My Turn To Wax Nostalgic

Now that my show is over, it’s back to business as usual here at the blog. Which means it’s time for me to wax nostalgic about nytheatre.com’s 10th birthday, a milestone that was commemorated recently in a lovely blog post by The Boss. His words got me thinking about my own tenure here at HQ, and inspired some reflection.

I celebrated an anniversary of my own during the month of June: one year on the job here. Next week will mark another anniversary: six years since I originally came on board as a volunteer reviewer.

Wow. Six years. Where has the time gone?

If you’d told me back in 2001 that I would eventually be working as a theatre reviewer, podcast moderator, and general all-around Guy Friday for a nonprofit arts advocacy organization, I probably would’ve said, “Yeah – in my dreams!”

And yet, here I am, in 2007, doing all of those things. Unbeliveable.

It’s been quite an adventure so far, one that started innocently enough back when my longtime friend Don Jordan and I used to run a theatre company together (which was many moons ago) and were trying to get people to come review our shows. The Boss was the only reviewer who ever came to see us on a regular basis. To this day, I don’t know why he did, but Don and I were grateful for the attention and the feedback. We were first introduced to The Boss through his reviews of this show and this show.

His review of the latter, especially, made an impression on me that lasts to this day. It was the first time I’d ever read a less-than-ideal review of a show I was in and thought: this guy is right. I liked how the review was both encouraging and honest, and it made us all feel like we’d accomplished something worthwhile even if we hadn’t quite pulled it off. After that, I became an avid reader of the site.

Several months later, I got in touch with The Boss and asked about the possibility of reviewing for him. Now, keep in mind, that we had never actually met. I was just a regular reader who liked his writing. But, I noticed that he wrote pretty much all of the site content, and it made me wonder if he needed any help (this was long before the site had any kind of steady writing staff). I had been wanting to develop some kind of regular writing habit, and the thought of seeing theatre for free sounded good to me, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

To my great surprise, The Boss emailed me back and we agreed to have lunch. At our meeting we talked about the website’s philosophy (to err on the side of generosity and constructive criticism without an axe to grind), and about what I wanted to get out of doing this (free theatre tickets and a chance to write). Once our cards were on the table, The Boss agreed to take me on on a trial basis: I would write three reviews, and if we both liked the way things were going after that we would continue. I’m happy to report that we never needed to have another meeting on the matter. I met my quota, and neither one of us has looked back since.

There have been many highlights along the way: six Fringe Festivals (including my first in 2001, when a small handful of volunteers including Tim Cusack, David Fuller, Trav S.D., Eric Winick, The Boss, and myself covered nearly 60 shows – quite an achievement at the time), numerous readings and book events for the NYTE anthologies (I took my dad to the Plays and Playwrights 2001 launch party at Under St. Marks, which featured a hilarious excerpt from The Elephant Man – The Musical that he got a big kick out of), the first ever Indie Theater Convocation (an event whose long-term ramifications still have yet to be fully felt, but which has already spawned the birth of our newest website: indietheater.org), and the inception last summer of our podcast program, the nytheatrecast. These events, and many others over the years, have all carried the exciting, shivery thrill of the unknown, as we embarked on uncharted territory and hoped for the best. So far everything has worked out better than we could have ever imagined.

I had lunch with The Boss on nytheatre.com’s 10th birthday. Joined by his cunning associate, The Mix Master (who is the nytheatrecast sound engineer), we talked about future plans. That’s something I love about our meetings: we never talk about the past, only the future. Whatever laurels we may have to rest on, there is no time to do so. We have too many new ideas to try out. The past is past. All that matters now is tomorrow and beyond.

It has been an amazing journey so far, one that has enriched my life more than I can say. And, I look forward to much more of it. I’m not even kidding when I say that the best is still yet to come. Stay tuned everybody.

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2 Responses to My Turn To Wax Nostalgic

  1. Tim says:

    Mike- congrats on the anniversary!

  2. Thank you, Tim – much appreciated! And, thank you for reading!

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