When I was 16, I came within a mile of killing myself.

A mile, or roughly two minutes.  At the spot where the impulse struck me, on Route 175 in Columbia, MD, the roadside was all gently sloping grass—no trees or telephone poles or even concrete safety barriers to ram a car against.  A mile further down the road, and I could have found any of those sturdy car-smashing targets—but before I got that far, I’d thought better of it.  But in that instant, in the car alone, after the boy I was in love with told me he wasn’t in love with me, that he thought of me as a good friend but nothing more than that… if the chance had been there, my teen-angst-ful self would have taken it.

Next month, in case you’ve missed any of my earlier from-the-rooftop announcements, I’ll be playing Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home, the musical based upon Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical “tragicomic.”  Bruce was Alison’s father; he was passionate about literature and photography and art and design, and he made sure the home Alison grew up in was pristine and fashionable and full of beauty.  He was also gay.  And four months after Alison came out to him as lesbian, he killed himself.

I’ve been talking a lot with my therapist about this show.  Playing Bruce, I told her, is like riding my bike riiiiiight along the edge of a cliff—trying to match its curves and twists without falling in and crashing.

Some days it’s terrifying.

But unlike 16-year-old me, I’ve learned to think, as I’m teetering on the edge of that cliff, about the people around me—my husband, of course, who is the best friend I’ve ever had; but also my sister and our parents, and a select group of other close friends—who aren’t afraid to see me hurting, or angry, or scared.  These are people who have seen me cry, and have let me cry, and have sat with me without fixing or masking or ignoring what’s wrong.  They’ve been with me in moments when the fact that they were with me was the only good thing I could see, and they stayed there until I could see more good things than that.

These are the people who’ve saved my life over and over again.

And one moment, on Route 150 in Beech Creek, PA, Bruce couldn’t think of anyone like that.

I hope you’ll come see FUN HOME because it is—and I give you my word that this is not an exaggeration—the best-written musical I have ever read.  I hope you’ll come see it because the story is funny and poignant and sweet, and the music is fun and glorious and haunting.  I hope you’ll come see us because the cast includes some of the most insightful, vulnerable, dedicated actors and singers I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.  I hope you’ll come see us because I feel as though playing Bruce at this moment in my life—I’m just 2 years older now than Bruce was when he died—is something that had to happen.

But most of all, I hope you’ll come see us because someday, someone else will need you to be there for them.  And they’ll need you to be able to see their pain and their grief and their shame and their terror, and not be afraid of any of it.  The edge of the cliff can be a horrible place to find yourself, and if you’re not careful, at the wrong moment, you can fall in.  But if you’ve learned the terrain—if you’ve been there before, with someone who knows the way, and who can grab your hand if you start to slip—it’s not quite as scary.

Will you join us?

To buy tickets for the October 7 performance, benefiting the LGBT Center of Central PA, please use this form.  (These sales must be completed by October 1.)

Tickets to all twelve performances are now available on the Open Stage of Harrisburg website and at the door.

If you’d like to learn more about FUN HOME, and maybe be a little less scared of the cliff before you visit, here are a few resources to get you started:

And even if none of those resources seems quite right to you, you’re not alone.  I’m here for you.

FUN HOME posterIt’s time it’s time it’s time it’s time!

Y’all.  I am so. Excited.

I don’t have much time today—gotta run to rehearsal—but I wanted to be sure everyone knew that individual ticket sales for FUN HOME (and all other Season 32 shows at Open Stage) are open now!

If you’re not able to join us on October 7 for the UUCV/LGBT Center benefit performance, you can now purchase tickets for any of the other 11 performances at the Open Stage website.

If you have questions, need (even more) encouragement to come see us, or have any trouble ordering your tickets, don’t hesitate to let me know.  I want everyone I know to see this amazing production!

photo of David by Kris Rogers, August, 2017If you’ve been paying close attention to my website over the last several days—because clearly there’s nothing else going on in the world that deserves your attention*—you’ll already have noticed that a few of the page banners have been updated with new photos.

A couple of months ago one of my students glanced at my website landing page, then up at me, and back again, and commented, “You know, that doesn’t even look like you any more.”

I took it as a compliment—one year ago this month, in August, 2016, I started working with an amazing trainer from Performance Fitness Training, and added New York Fitness Clubs to my morning routine twice a week. Zach is the best kind of coach: patient, gentle, and supportive, without a hint of judgment or condescension.  My goal at the time was to get back to a place where I felt healthy—I was tired of feeling out-of-breath and sweaty when I got to the top of a few flights of stairs.  And with Zach’s help, I’m there: feeling not only good about myself, but good about the habits I’ve built up, and able to focus on the long-term good feelings even on those “I’d rather stay in bed an extra hour” mornings.

So last week I headed up to New York again to visit Kris Rogers, bass player and photographer extraordinaire.  His photos have been the highlight of my website and promotional materials since 2015, so it seemed only fitting to ask him to document the next step in the journey.  He and I spent a rainy but laughter-filled morning together (with Gabe, on an off day from his theatre internship, making snide comments in the background), and produced a paltry 981 photos, a few of which you can see in my Electronic Press Kit.  My husband has already gushed over them, but he’s a little biased…. I hope you’ll take a look through if you’re so inclined, and let me know what you think!


*The inhumanity demonstrated in Charlottesville, Virginia, this weekend, and our elected leaders’ cowardly response to it, are embarrassing and infuriating. I have found this guide helpful in considering how I will be a stronger force in Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression, Multi-Cultural work today, tomorrow, and beyond.  We can do better, y’all.

Great news!  The final administrative hurdles have been vaulted, and ticket sales are now officially open for UUCV’s FUN HOME LGBT Center benefit program!  If you missed the original announcement (and my gushing about how excited I am about this project), you can read that here.  Or you could just take my word for it and submit this form today so you don’t miss this amazing production, or this chance to support the Central PA LGBT Center. I’ll hope to see you in the audience on October 7th!

Wow!  I’m thrilled that so many people are excited about purchasing tickets for FUN HOME, and about taking advantage of our benefit for the LGBT Center of Central PA!  I know it can be hard to remember to jump on these sorts of things when tickets actually go on sale—so if you’re interested in tickets for the benefit performance (that’s 7:30 PM on Saturday, October 7), just complete this form and I’ll make sure you’re at the top of the list when we start to process reservations in late July!