Monday, December 30, 2013

To 2014...

I've been thinking about this post for a while now, and like many of my posts, I've waited to the last moment to write it. Sometimes bottling it all up to create a combustion effect does help...

I thought about going through everything I've done, everything I've learned, mantras and ideas for the upcoming year: repeat what everyone else does. But that sounds quite boring. Not that accomplishments are great, but why spout it all out here. (hash-tag, read this Annoying Actor Friend blog post:

I'm taking a break from this blog. Slash, it may end right here. Actually, it is ending here.

I've enjoyed having an opportunity to recount my journey (so far) in this internet desert-land, but becoming the actor in the above article just can't be an option.

Come the New Year (aka, two days) I'm going off Facebook and Twitter for an entire year. Now, this may be the best or worst decision I've made since choosing the "acting" profession. I see the amazing aspects of how social media gets my name out there as an artist, but I am refusing to believe that it's the only way.

To be honest, this decision started forming after all the blow-up around NBC's "The Sound of Music". The utter drive of people in my business needing to be cruel, clever, and humorous (many trying to do all three at once) put quite a sour taste in my mouth for social media and its inherent implications on our society. We all know it: social media, while keeping us uber-connected, is actually pushing us farther apart.

I'm just done with that.

Will it be harder to stay in contact with friends and family? Of course. But it's possible... (I'm obviously singing the Whitney Houston version right now, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, then I'm sad for you). I want to see what I can get done in a year without Facebook or Twitter. For some reason, I feel like Instagram is fine. There's the artistic aspect that I still cherish. So that'll continue. But who knows, maybe I'll actually start taking real photos with a real camera...

Some people will think this is all crazy, but I'd like to think that I am pioneering through and past this addiction we have all succumbed to. I know I'll have withdrawals, but I'm excited to experience what I can fill within those voids.

In case you want to keep in contact, my email address is Feel free to email me whenever. Or even send me your snail mail address! What a concept, huh?

Join me? I dare you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

One Year with The Berloni's + Remembering to Dream

Rehearsal shoes and mirrors broke into my memory banks last week:

It's been a full year since my first gig with The Berloni's.

What an incredible year it has been - - to say the least. I'm not only working in theatre, but I'm back onstage again, and it feels oh so nice. The gratitude that comes through words of a blog post can't express all that I truly feel. I've learned a crazy-stupid amount about theatre, our animal kin, and myself throughout some of the hardest and most rewarding regional productions.

To top it off, being a part of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's production of "Annie" as actor and handler at this point of my yellow brick road with the Berloni's is making me scream, "OH MY GOD YOU GUYS!!!" (That's dog-handler humor...)

As I sit here with Macy Moo, who is curled up so comfortably on the couch, I am filled with fervor and inspiration. I'm beginning to understand more and more that while my first year away from the Big Bad Apple has been overflowing with greatness, I also lost the drive for many of my dreams. Trying to remember those once ever-present dreams, my mind went blank. Blank: simply unknowing of what to build toward.

"When you have a dream, you have everything."

New York City beat me down, much more than I had realized. It's taken this year to see that and to know that it's not just me that city is pulverizing. I'm stronger than what I sometimes feel; remembering this can only push my foot take another step.

I needed this year away to understand this, to get back to my dreams. The dreams are currently stuck in foggy gorges of my mind/soul/heart, but I'm doing my darndest to rekindle their spirits. It's sad that it's so hard to dream again, but I guess that's what happens when waking dreams up from such slumberous sleep. Alas, dragons will be doused, fairies followed, and dominion demanded.

Another diving board. Here we go.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Future.

I recently came to a prompt in my journal based on a line from Baz Luhrmann's "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen", a message to the class of 1999:


I've always believed this future to be the one years from now. The one where we've succeeded at our career, where we've collected the family, where we've seen "it". But I've been hitting blockades recently that I know are keeping me from whatever "it" is. It's the minor stuff like starting my new knitting project, reaching out to a friend, and writing a blog post.

Procrastination doesn't fully express these blockades. And it's not the fear of starting. It's the fear of starting and not having it be correct. There are times when the tools just haven't formed to feel comfortable taking the next step; I fear going forward empty handed.

