2009 wasn't necessarily everyone's favorite year - the
Dewsberry/Green household managed to accomplish a great
deal and wind up happy and healthy!
Rebecca and Stephen went to Toronto to celebrate the
90th birthday of Edward Green (Stephen's father).
It turned out to be a very important visit, because
Eddie (who had been living with Alzheimer's for a few
years), passed away suddenly but peacefully in February.
Stephen was able to attend the funeral and say goodbye
to a lovely man who will be greatly missed by all the
family he left behind. On another sad note,
Eddie's brother Harry passed away just a short while
very excited to be able to celebrate the hope of the new
year by travelling to Washington, D.C. to attend the
inauguration. She was actually on the mall with
all those thousands of people when President Barack
Obama became the 44th President of the United States!
February also brought our annual opportunity to host our
Gourmet Club friends - and we chose to make our dinner
theme all things "coffee" and "tea".
Rebecca came home for her spring break, and we were
thrilled to get a long over-due visit from Tanya
(Stephen's mom). While she was here, she was
able to say a final goodbye to Eddie's sister Lila, who
passed away after a thankfully short illness.
Eddie and Lila were both loving and wonderful people -
and we will miss them both very much.
Stephen and I drove up to Berkeley - in Stephen's brand
new diesel Jetta! - to attend a performance of the
musical City of Angels, in which Rebecca and the
Jazz Choir were featured. While we were there, the
three of us went to nearby Napa Valley to treat Rebecca
to her first-ever wine-tasting trip. A highlight
of the trip was a visit to a very special vegetarian
restaurant - Ubuntu - which had some of the most amazing
food we've ever eaten including an egg mousse
reconstituted to look like a fried egg; a mouth-watering
dish of fresh garden peas, mint, and white chocolate;
and a salad served over a bed of "dirt" made out of
crushed nuts, and topped with edible flowers! It
was an experience we will never forget!
In May, we
headed back up to Berkeley for the Linguistics
Department's Commencement ceremony where Rebecca
officially graduated from college! We were very
proud of her - and very excited for her future.
After graduation, she came home to Los Angeles just long
enough to get her bartending certificate (!) and to have
her wisdom teeth removed (!!), and then headed off to
Washington, D.C. for an adventurous summer as part of
the "Action Factory". This was a group sponsored
by Avaaz - an activist group committed to many liberal
causes. The Action Factory was a group of about 20
young people who lived in a house together all summer,
and were tasked with coming up with events and
"happenings" that would bring awareness to the issue of
climate change. Rebecca was involved in many
really interesting events, and the group wound up
getting a lot of coverage - including making the
Huffington Post several times.
At the end
of June, we all made it to Toronto for the much
anticipated and very classy wedding of Anthony Meles to
his bride Cathy. It was great to get to visit our
Toronto family - and to see Anthony and Cathy begin
their lives together surrounded by so much love and
Stephen and I flew out to Washington, D.C. (the first
time ever for me!) to help Rebecca move from her Action
Factory home into her new dorm/apartment (in a building
owned by the University of California) where she would be living while
doing an internship at the Department of Justice.
It was a really interesting semester for Rebecca - and
she learned a lot about what it means to work for the
government! We had a great time touring Washington
with her - despite the oppressive heat.
Rebecca and I met up in New York to celebrate her 22nd
birthday. I was in New York for the annual
conference/festival for the National Alliance for
Musical Theatre, and Rebecca took a bus in from
Washington to spend a couple of days. I had
a lot of fun taking Rebecca to all the old "haunts" we
frequented for the first two years of her life when we
lived in New York. We also managed to take in a
few Broadway shows - including the Tony award-winning
Next to Normal, and the revival of West Side
the Dewsberry clan gathered in Kansas City (at the home
of my parents, June and Art) to celebrate my Dad's 80th
birthday (last August) and my Mom's 80th birthday (next
August). It was the first time in ... ever! ...
that June and Art, their three children (Bruce, Elise,
and Fred) and their spouses (Peggy, Stephen, and Sandra)
and all four grand-daughters (Rebecca, Adrienne, Lisa,
and Cara) had gathered for Christmas dinner. June
was beside herself with joy! Things only got
better the Sunday after Christmas when the Dewsberrys
took over the Sunday church service, and then
entertained everyone at a party celebrating the two
birthdays. June and Art were serenaded by a slide
show, some poetry, and choral arrangements of "You Make
Me Feel So Young", and "Young at Heart" - with
re-written words by my old buddy, Carl Ritchie - such as
"life's a honeymoon when you know June and Art!"
It was a cold, snowy weekend - but we all celebrated the
warmth of having the family together!
a very full year of "celling" - including playing with
the Long Beach Symphony, the Long Beach Pops, the Mozart
Classical Orchestra, the South Coast Symphony, the
Hollywood Master Chorale, the Symphony in the Glen,
Disneyland's Candlelight Orchestra, and the Long Beach
Ballet; as well as playing for the shows Seven Brides
for Seven Brothers, Cats, and Nine; and of course, teaching a wide array of
private cello students and coaching the cello section of
the LA Youth Orchestra. (which might give you some idea
of why his grandmother Tillie used to ask him why he
couldn't keep a job ...!) Stephen also continues
to maintain several websites, act as IT guy for the
Academy, and serve on the Board of the Southern
California branch of the Theatre Musicians Association.
And, as you
might have guessed, I had another very busy year at the
Academy for New Musical Theatre. Some highlights
include: Salons with Richard Sherman (Mary Poppins,
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, etc.) and Stiles & Drewe
(the Broadway version of Mary Poppins); concert
readings of many new musicals including Bonnie &
Clyde by Broadway's Hunter Foster, and The Water
by Georgia Stitt (the wife of Jason Robert Brown); working with Placido
Domingo, Jr. on a new vampire musical; directing four
brand new 15-Minute Musicals; performing in our annual
Showcase; and shooting new "guerrilla" musicals
including a series at the zoo (in the picture at the top
of this letter, I am actually singing as a hippo).
ANMT accomplished this year of which we are very proud:
we produced our first show (the wonderful 40 is the New
15 at the Secret Rose Theatre which just received a
GLAAD Media Award nomination); we helped launch the
first annual New Works Festival with the staff and
students of UC/Irvine for whom we are developing a
series of new musicals; and we launched a series of LIVE
streamcasts on the web in which we were able to give
critical feedback on new musicals to writers who were
tuning in from London, Finland, Rome, and Australia!
I was also
an Ovation voter again (I saw over 60 shows this past
season!); served on the New Works Committee for the
National Alliance for Musical Theatre; and wrote
successful grant applications for grants from the City
of Los Angeles and the National Endowment for the Arts.
But my most
exciting news is that after six years as Associate
Artistic Director, the announcement was made to our
Board of Directors (just last week) that I have been
named Artistic Director! (Our current Artistic
Director, John Sparks, will be retaining his title -
ANMT will have two Artistic Directors until John
retires.) (Rebecca asked me if this promotion came
with a raise ... and I laughed heartily ... and
begins, Rebecca has finished her stint in Washington,
and has relocated to her beloved San Francisco.
She has found herself an apartment there, which she
will share with her good friend Julie (with whom she
roomed in India), and has just started a paid internship
with the California Labor Federation (in Oakland). Wish her
luck as she begins that amazing adventure called
We wish all
of you a happy and healthy 2010 - please come visit us
in beautiful southern California anytime!
Stephen, and Rebecca