performance by this actor who previously blew us away in "Bad Jews." This is a very different role, and she inhabits it with pathos and with grace. Her rendition of "Look At Me" encapsulates major themes of this compelling story.
- Rounding out this terrific ensemble cast are Tyla Collier, Patrick Greeley, and Stephen Markarian.
|Dan Belnavis as Flick|
Alison McCartan as Violet
Nile Scott Hawver as Monty
SpeakEasy Stage Company
Through February 6th
Photo by Glenn Parry Photography
|Background - Cast members as bus passengers|
Far Right - Alison McCartan as Violet
Kathy St. George as Old Woman
SpeakEasy Stage Company
Through February 6th
Photo by Glenn Parry Photograph
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Until last week had never attended a NextDoor Theater show, but I really had been looking forward to catching "The Light In The Piazza." At the last minute, my guest, who was also to be my ride to Winchester from the bowels of Central Square, had to cancel. So, I combined the wonders of MBTA Commuter Rail and Uber to find 40 Cross Street in Winchester (FYI - Cross Street also encompasses Woburn, and that 40 Cross Street is not very close to the theater!) My trek to Winchester was more than justified by a delightful production of this multiple Tony Award winning musical.
I learned that NextDoor Theater has deep roots in this community. Artistic Director Brian Milauskas is a lifelong resident of the town. He wanted to give his home town a place where art could serve to build a sense of community.
"The Light In The Piazza" is set in the 1950s, primarily in Florence, Tuscany. Mother Margaret Johnson (Lynn Shane) and her daughter Clara (Caitlyn Oenbrink) are vacationing in Italy, leaving behind Roy (Tom Richardson), the head of the family who is left in North Carolina to run the family cigarette business. While father is home in Ike's USA tending to the tobacco, things begin to smolder for mother and daughter when charming Fabrizio (Serge Clivio) set his sights on lovely Clara when the meet in the piazza after a fortuitous gust of wind has lifted Clara's hat off of her head and Fabrizio chases after it and retrieves it for her. Now it is time for him to chase after Clara, with whom he is instantly smitten. Mother is not pleased that a spark of potential romance seems to have been struck, and she does everything she can to extinguish that spark before it bursts into flame. But Fabrizio is persistent and keeps finding ways to put himself in the trajectory of the Johnson's meanderings through the Academy, the Uffizi, the Duomo and other iconic Florence tourist haunts.
Things get complicated when we learn that as a result of a pony riding accident when she was twelve, Clara suffered head injuries that have left her not quite right - "special," as her mother euphemistically proclaims. Fabrizio is smitten with her anyway, as is his family - Father (Paul Soper), Mother (Karen Fanale), Brother Giuseppe (Alexander Stravinski), Giuseppe's combative wife Franca (Katie O'Reilly). Rounding out the cast are Margaret Felice as Tour Guide and Dan Prior as Priest.
Written in operatic style, much of the story is told in recitative fashion - some sung and some spoken - by Margaret. Ms. Shane shoulders much of the burden of carrying forward the arc of the story of Clara's accident and subsequent deficiencies. Margaret's sheltering of Clara becomes cloying and annoying. The Naccarelli family would like to see the young lovers wed, but the Johnsons are opposed - with Mr. Johnson weighing in by long distance phone calls from America. Those conversations reveal that all is not right with the Johnson's marriage.
Whenever Clara wants to see Fabrizio or talk about him, Margaret in vain tries to steer the conversation to safer waters: "Look how the light in the piazza dazzles." The concept of light becomes a metaphor for Margaret and Clara each beginning to see many things in a new light. Margaret begins to consider that Clara may be capable of marriage, and that her own marriage is not all sunshine. She is susceptible to the chaste kiss of Mr. Naccarelli that fans a flame in her that had long been smoldering for lack of marital oxygen or spark.
In casting these performers, Director Adam Schuler clearly placed a premium on finding actors with wonderful singing voices. Backed up by a fine five-piece band led by the always effective and professional Music Director Dan Rodriguez, the cast delivers strong vocal performances from beginning to end. Ms. Shane was strong in carrying off the main role, and Mr. Soper mesmerized the audience with his strong operatic voice. The two of them shine in the duet "Let's Walk."
As Clara, Ms. Oenbrink pulls off the difficult task of being vulnerable and innocent yet strong enough finally to stand up to her mother and insist on making her own choices. Her song "The Light In The Piazza" is a highlight.
