Saturday, September 21, 2013


John Cullum, answering Em's query, describes how he feels on opening nights.

He has no "knock on wood" traditions" but confesses that on opening nights, he sweats.

Describing what a stagehand noticed him doing before the opening of a Broadway musical, John reveals how Richard Burton staved off the jitters on opening nights.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Shakespeare said, in "Macbeth" --            
"This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
 Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself
Unto our gentle senses.”

Pictures of homes in magazines seduce me.

Would I want to live there flies into my mind and flies out of my mind, as I turn the page and see another mansion, a country house, a cottage tucked into the trees.

In my mind, I enter the huge elegant homes -- estates with monumental entrances -- explore attics, tread on the rambling porches, drive on the swirling driving ways, and applaud the swimming pools and gardens, as I'm calculating the number of rooms, baths, and kitchens, and estimating what it would cost to buy the place.

The price doesn't bother me. It's just part of my trip into another life.

I live in the tower room, pace on the widows' walk; I peek into the master bedrooms, check out the kitchen, the library, the sun-room, and bathrooms, estimating how many employees I'd need to maintain things. 

Inside the house pictures, I am old-fashioned, and also renovated and up-to-date modern, as I'm using the latest practical conveniences. I am grandly,  queenly rich, as I ponder how to clean all those windows looking out onto other homes on the hills and in the valleys below the sky and the mountains I've never before seen.

In his book, "Who Owns the Mountains," Henry Van Dyke said "They were all ours, from crested cliff to wooded base"

Who owns the mountains the lawns, driveways, gardens, the mansions, country houses, cottages, all those castles tucked into the trees?

I do. I do.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Listen my children and you shall hear, facts of life that you must gear yourself not to fear.

Dancer Em, in her youth, learned to SELL her looks, promote her resumé, make brochures, flyers, write ad copy, and  SELL exciting, varied, choreography.

You SELL -- you have to keep SELLING if you want to get a career going.

You are a secretary writing letters. You are a phone operator making and answering calls. You are a file clerk, typist, bookkeeper. And errand girl, messenger service, cleaning girl, shopper, chief cook, bottle-washer -- PLUS the do-everything-gal-Friday, every day of the week.

"Success" becomes SELLING more so, SELLING harder.

As you mature, you become a CEO, boss, leader, personnel manager in charge of hiring helpers and professionals to create fancier ads and brochures, while you are SELLING tickets to performances, SELLING agents on selling you and your ever larger organization, -- all this while you are mothering high and low level employees such as dancers, actors, musicians, or seamstress, tailor. chauffeur, floor mopper. 

You SELL-SELL promoting your various doings -- projects that are a big hit or not a big hit -- turning them into smash hits in ads, at interviews, lunches, cocktail parties with critics and your peers, SELLING yourself gracefully, humbly, honestly, eloquently as you are transforming yourself into a successful, sophisticated "somebody."

Everything Em created --- "Cyrano" (made money), "People in Show Biz"  (lost money); "Shattering Panes," Off-Broadway and "Kings"  On Broadway.(lost money); all the other plays, projects, readings, showcases, (even the book about Em that a sports writer wrote), required publicists, PR agents, producers, fund-raising, and SELLING.

Even giving away tickets, padding the house requires SELLING. That's reality.

Like a salesclerk behind the counter, like the poor flower girl, you continue to SELL YOU -- your ideas, your stuff, your talents, in order to acquire the very best manager, top notch lawyer -- yes, even a maid.

Then, only then, confidently, knowledgeably, humbly, honestly, you write your first novel, and while you're selling it, write another and another, and another.

'Tis reality. more or less the end of Em's story
of how to attain and maintain, without fear, an everlasting career, plus some fun, and a modicum of glory.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Em, asking what was your favorite outfit, gets John remembering the huge number of hand-me-downs he inherited from his large family, and a precious pair of white shoes.

Recalling what she found in his duffel bag, when they began to live together, Em reveals that she bought "pink" things for John, back in the days when she shopped and was making shirts for his "New York Actor's" wardrobe.