Twenty-nine years ago Tom McCoy and I were the co-lead Producers for the 1989 stage revival of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby. This production was originally intended to be a six month tour, which opened in Boston during the Christmas season that year. But it was such a great production and Cathy was so amazing as Peter that it turned into a two year tour! In fact the show was such a hit that it played a nearly sold-out six week run at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre on Broadway during the 1990-91 Christmas season.
Because of this Broadway run, Cathy was nominated for a TONY Award that year for Best Actress in a Musical and Tom and I, along with our investor/producers, were nominated for a TONY Award for Best Revival of a Play or Musical. How cool is that?
After all my years of working in summer stock and regional Civic Light Operas, to not only have a show play on Broadway but to also be nominated for a TONY was about the most awesome thing that ever happened to me professionally. This also meant that Nancy and I were invited to attend the TONY Award ceremony that year. Talk about exciting.
Of course it was a black tie event so before we left Orange County for New York, Nancy went shopping to find just the right dress. And it was a pretty great dress. Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the ceremony and were mingling in the theater lobby and across the room Nancy saw another lady wearing the exact same dress. Oops! But what could we do but laugh, so we walked up behind the lady and Nancy said “I got mine in LA. Where did you get yours?” When she turned around she started laughing too.
Even with the dress it really was an exciting night. It turned out Fiddler on the Roof won the Best Revival award, so I didn’t get the chance to make a speech that went on for too long. Just as well! And Lea Salonga from Miss Saigon won Best Actress. But we all had a GREAT time nonetheless. And Cathy and Tom eventually went on to remount Peter Pan for several other tours and even another Broadway run.
I have been fortunate to have produced many awesome productions before and since then, but I never got back on Broadway or to the TONY Awards again. In fact since a little before my Leukemia diagnosis, I stopped working in Show Business and focused on professional fundraising. When I think about this, Jackson Browne’s song The Pretender always comes to mind. Specifically the lyric “While the ships bearing their dreams sail out of sight.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROK1-VvOQ0
I know that sounds a little sad, but that is reality. Sometimes dreams change and that is okay, too. My new dream is to be here for a long time for my family and community. And I am now living that dream!!