For this story to hold the attention and emotions of the audience, the chemistry between Clara and Fabrizio must be present and palpable. In this case, the spark is there. As Fabrizio, Serge Clivio not only brings fine vocal technique to his songs ("Il Mondo Era Vuoto" and "Passeggiata" are early examples), but he distinguishes himself by the quality of his acting as he sings and woos Clara. He is young, naive, insecure, hesitant, but at the same time charmingly persistent and winsome. I am sure that every female in the audience was hoping that the wind might blow their hat into his path. Mr. Clivio used his hesitant gait, posture, halting broken English phrases, gestures, facial expressions and his penetrating eyes to paint a nuanced picture of an Italian teenager hell bent on winning his principessa, not matter what it would take.
|Serge Clivio portrays Fabrizio|
"The Light In The Piazza"
Through January 30th
Photo by Rishi Basu
This production will run through January 30th.
The Nextdoor Theater Company presents
THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA
Book by Craig Lucas
Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel
Directed by Adam Schuler
Music directed by Dan Rodriguez
Lighting design by Michael Wonson
January 15th to 30th
Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm
Sunday, January 24th @ 2pm
Followed by a talk back with the cast
Thursday, January 28th @ 8:00pm
Nextdoor Theater Website
Monday, January 18, 2016
Lyric Stage Company of Boston Presents "Sondheim On Sondheim" - The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts
I came on Sunday to the Lyric Stage Company of Boston with high expectations about "Sondheim On Sondheim." My hopes were sky high for two main reasons: I love the music of Stephen Sondheim, and the Lyric almost always delivers on its promise of great productions. I expected to be enchanted by a revue of songs from shows that Sondheim has written or contributed to, including a few new ones that had been cut from the Broadway shows. I got much more than I had bargained for. The whole was indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
In a show conceived by the brilliant Sondheim collaborator James Lapine and Directed masterfully by the Lyric's Producing Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos, each of the songs presented had been carefully lifted out of its original show and narrative context. And then that sang was lovingly reinserted into a narrative that included projected images of Sondheim commenting upon his own life, his creative process and the influences that impacted how he developed as an artist. The resulting effect, if I may borrow a metaphor from "Sunday In The Park With George," was that each song added a brush stroke, a fleck of color, to the finishing of the hat that has been Sondheim's remarkable career. I had arrived expecting to be entertained. I walked away having been deeply touched and profoundly moved.
Choreography and Musical Staging by Ilyse Robbins, Scenic Design by David Towlun, Costumes by Gail Astrid Buckley, Lighting by Chris Huacs, Projections by Seaghan McKay and Sound by Andrew Duncan Will all added to the magic of this show.
Building upon Sondheim's compositions were Orchestrations by Michael Starobin and Arrangements by David Loud, with Music Director Jonathan Goldberg leading a live seven-piece orchestra that captured every nuance of Sondheim's sometimes eccentric rhythms, lush harmonies and scintillating tensions. Mr. Veloudos cast eight of Boston's finest voices and actors to add their person albrush strokes to the Sondheim portrait that was being painted before our ours.
- Leigh Barrett stood out in "Losing My Mind" and "Buddy's Eyes" from "Merrily We Roll Along."
- Mala Bhattacharya's gorgeous soprano voice soared in "Take Me To The World" from "Evening Primrose."
- Maritza Bostic reminded us of why she leaped into the first rank of Boston performers as Little Red Riding Hood in the Lyric's memorable "Into The Woods." She offered up a brief snippet from that show, and then anchored several of the ensemble numbers with her vibrant voice and irrepressible energy.
- Christopher Chew reached back for his "Sweeney Todd" with the haunting "Epiphany" from that gruesome tale.
- Aimee Doherty was her usual gorgeous and vivacious self, having fun in the seldom heard "Ah, But Underneath" from "Follies." She and Ms. Barrett dished up a heart-rending medley of "Losing My Mind" from "Follies" and "Not A Day Goes By" from "Merrily We Roll Along."
- Davron S. Monroe stood out in his solo contribution to "Being Alive" from "Company."
- Sam Simahk's lilting tenor was shimmering in "Multitudes of Amy," a song that was cut from "Company." He showed his dramatic range in the angry rant of "Franklin Shepherd, Inc." from "Merrily We Roll Along."
- Patrick Varner was strong throughout, presenting a dashing and menacing John Wilkes Booth in "Gun Song" from "Assassins."
