Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Accomplished Artists Are Students

When we’re young and starting out in the arts, we acknowledge that we don’t know everything, that mentors are a godsend and that constant learning is a part of becoming the best actor, director, musician, technician, dancer or singer we can be. As skills (and accolades) increase, however, artists sometimes can lose site of those truths. We stop learning, fear competition and don't take the time to help others starting out.

I was encouraged last week at the Drama League Awards in New York to discover that some very accomplished and honored persons in the theater have not forgotten the importance of gleaning from those with whom they work.

Bartlett Sher, honored for excellence in directing (see list of winners below), spoke of a teacher who had influenced him, said that he and his cast and crew had learned a lot from each other and that “everything is passed on.” Patrick Stewart, star of Macbeth, was cited for serving as the team’s leader who poured into his fellow cast members. All the young actors in the production “want to be him and work with him again,” we were told.

Distinguished Performer winner Patti LuPone honored those who had helped make her performance possible:
Gypsy director Arthur Laurents as a director who allowed the cast to reinvent something that “wasn’t broke”
•the producers for their boldness in restaging a musical that had just been on Broadway five years ago
•the other actors for their ensemble skills

“I’m still a student, “LuPone said, “…awed by what I see on a stage.”

Somehow I think it’s that teachable spirit that allows Ms. LuPone and others like her to reach new heights in their ability to perform. It’s when we feel we have “arrived” and that we’re the one everyone else should be looking to for inspiration that we forget who the Master teacher is and from whom the talent comes in the first place.

Make a new commitment this week to learn from all those God has placed in your circle and to pass on His wisdom to those who view you as mentor.
“You'll only hear true and right words from my mouth;
not one syllable will be twisted or skewed.
You'll recognize this as true—you with open minds;
truth-ready minds will see it at once.
Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.” (Proverbs 8:8-11 THE MESSAGE)

Winners of the Drama League Awards:
Distinguished Production of a Play
August: Osage County
Distinguished Production of a Musical
A Catered Affair
Distinguished Revival—Play
Distinguished Revival—MusicalSouth Pacific
Distinguished Performance Award
Patti LuPone, Gypsy
Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing
Bartlett Sher, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific
Unique Contribution to the Theatre
Ellen Stewart and LaMaMa E.T.C.
Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre
Paul Gemignani

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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