Hilltop Diary, February 7, 2023

I’ll start with a review of the bizarre and ordinary events since I last wrote, in the order they happened. But first, if you have felt a strange disturbance in the force, let us remember the 5,000 poor souls (and perhaps double that number to come) so far discovered deceased in a series of major earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. How terrible! Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.

Oliver and Crystal

On the home front, we have lately begun – (Is “begun” a word? It does not sound like it should be. I am told it is a past participle of the irregular verb “begin” in the perfect tense! Ha, I have no idea what that means.) – We began to notice that one of our dear cats, Oliver (shown here with his mommy), now fourteen years old (the cat, not the mommy), began to lose weight from his formerly plump condition, and rather alarmingly so. A trip to the vet and a blood test revealed he had dropped several pounds and has a bad case of hyperthyroidism, meaning his metabolism is too fast.

So now we have a cream that must be rubbed into his ear (absorbed through the skin to slow down the thyroid) and administered twice a day for the rest of his life. Holy smokes. There are other remedies we can try, if this one doesn’t work, none of them inexpensive. Also, as with Aslan the lion, it was decreed, “Let him be shaved!” and so he went in for a good trimming. I feared he’d come out looking like a monkey or perhaps Gollum. But he looks better now, a very svelte and dapper fellow.

After placing our order with the printer and addressing the envelopes, we are mailing out our annual character Valentines today! It’s a bit of work but we’ve been doing it ten years and always have fun wishing our love and best regards to around 150 friends and family. Every year we add a few new friends to the list. I’ll post the photos from the card here next time, also on Facebook on Valentine’s Day itself.

Crystal has already been diligently learning and rehearsing her next play, Angel Street (see my January 24 entry for details), which became the movie called Gaslight, with Crystal playing Ingrid Bergman’s lead role. Meanwhile, I got all the score editing done for the ballet music written so far. Some progress is being made on the production plans, now scheduled for premiere in the U.S., and now also I am told with the likelihood of a very famous and distinguished European choreographer coming over for a month. The recording and possibly another ballet performance will then happen in Europe.

Continuing this week’s chronicle, whether phantastical or mundane, I had some phantastical and mundanely horrifying dental work done and some equally surreal and even more horrifying (and still ongoing) plumbing work done on the house, and then our clothes washer decided to excruciatingly crash and burn (or rather crash and leak) yet again. On a brighter note, we had a few dinners with some theater-friend couples and attended a performance of Into the Woods in support of other friends who were in the cast.

Last week I spoke by phone with a TV producer from L.A. who is creating a fictional television series based on the life of my close friend, rock star Kip Winger (of the famous, late 80’s, platinum-selling hair band “Winger”). How Kip and I got to be friends is a story for another day. This show is just in the earliest stages of conception by the creators and not yet accepted for production. This fellow on the phone was gathering information that might be used in the show, and of course I wanted Brad Pitt to play me, but he said the names will all be changed and fictionalized. I don’t know if Kip’s name will necessarily even be advertised as the inspiration for the show. If not, you heard it here.

Coincidentally and unrelated, Kip sent me the master of the new Winger VII album that is about to be released, and it is musically awesome. The guys in the band were already top musicians to begin with and are now seasoned masters at their highest level ever. There are so many face-melting moments (thanks to Jack Black in “School of Rock” for that term). Here is an article about the album: CLICK HERE TO READ.

And just yesterday I had my first meeting with the theater C.E.O. and director of the scheduled upcoming production of my Dear Miss Barrett, oft mentioned here. It requires a good amount of work to mount this production – director, music director and musicians, choreographer, set designer and builder, costumer, lighting and sound designers, and last but not least, a wonderful cast —  but the planning meeting was very promising and exciting. Great people to work with. The audition dates have been announced for the last three days of February (the third day being callbacks), and more information about the particular roles will soon be on this page: CLICK HERE TO READ.

I will just say in general that the cast for this show comprises both leading and ensemble parts, men and women in age from their 20’s/30’s to 50’s/60’s. All of them must sing (at least in the ensemble), and some choreography is required in most roles. Some roles require an English accent and a few require an Italian accent. Some roles require slightly more operatic singing and others a Broadway pop sound, because some scenes are set in 19th century London and others in present-day America. There are no roles for kids, sorry!

And as I enumerate this it-seems-to-me-odd hodge-podge of life’s blessings and challenges during the past two weeks, I think again how small our troubles are and how blessed we are indeed, when across the world there is such tragedy.  Wishing you the best till next time!

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