EMACT DASH Gala 2011 – The Postscript

As I sit down to write this it is 1:30 AM. I am exhausted and should be crashed out on my bed. But I can’t go just yet. I have a need to put into words a few things.

Awards are not for everyone. I get that. Truth be told, they’re not really for me. (Full disclosure: I say that having won some over the years. Had I not, I might have a different take.) But awards are not why I volunteered for this gig two years ago, nor why I have volunteered for another two year stint going forward. For all the time is consumes, for all the stress it causes me, for all the times I want to just tell the whole program to go screw itself, I can’t shake the fact that a night like tonight makes it all worth it.

I have a lot of “thank you”‘s to dish out. Some obvious, some not.

Thank you to Sal Jones and his crew, (Marlon, Doug, Mary, Jen, Becca) for running the front-end and keeping the food and drinks flowing. I meant what I said in my speech tonight, it truly is the one part of the job I want *no part of* and it’s a great relief knowing you’re there taking care of it for me.

Thank you to Celia Couture, Suzanne Spezzano and Alissa Palange, the Three Amigoettes. The show itself runs so smoothly and that is thanks to you ladies. Most people don’t realize (or maybe they do, if they watch me wandering around all night doing nothing), but I don’t do a damn thing during the actual show besides get in the way. Instead I let smart people do the hard work. Love you gals!

Thanks to Bruce Pennypacker, Heather Gay and Larry Segel for setting up and running the lights. Thanks to Jimmy Wlodyka for his never-ending supply of equipment for doing likewise with sound (and for constantly telling me what he COULD do without telling me he CAN’T do). Again, jobs I couldn’t do even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to. It pays to know people who are smarter than you.

Thanks to Jean MacFarland for running a ticket ordering process that was so tight that there wasn’t a mistake in sight. Another job I want NO part of and she pulled it off. Tis a shame she couldn’t be there this time to enjoy the event. We missed ya, honey.

Thanks to Sue Harrington and Kristin Hughes (with an assist from Janet Schmiege Ferguson) for working the door and making sure I didn’t have to deal with any angry people who didn’t have tickets or didn’t like where they were sitting. Also thanks for sticking around and helping to clean up the mess we all made. And for the Ziplock bags, Sue.

Thanks to Shana Dirik and Jim Ansart for doing a MAGNIFICENT job emceeing tonight’s big event. The opening number killed me and rammed home the fact that I chose just the right creative duo to take on this massive gig. Thanks also to Jim for keeping the crowd in line when they threatened to destroy the time honored tradition of the “single clap method”.

Thanks to Gina Naggar for popping in and being the accompanist for Jim and Shana. Yet another theater friend who I don’t know as well as I should, but who I know I can rely on. It’s important to have reservoir of good people at your disposal.

Thanks to Curt Fennell for the Tweeting and to his lovely wife Rachel for being “Cue-Card Girl” (as well as being EMACT President).

Thanks to Dan Minkinnen for coming in at the relative last minute and taking the photos. (We’ll get them online at some point, folks.)

Thanks to Chris and Dennis at Cary Hall for being a breeze to work with and never making us feel like we were a nuisance by being in their building all night.

Thanks to Monica Bruno for handling all the money so efficiently for us and for roping her husband and son into helping clean up the colossal mess afterwards.

Thanks to the many members of the DASH Consultant team for all the work they put in this year to make this night even possible. Without you, there IS no DASH Program.

Thanks to my many friends, old and new, who were in attendance tonight and kept my spirits up all night long with well timed words of encouragement. It’s good to have peeps that care about you.

Thanks to the Lexington Fireman who got stuck working another boring detail only to tell us after the fact that he was impressed how friendly we all were because he’s used to being ignored and was shocked that all these people went out of their way to talk to him. Theater people are awesome!

Thanks to the fathers and mothers of all the youth actors who were nominated tonight and came in support of their kid’s dreams. It’s a great feeling to be able to tell a parent how talented their child is and see the pride in their eyes.

Thanks to Julia Talbot, the little girl who won a Best Youth Actor award for the way she began to walk so slowly towards the stage because the shock of winning had rendered her almost unable to move, but then kicked into a dead sprint to get up on stage when it finally hit her what had just happened. I have never worn a bigger smile than the moment I saw her realize she’d won.

