What a night. The 2nd Annual Born for Broadway benefit also served as a mini-Ragtime reunion, with performances by Quentin Earl Darrington, Christiane Noll, Robert Petkoff, Bobby Steggert, Stephanie Umoh, and Leigh Ann Larkin (from the D.C. cast), plus Ben and the other kids from the show.
The kids performed “Alone in the Universe” from “Seussical.” The video combines footage from the rehearsal and performance.
Directed by Ragtime's Marcia Milgrom Dodge, the evening of pop songs, showtunes, and standards also featured Lesley Gore, Glee's Jenna Ushkowitz, Memphis' Chad Kimball, Malcolm Gets, Jim Brochu and many, many more. Thanks to Marcia and organizer/event founder Sarah Galli for allowing me to take pictures.
Lesley Gore performs "Out Here on My Own" at Born for Broadway — New York City, May 2010. The singer known for the mid 1960s hit "It's My Party" died this week at age 68.
I'm constantly tweaking and changing my website to better communicate the variety of photography, writing, and consulting services I provide. The most recent change: A new section devoted to various professional and amateur shows and performances I've photographed.
Take a look: http://glenncook.virb.com/performances.
Ron Bohmer, Born for Broadway — New York City, May 2012
This photo means a lot to me for a host of reasons.
I have served as a photographer for “Born for Broadway” for the past two years, and in the process learned a great deal about the need to raise money for paralysis-based organizations such as the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. It gave me a chance to meet some wonderful people, among them Sarah Galli, who created the show as a student-sponsored cabaret at Marymount Manhattan College. She started the program after her brother sustained a spinal cord injury in a 1998 diving accident.
The gala, performed in New York, also has served as a mini-reunion for my son, Ben. He has performed in the show under the direction of his “Ragtime” director, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, and reunited — albeit briefly — with a number of his fellow cast members from the production.
The first time, in 2010, was emotional because “Ragtime” had closed prematurely in January of that year. “Born for Broadway” served as an opportunity to reunite the four kids — Little Boy and Little Girl and their understudies (one of whom was Ben) — who had performed in the show. It also gave audience members a chance to hear Christiane Noll and Robert Petkoff perform “Our Children” — a song that still brings a tear to my eye.
The second show came as Ben was rehearsing in New York, five weeks before he finally became “Billy Elliot.” He was the youngest entertainer to solo in the event, and performed “I Can Do That” from “A Chorus Line,” bringing his career at that point full circle.
I distinctly remember him auditioning for his manager with a dance to “I Can Do That” when he was 9. Seeing him perform it for an audience that had come to see Broadway and TV stars donating their time and talent, with absolute self confidence after a long day of rehearsals on a rainy New York evening, was both gratifying and fulfilling.
That I managed to get this picture of Ron Bohmer, who starred as Father in “Ragtime,” performing the show’s “Journey On” at the conclusion of the event is just a bonus.
I picked this photo today because the fourth annual cabaret was announced this week. It will be performed at 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 at 54 Below, less than a block from our old apartment on West 54th Street. And I’m planning to take pictures again.
Note: In May 2012, I was asked to write a column for a Washington, D.C., theatre website (www.dcmetrotheaterarts.com) on being a "Stage Dad." I'm crossposting the columns to this blog as well after they are published.
"I saw my sis go pitter pat. Said I can do that. I can do that.”
Five and a half years ago, my little boy Ben was dancing in the basement of a woman’s house in Maryland, showing off his gymnastics moves, taps and splits. Afterward, he answered a few questions from the woman we arranged to meet and then we left, not knowing what would happen next.
Really, we had no clue how that audition would change all of our lives.
That little boy is now a teen, getting ready to fly back from Los Angeles to New York, where he will train for the role he’s pursued since 2008 — the title part on the national tour of “Billy Elliot.” And in a couple of weeks, he’ll flashback to that afternoon in the basement when he performs “I Can Do That” in a benefit called “Born for Broadway” at the American Airlines Theater in New York.
Things in his life — and the lives of our family — are coming full circle, the pieces of a long and winding path finally connecting. It’s a path that has featured numerous adventures (of the mis and grand variety), including six professional shows in Washington, D.C., two Broadway productions, one national tour, and one cameo in a TV series that was filmed before a two-show day. It also has involved countless auditions, stealth-like schlepping (planes, trains, and motor vehicle versions), two residences, long days, and sleepless nights.
At least it’s not travel soccer.
Looking back at those adventures, as well as the lessons learned, is the purpose of this blog/column that Joel Markowitz asked me to write. For the past three years, I’ve written a personal blog — in an attempt to process what has taken place in our lives. Joel very graciously asked me to share some of those stories with his audience.
So let me set the scene for you.
My wife, Jill, and I have four teenagers — two boys and two girls, ranging in age from 14 to 19. My oldest, Nicholas, just was accepted into the BFA Acting program at Elon University in North Carolina. Katharine, the visual artist in the group, is finishing her freshman year in high school in Northern Virginia.
Emma, Ben’s twin sister, is in eighth grade at a different Northern Virginia school. Like her brother, she lives for dance. She also is forging, through hard work and good grades, her own path in life in a far more low-key way than her brother.
Now you can see why I like to say, with four kids in four schools in three states, “In our family, the only thing mellow is the drama.”
Over the next several months, I hope you will join us on this journey of what it is like to be a stage parent. We’ll chronicle the ups and downs, answer your questions, seek your thoughts and — I hope — provide you with some insight into the world in which we live.
What a world it is.