What I'm realizing though is that the majority of these tools bubble to existence in the midst of the action. It's when my fear gets in the way that I am unable to grasp them to ultimately use them.

The future that I have been worrying about is the one ten minutes ahead of me. That's the future to release all expectations from, allowing it to flow whatever way it does into my travels.

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present."
- Lao Tzu

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Somehow July feels like years ago. But I can't believe it's already August. Does that happen to you? It's a weird, recent phenomenon of mine: unbelieving that "time" has past so quickly while also feeling as though that "time" was years ago.

Flying time, twirling like a vulture in the blue.

July was a whirlwind of emotions that have begun to streamline as we've spun into August. My time at Theatre By The Sea - with their production of "Annie" - was the hardest and best experience I've had in a long time.

This was the first show where I was dog-handling as well as performing in the ensemble. Now, I haven't performed in a full scale musical since "The Producers" two years ago... I was terrified and ecstatic all at once. I fell back into rehearsal mode and was reminded me why I'm in this fields; my love of performing and the camaraderie of show-people sparked a super-nova within me. There were the little moments throughout the show (a short jump sequence as a sailor in NYC, singing Ab's in Tomorrow Reprise, a quick comic exit with Ms. Hannigan) that brought life to the dormant actor within my varied soul.

Of course I could not forget the constant magic that is working with animals onstage. Macy truly is a special soul. With a past that would haunt any animal, Macy has risen from ashes to be one of Bill's stars. Her love and trusting outlook is something I strive for in my own life. We had 4 different Annies in a 6 week process, which is unheard of and could have been disastrous for Macy. But she rose above, rising to the occasion like a true professional.

Amidst all the craziness that was this production, I reverted back to an over-analytical, fearful individual: second-guessing choices, feeling lost - similar to that of an addict who begins abusing again. I am able to stand here now and acknowledge these behaviors (that are still flaring up from time to time), while having amazing individuals around me who help me snap out of this destructive mode. And to them, I am too grateful (if that's even possible).

I cannot wait to bring my now packed tool-belt with me to my next dog-handling gig. Next up is a "Legally Blonde" out in Long Beach, CA with Frankie for the fall, then to Jupiter, FL for the winter with Macy for another "Annie" (that I will get to perform in as well).

This must all be a dream I'm living: so grateful.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

What to say?

I told myself I would blog once a month.

Scrambling, I've searched my insides for anything to write on.

Now it's an evening of June 30th, and time ticks towards July.

So here I am.

For this -

What to say?

Life is great and filled with gratitude.

I have work in theater; what else can someone ask for?

Transitions are beginning to settle.

In turn, they are creating habits upon which to build.

Sharing a world of dreams.

Here I twirl on.

And that's so much more than dandy for me.

I hope you check back in again when I have more to say.

Thanks for joining me in my blissful joy of this moment.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

To the festival! The festival? The festival! The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival?

Who knew Sondheim and sheep would ever collide. I sure didn't. And yet, here it has.

Blogs: bringing weird shit together.

I recently returned to New England after spending a week back at Shepherd's Hey Farm. Having a few weeks in between gigs, I was overjoyed when my time off coincided with the infamous Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival's 40th Anniversary weekend. For many years, Lee has shown and sold sheep and fleeces at the festival. She also volunteers to help run this massive event, which collects vendors and sheepsman/woman from around the country. Seriously... People drive out from California to show their stock at this festival.

It's SHEEP PRIME TIME, at its finest.

Having had won sheep-showmanship at the Guilford Fair my senior year of high school (one of my proudest trophies), I was so excited to be in front of a crowd with a sheep by my side. I also knew this to be an exciting yet tiring time for Lee, so the extra hand I would be, helping feed the still nursing ewes mornings and evenings, plus the 5+ bottle babies she has at the farm. Yes, back to feeding lambs bottles; I had missed it.

This weekend is a true celebration of the sheep and all they have to offer. Sheep provide us with some of the most sustainable factors: food, clothing, and mowing the lawn. But seriously, look at sheep for a moment. I dare you to find out all the ways sheep affect our world - more importantly, your world.

In this/my year of the sheep, I am cultivating a relationship with these creatures whom I first believed to be quite dumb, spastic, and delicious. When working with sheep, you have to take away an aspect of our United States humanity: we must be patient beings.

