Monday, September 24, 2007
Fairy Tales Can Come True - They can Happen to You...
if you're young at heart..... (I'm partial to the Jimmy Durante version of this song).
Jimmy doesn't really have anything to do with what I want to talk about today except that he, too, never let anything get in the way of his dream of becoming a great entertainer (let's face it -- he was no Caruso).
I went to the theater Saturday night here in Manhattan. It was at one of those little theaters all in one building on West 42nd street, between Dyer and 9th Avenues.
Beforehand a bunch of us had dinner at Chez Josephine, next door.
The occasion was the New York premiere of the musical version of Albert Innaurato's "Gemini" which had been a hit B'way comedy in the late 70's-early 80's.
Albert, unbeknownst to a lot of us, had met up with my former college roommate, Charlie Gilbert, somwhere along the way and the two of them began to think of ways to musicalize the show.
Charlie is a world-class composer/musician and is on the faculty of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
Charlie was a prodigy when I met him. He was a college junior at the age of 18 and I was an old man of 24 (and a freshman). We shared digs at a house in blue-collar suburbia for a year before he finished his undergrad degree and went off to Carnegie-Mellon to garner a masters. We nicknamed the place "Toad Hall" because the yard was lousy with all these little tree toads.
Charlie knew more about more different kinds of music than anyone I'd ever met. During the two years I lived in Toad Hall I was exposed to classical, jazz, opera, operetta, musical theater, rock and R&B. About the only kind of music none of us had a taste for was country, but I think that was simply because none of us had ever been exposed to it.
Anyway, we all went our ways, keeping in touch now and then, over the years. Charlie married a lovely woman he'd met in grad school whom we all adored. They produced two beautiful kids, now both fully grown and striking out on their own.
But the real point is that Charlie never lost sight of what he wanted out of life.
I could never compete with Charlie in terms of talent. The man has it, in spades. But he also had a vision... a dream. And those are two things I should've had, that I never learned how to get.
I never cease to be amazed at people who can make plans and then carry through with them. People who have a vision. People who have a dream.
I spent a part of yesterday feeling a little sorry for myself over what I perceive to be all my lost opportunities in life.
I don't begrudge anything to Charlie. God knows, he's worked hard over the years ... and to the best of my knowledge, he's enjoyed every minute of it (I worked hard too, and was miserable most of the time).
One of the gifts of being an ACOA is that life often seems like a slog rather than an adventure, and more a source of annoyance than of joy.
P.S. The show was wonderful, and I know a thing or two about musical theater. I would love to see it come back to Broadway in a full-blown production that runs for years.