Coram Boy - December 17 - December 19, 2015

The Beacon School

 A Note from the Director 

I was gifted with my first musical instrument – a rented trumpet – when I was eight years old. My arms were not long enough for the trombone I really wanted. But the trumpet was my gateway drug to my love of music. By time I was in middle school I had a general ability to play the keyboard (actually the one embedded in the virginals), violin, flute, French horn, bass guitar (lives down stairs with Letiecq), violin, and even had a three week affair with a borrowed cello that resulted in my humbled acceptance that my fingers are as proportionally as short as my arms. At 13 I would have sworn to you that I was going to be in a rock band, or a Broadway pit and that I would spend my life making music, no questions asked.


Starting high school changed everything though because it was the first time I was pushed to choose between the music and theatre departments and the first time my identity as a musician was threatened by the crippling social pressure to fit in. In Freshman girl logic, I thought that being a singer was safer in the hallway than dragging a horn case around. The huge case felt like an albatross that would sink my fragile position in the social scene of Manalapan High School, but singing in the choir, or if I was lucky enough to make the musical, kept my musician identity private and intact. Social status? Pliable. Shame for giving up my horns? Limitless.


That said in my Freshman year production of Hello, Dolly! a crew of very generous senior girls adopted me as their pet Freshman. They wanted to groom me to “replace them” after graduation and one of them was the older sister of one of the very bullies that had made my transition to young adult hood such hell. To say I worshiped those girls would be an understatement.


Just the other day the afore mentioned magical senior, who starred in all the musicals, was the first chair in the first soprano section of the madrigal choir, and edited the Literary Magazine for which I also wrote simply because she told me to, sent me a Facebook message to inform me she’d just went on her first audition in twenty years! She wanted some of my “love from the theatre gods”, because apparently they loved me very much. I chuckled and laughed on the train platform because Rebecca lives seven hours away now, and she hasn’t been to see a Beacon play before. Her knowledge of my work is limited to what she sees online and remembers from the early 90s. Eek!


When I told her for the first time in my career I was fumbling, because for the first time in my career the puzzle pieces just weren’t adding up and the timing and technology of the new space was just not coming together and I was fearing the worst. As if it was 1991 in the grossly lit MHS cafeteria, she full-on mommed me with the following message, “great theatre has existed for thousands of years, long before fancy lights and sound systems. The show’s success doesn’t hinge on tech equipment – the audience just wants the actors to tell a story.”


I cried into my hoodie because she’s right. It all comes full circle. My senior set me straight and reminded me of what’s what. So when I see Addy check Eibhilin’s hair, or Gavin go over appropriate pre-show etiquette with a gaggle of tiny faces, or Elena’s reorganize her team, again, I know it’s all going to be just fine.


Welcome to our world. Bumps and all, we’re so happy and excited to share this inaugural play with you. So much drama. So much music! So much love! From the tiny musician in all of us, to each and every one of you, Happy Holidays!


With Love,

 Jo (And Stan, Lilli, David, Krista, Keithlyn and Liz too!)


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