As impressive as were the solo numbers, it was the ensemble pieces that I can still hear reverberating in my brain. The blend of the voices finding just the right Sondheim sound was so pure that it often gave me chills and brought me to the point of tears. Particularly moving were the lush harmonies of "Sunday" in closing Act One. Another ensemble highlight was "Children Will Listen" from "Into The Woods," made even more poignant that usual, for it came on the heels of Sondheim having recounted a particularly hurtful thing that his mother had said to him.
This production not only finishes the hat, it puts a feather in it and waves it in a deep bow of homage to the theater god who is Stephen Sondheim. If you love Sondheim, you will not want to miss this show. If you are new to his complex musical wizardry, this would be a wonderful introduction to his world and to his art.
Huntington Theatre Company Presents Pulitzer Prize Winner "Disgraced" by Ayad Akhtar - The First MUST SEE Play of 2016
I had seen the Broadway production of "Disgraced", and was intrigued to see how Huntington Theatre Company would adapt this controversial Pulitzer Prize winning play to its stage. Under the brilliant direction of Gordon Edelstein, this current production stands on its own in terms of delivering the punches to the gut and challenges to the brain that were intended by the immensely talented playwright Ayad Akhtar.
As I often do when I enter a theater, I scrutinize the set for clues of what I might expect when the action commences. As is always the case with Huntington productions, Lee Savage's Set Design beautifully evokes the home of an affluent couple on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. An important feature of the set is a large and prominent painting that hangs on the wall of Amir and Emily's apartment. During the fade to black between scenes, the painting is lighted with slightly different hues and intensity of illumination, subtly saying to the viewer: "As this play develops, you will never look at Islam or at these characters in the same light again."
In like manner, through a brilliant collaboration among Playwright, Director and Set Designer, the back wall of the apartment features a large porcelain elephant with gold tusks. Even before a word is spoken, we are foretold to expect that the action of the play may include "an elephant in the room" being addressed. We can expect that someone's tusks will be used for attacking, defending - or both.
Costumes by Ilona Somogyi help to establish the time of the action and the personalities of the five characters. The Lighting Design of Eric Southern is worthy of special note, for its complexity and subtlety illuminate an important motif in this play. Early in the first act, Emily and Isaac are having an intense conversation about her view of Islamic art. She encourages him to someday visit a certain gallery in the Tate Museum. She says something along the lines of: "You will never look at art in the same way again." In other words, she is hinting that he will see things in a new light. The motif repeats in a different key.
The play treats multiple layers of issues, but at the heart of the matter is the unresolved conflict within the soul of Amir regarding his Muslim Pakistani heritage and his current role as a successful and sophisticated New York attorney in a Jewish law firm. He has rejected his faith on intellectual and cultural grounds, and as the narrative of the play develops, he finds himself not only in conflict with himself and his unresolved dissonances, but in conflict with, and torn asunder from, every other character in the play. As several layers of "Disgrace" descend upon him - due to his own actions and prompted by misinterpretations of the part of others of his actions - we see him slowly crumble, then erupt in rage, and then finally, pause to look at himself - and at a painting of himself - as if for the first time.
This is a difficult play to "enjoy," for it raises thorny issues, and Mr. Akhtar refuses to let us off the hook by resolving those tensions. He demonstrates not only a very profound understanding of how to tell a compelling story, but he also displays moral courage in tossing into the boiling cauldron of conflict among the characters complex problems that are not easily resolved. As is often the case with great art, this play forces the sentient audience member to struggle to know just what to think and how to feel as the play reaches its denouement. For in the end, it is not only Amir who suffers disgrace, but Emily, Abe, Isaac and Jory each taste some form of personal, marital or professional disgrace.
Mr. Akhtar was present for a Talk Back session after the performance ended. His thoughtful answers to a variety of questions served to solidify him in my mind as an artist who is not only well read and broadly educated, but also keenly observant of the human condition. He is also transparently self-aware. I was moved to immediately log into my Amazon account and purchase several of his other works.
Rajesh Bose as Amir, Nicole Lowrance as Emily
Shirine Babb as Jory, Benim Foster as Isaac
Huntington Theatre Company
In addition to the technical brilliance of the creative team mentioned above, the cast of five actors each distinguish themselves in their respective roles.
- Rajesh Bose as Amir, the disgraced attorney whose world is crumbling around him.
- Nicole Lowrance as his wife Emily, striving to mark her mark as an artist.
- Mohit Gautam as Abe, Amir's nephew. He is struggling with his own identity issues.
