All we need is just a little “Patience”…

So, NYGASP’s production of Patience, Gilbert & Sullivan’s second-longest running operetta of their time (behind The Mikado and ahead of H.M.S. Pinafore!), just closed Sunday after four fantastic performances at the Symphony Space. We had an incredible write-up in the New York Times, and I have to admit that it was gratifying for that venerable paper to recognize NYGASP’s efforts (and those of her fearless leader, Albert Bergeret, and her individual players) to preserve Gilbert & Sullivan’s legacy and ensure its future.

I didn’t know Patience before my first engagement as Lady Angela with NYGASP in 2012 — but now I can’t imagine how I ever lived without it! Gilbert’s creation of the character of Bunthorne, in particular, is genius. In my opinion, it’s some of his best work. And while Patience may not have some of the catchiest Sullivan tunes, I think he turned out some really beautiful melodies – “Love is a plaintive song” and the sextet in the Act I Finale (“I hear the soft note”) come immediately to mind. This parody of the 19th century Aesthetic movement is really a timeless masterpiece. And I’m so pleased to have had the chance to have had a proper run (four whole performances! as opposed to our one in 2012, which felt like a dress rehearsal – a great dress rehearsal, but was a bit of a nail-biter for the whole cast). This time around, we had the opportunity for, oh, I don’t know, character development. (What??? I KNOW.) Our formidable AD, David Auxier (a very gifted performer, too), gave thoughtful notes to really help us bring sincerity to the silliness.

I wish we could take Patience on the road, but we would definitely have to offer the audiences a glossary, as there’s quite a bit of flowery language (about indigestion, no less – hilarious!), and since it’s a relatively “unknown” work, it’s harder to sell than the Big Three (Pirates, Mikado and Pinafore). The cast would relish the opportunity to become as familiar with our Patience roles as we are with, say, those in the Big Three. (If you missed it, here‘s a link to our video preview — I meant to post it long before we opened, and somehow failed to publish that post. Oy.) NYGASP’s is a labor of love, and I for one am grateful that there is still one professional company in the U.S. dedicated solely to the works of Gilbert & Sullivan, (though we certainly have the talent to do any other number of things – and to do them well, too! – we have great opera singers, musical theater divas, dancers, brass players, drag queens, ukulele-ists… I’m beyond thrilled to share the stage and call “friend” this brilliant and eclectic bunch!), struggling and striving to sustain and relevate (that’s my new verb for “keep relevant”) the G&S canon. The Players play on, because we simply cannot stop.

“I hear the soft note of the echoing voice of an old, old love long dead.
It whispers my sorrowing heart “Rejoice” as the last sad tear is shed.
The pain that is all but a pleasure will change for the pleasure that’s all but pain,
And never, oh never, our hearts shall range from that old, old love again.”

We are old souls, indeed, and shall never range from our old, old love. (For many, our first love.) I hope you’ll check out NYGASP’s touring schedule here, and be sure to catch them/us in a city near you! I’ll be in Idaho in February and Denver in March for run-outs of Pirates, but you shouldn’t miss my compatriots in Pinafore if it comes to your hometown. It’s a treat for the whole family!

Reflections on an Old Year

2013 was an incredible year. I toured the U.S. and Canada this Spring singing Pitti-Sing in The Mikado and Edith in The Pirates of Penzance with NYGASP. I returned to Martha’s Vineyard (twice!) for singing engagements. I celebrated the marriage of a dear friend, who did me the honor of asking me to sing at her wedding. I celebrated my own fifth wedding anniversary (time is flying — I can’t even fathom how fast). I ran two half-marathons and two 10k’s and raised thousands of dollars for blood cancer research with Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. One of those races took me to Bermuda for the first time. I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I sang the hardest music I’ve yet encountered on a concert celebrating American composer John Harbison’s birthday. Hubs and I spent a long weekend on Seneca Lake. We attended the baby shower of my former roommate; we spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws. I sang on my first ever improv recital. (So cool!!) I kept my job at the law firm. And I ended up with adrenal fatigue…

Not surprising, I guess. A body can only do so much, and I. did. SO. MUCH. Actually, a body can handle A LOT, with a healthy stress response. My stress response was compromised. My naturopath said that she was shocked, looking at my test results, that I wasn’t seriously depressed and/or incredibly sick. My positive outlook kept me afloat. (There are unseen advantages to being a Pollyanna after all!) It turns out that my insomniac husband was also in adrenal fatigue, so we have both been in “therapy” with our naturopath to restore our neurotransmitters. We’ve both cleaned up our diets — even my beer and cheese loving husband has cut back on both. He started baking his own bagels. He started baking me some delectable Paleo treats. The more I learned about health and nutrition at IIN, the healthier I wanted to be. And the one time this Fall that I let myself fall off the wagon, I got sick. A dozen cookies over the course of 2 days and I was sick in bed for 6 days. My poor immune system couldn’t fend off my co-workers’ viruses once handicapped by the sugar.

I’m still trying to figure out how to find balance in this crazy life in NYC. How does a person work a full-time job, pursue their life’s work in another field, go to school part-time in yet another field of interest, attend to their marriage, stay in shape, and keep the house clean???? (If you saw my apartment, you’d understand in a flash that I haven’t yet figured this out.) I have learned that good nutrition is the key. As long as I’m eating well and getting enough sleep, I stand a shot at maintaining my balance. The minute I start eating garbage, I begin a downward spiral.

The good news is that it’s easy to eat well. It isn’t always convenient to cook my own food, but I’m working increasing my home-cooked percentages. (It’s getting easier, though, now that the Hubs is cleaning up his habits as well.)

Some goals for 2014: eat more organic produce and less meat (but best quality only, when I do), cook more meals at home, meditate and practice more yoga, take more classes at the gym, drop 10 pounds, be better organized, clean my apartment, read more, spend less, go to France, and make the most of my time (MY TIME), call my friends and family more frequently, write more, keep elevating my musical pursuits and singing my heart out, and get my Health Coaching practice off the ground.

What are your goals for 2014???Happy New Year 2014

What do you get when you enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition?

What do you get when you enroll at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition?

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Learn more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. It’s about more than food… Learn to re-evaluate your life and re-create yourself, living the life you want. At the same time, learn how to help others do the same. Be a part of the ripple effect of GOOD HEALTH that the world, and especially this country, needs so badly. As Gandhi said, “YOU MUST BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.”