I’ve always had an interesting time balancing my different work lives. Writing about theater is a relatively tiny aspect of my life. It usually sits over in the corner while everything else I do hums along until once in a while I go see a show or talk to a few people about an upcoming production.
But I took a new job about 9 months ago with a pretty small company and there’s a woman here (let’s call her Brenda) who is an old friend of Melissa Johnston’s. This led to a very interesting conversation about "The Goat" at the Firehouse, which Brenda brought some of her more conservative friends to. Suffice it to say that these friends have not been eager to see theater with her since. So whenever a new play opens, she asks me whether it has bestiality in it.
Well, several weeks ago, a different woman at our company died, a somewhat sudden and tragic death from a particularly aggressive form of cancer. The glorious Cora Harvey Armstrong sang at this woman’s funeral and, as per usual, her amazing voice transfixed and uplifted everyone there. In conversations afterward, I casually mentioned the upcoming production of “Mahalia” that opens at the Mill in a week or so. Now suddenly everyone knows I’m the theater guy which isn’t such a bad thing, I guess. More to the point, the production of “Mahalia” should get at least a couple dozen people attending that don’t usually go to theater. And that’s certainly a good thing.