- Benim Foster as Issac, an art dealer who is helping to advance Emily's career.
- Shirine Babb as Jory, Isaac's wife and Amir's colleague and rival at the law firm.
Huntington Theatre Website
Friday, January 15, 2016
Imaginary Beasts Presents "Winter Panto 2016 - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" - A Mid-Winter Delight With A Twist!
There are several things that I perennially look forward to each winter to get me through the grey days and slushy streets of Boston: The Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker, Legal Seafood Clam Chowder, skating on the Frog Pond, The Red Sox equipment truck heading for Florida, and the Imaginary Beasts annual Winter Panto.
This year's edition of Winter Panto takes the familiar tale of Dorothy and Toto and their trip to the Emerald City and adds some delightful twists to go along with the Kansas twister that lands Dorothy, Toto and Auntie Em in Oz.
As is always the case with these annual Panto celebrations, Director Matthew Woods has written a script that incorporates elements of the original story with real time cultural and political commentary spiced with songs from the Great American Songbook. I laughed out loud when one character promised to "make Kansas great again." That comment Trumped almost every other clever quip. There was also a real time reference to the Red Line delays in shuttling people from Kendall Square to Park Street. Mr. Matthew's concept gives ample room for each member of the very fine ensemble cast to vamp and improvise so that their characters sparkle.
Audience participation is always de rigeur for these affairs, so we were always ready with a heart "boo, hiss, boo," whenever the Wicked Witch would appear and threaten mayhem on the assembled travellers or denizens of Oz. This play is a bit of a mashup from all of L. Frank Baum's Oz books, so we have the addition of Scraps, the Patchwork Girl of Oz and The Nome King complicating the shenanigans. They are welcome additions to the usual menagerie of Yellow Brick Road pilgrims.
As is always the case with an Imaginary Beast Panto, there is a seamless blending of clever writing, playful set and costume design, imaginative puppetry, helpful sound and lighting, and infectious joy flowing from the cast to the audience. There is a mutual love affair with vibrant storytelling shared between the artists and the audience members.
If Dr. Chase were to write a prescription for preventing or curing a case of the Winter Blues, it would be to prescribe a healthy dose of Winter Panto. You have until January 30th to get that prescription filled.
Here are the cast and creatives behind this delightful production:
- Matthew Woods - Director, Writer and Conceptual Artist as well as The Wicked Witch of the West
- Cotton Talbot-Minkin - Costumes
- Christopher Bocchiaro - Lighting and Set Design
- Michael Chodos - Tin Man
- Mikey DiLoreto - The Winged Monkey
- Sarah Gazdowicz - Dorothy Gale
- Molly Kimmerling - Scraps
- Amy Meyer - Scarecrow
- Bob Mussett - Royal Historian of Oz
- Beth Pearson - The Wicked Witch of the East
- Joey C. Pelletier - Auntie Em
- Kiki Samko - Glinda, the Good Witch
- Libby Schap - Nome King
- William Schuller - Toto
- Noah Simes - Captain of the Winkie Guard
- Michael Underhill - Yellow Brick Road
Monday, January 04, 2016
Review of "Chief of Staff" by Tyler Parris - The Strategic Partner Who Will Revolutionize Your Organization
In writing "Chief of Staff," Tyler Parris has filled an enormous hole that has existed in terms of practical information about the role of Chief of Staff in the business world. The book is a Must Read for any senior executive currently using a Chief of Staff, anyone who is considering creating such a role in their organization, and anyone working in this role. It is a very pragmatic and well written overview of the role and of the many permutations of the role that exist today;
I few years ago some clients of my consulting and coaching practice began asking for my help in optimizing their existing Chief of Staff roles. As I began to search for information about best practices, I learned that here was little useful that had been written about the Chief of Staff role in the business world. So, I took the anecdotal information that I had amassed and wrote a White Paper entitled "Chief of Staff - A Force Multiplier."
Blog piece with White Paper update
In his preparation for writing this book, Mr. Parris discovered my White Paper, read it and was gracious enough to interview me. He has wisely taken his own personal experience serving as a Chief of Staff and supplemented that knowledge with deep research and scores of interviews. The resulting book is a comprehensive look at this often misunderstood role. The author examines the history of the role, the kinds of individuals who best fill the role, deliverables, best practices, and much more, Each chapter concludes with a short workbook section to prompt personal reflection and growth.
I have already ordered several copies of this book to pass along to senior executives and Chiefs of Staff with whom I am working.