This is something I uncovered early on this year, but it took a new form this past week. All of a sudden, patience didn't mean waiting for these passive creatures to calm down before taking them by forceful surprise. Patience means coming to the level upon which they stake ground, understanding what they must be going through, knowing when and where to apply pressure, and more importantly knowing when to release. It's the release that immediately sends a direct line of trust and compassion, producing a bond of honest affection: being there for one another.

Now what would theatre be like if we could tap into that kind of patience? What would humanity be like?

Thank you to all the volunteers who made the 40th Anniversary of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival such an amazing weekend. As a first-timer, I look forward to many years to come. And thank you to Shepherd's Hey Farm for letting me join in with their award-winning sheep and wool! What a blast!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Return to the Fold.

"Would you like to help us choreograph the rest of this year's musical at GHS?"

The call came from Kevin Buno, choir teacher extraordinaire plus this year's director of Guilford High School Theatre Art's production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee".

"Of course! I would be so honored!" I responded energetically.

Pulling up to my high school alma mater that first day of rehearsal was nerve racking to say the least. I wasn't sure if I had had enough time away from the dilapidated halls of those high school years. But, when I stepped into that auditorium (still run-down and dreary) I knew I was home.

At Middlebury, my Education Studies minor focused in grades K-6, the main reason being that the thought of working with high schoolers scared me. Why? Not completely sure. All I knew was I didn't want to venture back into those surprisingly emotion ridden days. And yet here I was, looking out at the scratchy-blue folding seats of the high school auditorium, placing myself at the front-line, unknowing of what I had agreed to.

It took me a while to understand how to relate to high schoolers. These kids weren't the second graders I taught at Middlebury. They weren't the college and graduate students at CLOC. And they weren't the equity actors at Ivoryton. I was learning on the go while pushing for and expecting greatness, knowing GHSTA could only produce that.

I ruffled feathers because I'm a hard-ass. The students pushed my boundaries and I in turn pushed theirs, balancing out to a stupendous working relationship that surfaced endless amounts of respect and laughter from both sides of the coin.

I remember sitting in my Guidance Counselor's office my sophomore year at GHS. Ms. Scaccia turned to me in the middle of our talk (it was probably a Thursday and I most likely had already been in two times earlier that week) and said to me, "Schuyler, you're ready for college, aren't you?"

I was. I couldn't wait to get out of GHS. I had friends, but I felt like the majority of them failed to extend past the final bell. Theatre was there, but I still felt like something in my friendships was missing, that individuals didn't care enough about me to want to get together outside of school. Everyone was going to parties, getting togethers, seeing movies, and I was rarely invited.

As I left our absolutely joyous, riveting, and hilarious opening last night, I realized that it wasn't anything my high school friends were doing (or rather, what they weren't doing) to make me feel so alone: it was me. I could only imagine how difficult and annoying it was to hang out with closeted Schuyler; oof, that sounds like torture. Now looking back, all I can say is it was what it was. All those high school days of worry and frustration didn't have anything to do with my peers; it was all me when you boil it down.

Now, how you get to this kind of realization by choreographing a high school production of "...Spelling Bee" I'm not entirely sure. But I do know that these students' love, support, and willingness to learn AND be themselves was by far the dominant factor. I am so grateful for this opportunity and am looking forward to heading back to GHSTA in upcoming months, giving back any way I can to a program that shaped who I am today as not only a performer, but a person as well.

I encourage all my high school friends to take a trip back to the fold. Who knows what you'll discover...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Separated from the Flock.

I knew in leaving the city, I would be distancing myself from a whole network I had woven together. These individuals come from all walks of life, bringing their vibrant selves and driven goals into the fold, ultimately inspiring a force to be reckoned with in this creative world. Leaving their immediate sides was extremely hard, but I understood, and continue to see, that moving back to Connecticut was the best decision for me and my career. 

Being an only child, I'm used to being alone. If I don't have my alone time, I'll become a nasty bitch. I've recognized this and just make sure to take that time consciously and willingly. But, I miss my quilted family from the city and the abilities to easily snuggle in when that contact, that connection, is needed. Here in Connecticut, there simply are more times when I feel alone, and all I want to do is cry out like that lamb separated from her flock, hoping someone will come find me.