Thanks to Bobby Imperato, Nick Raponi, Ken Vining, Nathan Fogg, and all the fine people from Winthrop (too many to mention) who I have never worked with personally (either as individuals or as a group) and yet who are always so friendly and welcoming and somehow manage to make me feel like an old friend even though I hardly know them.

Thanks to all the Best Musical nominees for putting on such amazing performances. Musicals is such a broad category and it was never more evident than tonight, when we had so many diverse styles on display. For such a thrown together event, you all came with your A-game and there were times I came out of my seat I was so blown away by what I saw. It was a true reminder of why I love theater, because there is an electricity in the room that you don’t get in a movie theater.

Thanks to Mark Usher for making this gig desirable to begin with.

Thanks to the many lovely ladies who showed up dressed in their revealing best. Oh, that’s right. I said it. You were throwin’ the sexy around tonight and I ain’t ashamed to point it out. (The dudes looked okay too.)

Thanks to Kurt Lusas (who I don’t really know) for admitting to me he was nervous right before the show started because he was up for an award. It *should* get the butterflies hopping and it was especially delicious for me because I knew when I wished him luck that he was only moments away from winning.

Thanks to the myriad of strangers who stopped me throughout the night to congratulate me on the event. I can’t take the credit, but again, it kept me going when my body was begging me to just curl up in a ball somewhere.

Thanks to the gang at Enter Stage Left Theater for coming out to celebrate their many nominations. One of the joys of this job is the chance to visit out-of-the-way theaters that aren’t part of the main EMACT “circle” and see the incredible work they do. I’m glad groups like this exist and that they’re part of the DASH program. They push me to be better.

Thanks to Samantha Brior-Jones for making me feel short.

Thanks to David Allen Prescott, for seemingly accepting the awards for all the groups that are outside of the 495 belt because they weren’t able to attend. And thanks for having the bravery to say, “my accompanist got sick at the last minute, the CD they gave me only plays for 45 seconds before cutting off, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just do it acapella.” And then knocking it out of the park.

Thanks to Lovely Hoffman for giving me chills with her singing.

Thanks to the cast of “42nd Street” for banging out that tap dance number. That was crazy fun.

Thanks to Julia Fiske the folks from Emerson Umbrella for coming out en masse and bringing wicked energy with them. Ditto for the Winthrop Playmakers. Nothing beats a big cast celebrating a group-earned success.

Thanks to Marc Capizzi for finally winning (and twice!). Looks like you’ll have to give up the “Susan Lucci of EMACT” crown.

Thanks to JulieAnn Govang for agreeing to come. I know she’s not a big fan of awards, but it still made me feel good to see such a good friend rewarded for her hard work. She may not get on stage as often as she likes, but at least tonight showed that when she does, she does it well.

Thanks to the waitress at Chili’s for bringing me the biggest, coldest glass of water I ever had, just like I asked.

Thanks to Barbara Douglass for the sticky red lipstick kiss. And congrats on the award, Princess.

Thanks to Jay Newlon for being the snazziest dresser I know.

Thanks to all the other individuals who I may have forgot. Like I said, it’s late (2:30 now). An event this massive doesn’t get pulled off this smoothly without a BOATLOAD of people stepping up and pitching in. Even if that means something as simple as putting a smile on my face tonight for no real reason other than you could.

Thanks to all of the participating groups for putting on such an amazing year of community theater and making a night like tonight not just possible but necessary.

Thanks to everyone who attended tonight’s event and who cheered when they were supposed to, clapped when they were supposed to (and sometimes when they weren’t) and who in every conceivable way made this night so special. In about 24 hours most of us will have forgotten who won what, but we won’t forget the fun we had tonight or the fun we had these past 12 months by putting on shows and giving ourselves into this passion we call theater. If there is a more eclectic, more interesting, or more fun group of people out there, I’d like to meet them, because I’d stack my friends (and for tonight you were all my friends, because I don’t invite just *anybody* to my parties) up against anybody.

Finally, thanks to Fish for getting me into this acting thing all those years ago. It gave my life purpose and for that I am eternally grateful.

See you in 2012, ya’ll. I’m outta here.

Peace and love,


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