The First Ten Years

The First Ten Years

You guys, my friend wrote a book. Remember Courtney Romano? She wrote a freakin’ book, and its official release is tomorrow, so indulge me for a moment if you would.

MY FRIEND WROTE A BOOK.

I’m so proud (and not just because it’s the first time I’ve been included in the Acknowledgements). I’m proud because Courtney birthed this from her very soul. She’s put her blood, sweat, and tears into this, and her story is so personal and relatable it’s as if she’s speaking directly to each individual reader.

The First Ten Years: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Creative Longevity is just that. It’s accessible, non-condescending, meets-you-on-your-own-terms advice. Actually, scratch that. It’s not even advice. It’s meeting you in the middle to hash out the challenging, rewarding, spontaneous, impossible, beautiful parts of being an artist. Here’s part of the back cover description:

“You have something more to give” is the guiding mantra grounding Romano as she writes a timeless manifesto for creatives. The First Ten Years isn’t selling a six-point plan for success to the reader. It’s selling the reader to the reader. The isolated inner life of creatives (and all who feel the call to give something more) reflects through Romano’s theatrical ups and downs as she uses her missteps and achievements to curate an answer to the age-old question, “Will I make it?” “The Day Job Complex,” “Following Your Sadness” and “Why No One Likes a Perfectionist” are just a few sections that address the nuanced and delicate inner battles that creatives (from actors to entrepreneurs) fight when facing a blank canvas. Pulling those silent soap operas into the open exposes creative turmoil for what it is: an unnecessary block to our greatest work. Whether you’re heading out into the professional world for the first time, at a mid-career crossroads or wondering if it’s too late to start your masterpiece, The First Ten Years is the creative call to arms for anyone with that internal voice whispering, “You have something more to give.”

Somehow, Courtney has the astounding ability to find the exact right words to describe the life of a creative. Any creative. That includes accountants, lawyers, doctors. Everyone has creativity within him or her; it doesn’t need to be manifested through traditional “art.” We are all going on this journey together and individually.

I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy this past week. As I found myself bookmarking pages and highlighting quotes that struck me or were so on point that I thought the book was actually written about my life, I would remember, hey wait, Courtney wrote this. This isn’t an out-of-reach, someone-I’ll-never-meet author. These smart, inspiring words came from my friend. As it were, I’m going through a big transition in my life right now, and I feel lucky that I have this book to turn to, not to mention the author behind the words.

If you find yourself in New York City, there is a Launch Party tonight at 7pm at The Late Late in the Lower East Side (159 East Houston Street). There will be drinking and talking and awesomeness and a reading from the book by the woman of the hour. You can order the e-book now, or pre-order the paperback. I can’t wait to get that baby in my actual hands.

Follow Courtney at @courtneyromano, or keep tabs on the hashtag #thefirst10. And you can watch the book trailer here (or below). I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book:

I can’t tell you where you should go or who you should be or what mark you will make on this world. But I can definitively tell you this:

You have something more to give.
The world is waiting for that one thing that can only come from you.
You know how to give it. 


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The First Ten Years: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Creative Longevity
Written by Courtney Romano, Illustrated by Match Zimmerman, Edited by Megan Bungeroth, Book Trailer Directed and Edited by Kennedy Kanagawa

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I’m Just a Broadway Baby…

3-year-old me

What’s this? Becca posting on a Saturday? This must be a special occasion of some sort. There must be something unusual going on tomorrow…like, maybe she’s going to the Tony Award Dress Rehearsal?

WHAAAAAAT?!

You heard right, my friends. Thanks to a fateful turn of events, Jenn and I will be attending the Tony Dress Rehearsal tomorrow morning. Cause we’re fancy like that. Aka I’m freaking out, and I cried when she told me.

Tomorrow at 9am, we’ll show up at Radio City Music Hall (my first time if you can believe it) and take our seats left orchestra to soak in all of the Tony madness. For those of you who don’t know, Tony day is CRAZY for the people in the Broadway community. They get to Radio City at the crack of dawn to prep, rehearse from 9:30-1pm, rush over to their respective theatres to do a Sunday matinee (!!), get red carpet ready, arrive at the ceremony, sit and watch, change into costume for their show’s performance, change back, watch the rest, maybe win a Tony, and then party the night away. I’m exhausted just writing about it.

This is the closest I’ve come to the Tony Awards. I’ve been fortunate enough to be at the Tony parties for two Best Musical winners, In the Heights and Memphis (Marquee shout-out!). But the thought of being in that enormous hall to see everyone rehearse the songs, transitions, costume changes, and whatever else goes down, is making 5-year-old Becca geek out pretty hard. Who am I kidding? 30-year-old Becca, too.

I hope you’re all tuning in tomorrow (CBS at 8pm ET) for a night full of theatre. There’s a lot of talk right now focused solely on who’s going to win or lose, but what this evening should ultimately be about is the performances. Those are what I’ll be watching on repeat for years to come after it’s over. Those are what the folks around the world can experience if they can’t afford a trip to the city. So let’s celebrate the theatre, yes? See you on the Broadway.


It Shoulda Been You

It Shoulda Been You

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but It Shoulda Been You is not the way to go this season. The premise is promising – an old fashioned wedding story of families colliding with a modern twist – but this brand new musical comedy misses the mark.

It’s Rebecca’s wedding day, and nothing is going well. Her mother and the groom’s mother aren’t getting along, her ex-boyfriend has gotten wind of the nuptials and is on his way to crash the ceremony, and her sister Jenny, always the bridesmaid, is expected to keep everything together (click here for highlights).

The book is weak and offensive. I suppose I might be more forgiving if the score were likeable, but the songs, after an hour and a half, were like nails on a chalkboard to my ears. The lyrics also include gems like, “How you pulled that out of your hat is making me smile like a Cheshire cat.” The music is made up of random notes following one another, trying to force a melody. I was looking forward to Lisa Howard’s 11 o’clock number because that woman has pipes, but I sat there thinking, this is what she has to sing every night?

Speaking of my excitement for Lisa Howard, I was so psyched for her to finally have a lead role on Broadway, but there’s a terrible subplot about her weight and her mother’s rude comments. The book is packed with fat jokes, Jewish jokes, black jokes, gay jokes, and alcoholic jokes, but none are smart. Mostly they made me cringe, and I’m not easily offended. I’m typically fine with that style of humor (The Book of Mormon, anyone?), but when written poorly, it just comes off as mean.

What a waste of talent. It’s a fantastic cast full of big names (Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess, David Burtka), and the brilliant David Hyde Pierce at the helm directing, so I can’t help but wonder what went wrong here. I’ll give it this much: there’s a surprise in the show that neither Matt nor I saw coming, and I don’t know the last time I was that genuinely surprised by a plot shift. But it doesn’t save the show by any means. For a brief moment I did think, “Oh, this will help the story,” but it only made it more convoluted.

But really, the show’s tagline is, “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll be home by 10.” I mean, what? Their best foot forward is how short the show is?! That’s not gonna cut it for me. It shoulda been better.

It Shoulda Been You
Book & Lyrics by Brian Hargrove, Music by Barbara Anselni, Directed by David Hyde Pierce
Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Open-ended
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Pictured: Lisa Howard