It's doable, going into the city and seeing people. But it's on that cusp of being easy and difficult. This seesaw effect is surprisingly trying on the soul. Plans made are now an event, every time, when before it could be a break. Thus, I usually revert to staying home to make it all "easier".  

One fact I kept sharing with patrons and creatives at Long Wharf Theater was that sheep are super responsive to the energy around them. They're herd animals, they have to be aware of what's going on around them or they could be left behind, alone and vulnerable: the worst fate for a sheep. So, if the audience or actors were excited, so was Edie. And on the other side, if people were calm, she was calm. All she wanted to do was be with those around her; there is a safety in numbers, being with others. 

I have realized that I need to make more of an effort to go into the city and see those people who make me laugh, think, and create by the love and light they naturally emanate. I must file back into that herd mentality every now and again to check in with those I love, and in return, grow myself. The social animal I became in the city is still alive in me and needs its flock more often. So now it's a factor of switching my mind set: make the "event" a "break". 

It's possible because it has to be. 

Along with this, I hope to weave another family here in Connecticut. It's time - now that I have the time - to get out there and find those like-minded peers. As much as I yearn for this social-ness of life, there is something so middle-school-scary about throwing yourself into new social situations. And yet, it must happen.

So, here's to jumping up and out with both feet. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A lamb is in my house...

There’s a stage-sheep living in my house. 

Her name is Little Edie. And yes, before you ask, she was named after Little Edie from “Grey Gardens”: the obvious choice. 

And so the year of the sheep continues with this beautiful little addition to the Boston Street Beeman Family.  

I’ve recently began working with William Berloni, the original Sandy trainer for “Annie”, who has created a career around humanely integrating animals onto stage creations. Bill rescues all of the animals he works with: the true example of second chances. Be sure to check out his website to see all the shows he's been a part of plus all the animals he's worked with!

As for Edie, this is her big stage debut! At 3 weeks old, I’d say we’re giving Mama Rose a run for her money... We’re part of Long Wharf Theater’s production of “Curse of the Starving Class” by Sam Shepard, which specifically calls for a live lamb onstage for two scenes of the play. The whole cast and crew is in love with Edie, and she knows it. #DIVA 

Do you train a lamb? Ummm... Well, you make a lamb comfortable onstage, and that’s exactly what we did so she is as happy as a clam. Her crib is covered with blankets with lamb chow sprinkled on top, plus her favorite chew toy, my old Docksider. Lambs chew on everything (the more dangerous the better as I have learned). I have trained my eye to see every possible lamb-chewable object and quickly be able to put it out of lamb's reach. So, if you ever need to lamb proof your house, you know where to go...

After the show ends, Edie will be adopted out to a farm where she’ll live out her days as quite a special sheep. Upon green hills, she’ll share her stage stories as the star of Sam Shepard’s play (at least that’s what she believes, and I just go with it; what’s the point of bringing a 3 week old back to reality?).

Whenever I explain Edie's schedule, they marvel: “She’s just like a baby!” Well... She is. She has a schedule for bottles, napping and exercise, I’m changing diapers multiple times a day (Picture it... Huggie’s new spokes-sheep: Edie, Sheep Stage Star.), plus, I'm doing everything I can to make sure that she has the best life she possibly can.

“How are you gonna let her go? Won’t you miss her?”

We shan’t be talking of such subjects at this moment...

If you’re in the Connecticut area, come on out to see Edie’s one-time only stage debut! She’s a knock-out! Follow this link to Long Wharf Theater’s website for more information:

Also check out our interview with the New Haven Independent plus an exclusive look inside our dressing room:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Year of the Sheep.

Sheep seem to be an integral part of 2013 for me. The first quarter of this year is associated with these creatures in many ways, and all by chance. 

I feel like it means something. 

As I sit at the Shepherd's Hey Farm kitchen table here in Maryland, I wait another night for ewes to go into labor, to experience innocence's birth. I thought this "New Year" post would have come earlier, having had been there for the immaculate mucus and blood of a life's beginning. I had imagined the life-changing secrets to be had, to be held, ultimately to be shared here as a big-bang-start for this new year of sheep.

What I'm learning though is that Nature has it's own course, bringing with it a whole new sense of what patience not only means, but entails. Thus, I shall put into practice what Nature continues to put forward, bringing her teachings into the full experience of waiting for this truly miraculous occasion to come.

Why then am I writing if I haven't yet had this pictured experience? Lee Langstaff, who runs Shepherd's Hey Farm, sent me the following Op-Ed from the NY Times that is not only fitting for my year of the sheep, but also for my reasoning in taking steps away from city-life to reconnect with Nature herself. 


One Life in One Place

by Roger Coehn 
Llangurig, WALES
I came up to this small Welsh village the other day to celebrate one life lived in one place over 83 years at one with the land and with God — the kind of life that is dying out in a restless world. 
The life belonged to Alun Jones, born in 1929, the youngest of seven children, on a farm in central Wales called Ystradolwyn. He never moved from there. He knew every inch of the dales and, it seemed, every one of his sheep. He loved the lambing season. London, a five-hour drive away, was a remote universe. He liked a bit of banter in his cheery voice. But, as his Presbyterian minister Jenny Garad put it at his funeral service, he believed above all that, “You got on with it.”
Jones died last week after his lungs, the source of that voice so often raised in joyous song, gave out. He was a neighbor of sorts. My father bought the next-door farm 40 years ago. His amazement at my wandering never abated. “Well, boyo,” he would say, and shake his head; and when once again after a couple of days I made the unwise decision to leave those dales, he would bid me “Tara” with a wave of his stick. 
I was talking to his son Tony, who runs the farm now, a couple of days before the funeral service. We mused on Alun’s life and his loss. Then Tony brought the conversation to a close saying he had to finish building a fence up in the wood. “You got on with it.” 
Urban livers wallow in emotion — about death among other things — because of a dearth of necessity. Cut off from natural patterns of life and death, they become sentimental. Reality shows take the place of the realities of life. You do not find heroes among the dales. The word would be considered indulgent. You do what has to be done. 
A vast human experiment is under way: What happens to humanity when it is cut off from the anchors of rural life? As early as the 11th century a French cleric named Marbod noted that, “Town takes a man out of the truth of himself.” 
One of the scariest things I have read recently was this: “Owing to rapid urbanization in the developing world, the volume of urban construction for housing, office space and transport services over the next 40 years could roughly equal the entire volume of such construction to date in world history.” 
That sentence appeared in a study of the future published late last year by the U.S. National Intelligence Council. This spreading gridlocked concrete jungle will cater to the 60 percent of the world population (4.9 billion people of a projected 8.3 billion) who will be living in cities by 2030, up from about 50 percent today. In 1950, less than a third of humanity was urban. 
The problems arising from this rapid transformation are usually framed in economic terms — water and energy supply, transportation challenges, housing. But the deeper question is moral.
Once most of humanity is estranged from nature, rootless, unfamiliar with the rhythms of the seasons and the cycle of passing and renewal, bound by material considerations alone, uncomfortable with solitude and silence and darkness, jostled by the crowd and the hum and the neon, the danger is that some essential ethical ballast and reference is lost. 
The funeral was about essentials. It was held in an unadorned chapel. The minister related how Jones did not talk much about his faith but expressed it in the hymns he loved to sing. “Faith gave him joy in living and courage in dying,” she said. 
She quoted from John, Chapter 10: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees.” 
The minister did not talk about a contemporary culture of hirelings — here was a faith that would never hector, that was not angry, that was intrinsic to community. An all-male choir raised their beautiful Welsh voices. The roof might have lifted off to the heavens. 
Afterward, at the graveside, there was a last hymn: “In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” 
Back at Ystradolwyn, there was news: A January lamb! It never happens but had. Last year a ewe fell on her back and when that happens she cannot get up. The crows come and always go straight for the eyes. Why, nobody knows. The ewe usually dies, infected through her eyes.
Jones had put the ewe in with the rams for protection just in case she survived — and this one had. In fact she had not merely been kept safe but pestered by the rams. And here — in the form of a January lamb from a blinded ewe — was the fruit. 
“Look after the stock and the stock will look after you,” Jones once told me. Now over in the sweet by and by, he would have liked this story of near-death and life.