adios, 2015!

February, 2016

Dear Ones,

We had a GREAT 2015 – with Stephen back to being a professional free-lance cellist; Elise getting lots of opportunities to perform; Rebecca finding Carl; and all of us eating lots of great food!

Stephen made two trips to Toronto: one in February, and then again in November to celebrate his mom’s 90th birthday (congratulations, Tanya!).   He also traveled to Europe in June (with the Los Angeles Youth Ochestra), and San Francisco in August for the Theatre Musician’s Association Conference.  Along with his regular coaching of the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra, the Verdugo Youth Orchestra, and the Harmony Project, Stephen also managed to exercise his professional chops as part of the Beverly Hills Music Festival, the Burbank Philharmonic, the Disneyland Candlelight Concerts, the Nutcracker Ballet, and the orchestras of productions of SPRING AWAKENING and DAMN YANKEES (and he will be in the orchestra of CHILDREN OF EDEN next month).  Stephen’s other exciting news is that he got to spend an entire night being “rained” on for a commercial for the American Cancer Society (see pix and the commercial itself below).

Rebecca finished up her first year of teaching high school in the Bronx, and was brave enough to sign on for another year!  Near the end of her first year, she traveled to Nashville for the wedding celebration of Emma (her childhood buddy from Toronto).  Emma’s brother Alex (who now lives in Calgary) also came to the celebration, and brought his current roommate, Carl Ermelbauer. Rebecca and Carl hit it off, and have been traveling back and forth between New York, Calgary, and Los Angeles ever since to spend time with each other.  Stephen and I met Carl briefly at the end of the summer, and then again when Rebecca and Carl came to spend the Xmas holidays in sunny LA.  We had fun making a Latke Brunch together (including Rebecca’s great idea to make a version of Eggs Florentine with a latke replacing the English muffin!); and we indulged ourselves with a visit to the incredible and exclusive Le Comptoir restaurant..  Rebecca and Carl also did some local traveling, and spent New Year’s on a yacht out of San Diego harbor.  Carl is planning to move to New York next month, and he and Rebecca will look for a place together.  Carl is an amazing young man, and we are thrilled that he seems well aware of what an amazing person Rebecca is.  We look forward to visiting them once they’ve set up their new household in New York!

Elise had her usual busy year with the regular programs at New Musicals Inc., including producing the STAGES Festival over the summer.  She also got to do lots of performing, including a reading of MARY MARIE at the Chance Theatre; filming as a CVS clerk in an internet short; playing the Leprechaun Queen (don’t ask) for Cathy Rigby; taking part in the Confidential Musical Theatre Project version of URINETOWN starring French Stewart; taking on four roles in four new 15 Minute Musicals in NMI’s FORKS IN THE ROAD; and – most recently – reprising the role of “Domina” in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.  Elise played the role (with the same director) 15 years ago for Musical Theatre West,, and is now doing it for Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks.

Elise also got to visit her folks (June and Art) in Kansas City; head to New York for the NAMT Conference (and see six shows in five days); be hired to give advice to Richard Maltby (Broadway writer/director) of about his new Broadway-bound musical; and perform jury duty!

We were also happy to spend time with our Long Beach family for Passover, and again for Murray Sokoloff’s fantastic 90th birthday celebration.

We are blessed to be healthy and happy – and wish all of you the same as we head into 2016!

Much love,

Elise, Stephen, and Rebecca

(Above) Stephen and Elise celebrating 32 years; (Right) Stephen and Elise doing more celebrating

Above: Stephen and Rebecca at Anna's Wine Bar; Left: Elise and Rebecca enjoying The Lamb's Club in NYC for Rebecca's 28th birthday.

ABOVE: Rebecca, Elise, and Grandma June at the new IKEA in Kansas City!; LEFT: Stephen and Carl cooking latkes.

Pix from Stephen's commercial shoot for the American Cancer Society (and the actual video of the commercial itself - below)

LEFT: Elise at the 3D Theatricals Gala on the Queen Mary; ABOVE: Elise with the URINETOWN cast, and Elise helping with the green screen shoot at NMI

New look for New Musicals Inc. (Elise's paint job, inside and out!)

Elise’s Mom’s Video appeal for NMI’s Kickstarter campaign – it really worked!

ABOVE: Elise stars as a singing CVS clerk in an NMI Internet Short; and BELOW: Elise sings the message in NMI’s first holiday greeting card.

Elise hosted the 15 Minute Musicals - FORKS IN THE ROAD - and was also in four of the shows!

Elise as Domina in 2001

Elise as Domina in 2016

Elise in rehearsal

Elise in make-up

Dinner at Le Comptoir


The day after Christmas, when Carl joined us in Los Angeles, the four of us headed out for an extraordinary culinary experience at Le Comptoir Restaurant.  Le Comptoir is located in the beautiful Hotel Normandie in Los Angeles (the picture to the left is the lobby of the hotel, where we waited to be “summoned” by the chef).  The cuisine at Le Comptoire is Chef Gary Menes’ culinary perspective, served counter-side.  That means that the restaurant itself is simply a long counter that seats only 10-12 diners, and reservations must be made in advance. They feature a daily changing menu showcasing seasonal ingredients sourced from their own organic urban garden Gladys Ave Farm in Long Beach highlighted by innovative and classical techniques.

"amuse bouche"

awesome kale chips!

first course

halloween pumpkin veloute, creme fraiche, fried bread crumbs

second course

vegetable and fruit plate.  left: being prepared; above: being served.

third course:

63 degree poached hen egg, beurre noisette, chive concasse, reggiano, lettuce (and INCREDIBLE bread!)

fourth course

musque de provence squash from the garden, faro, green beans, pomegranate and pumpkin seed relish, jus d’onion

fifth course

fricasse of mushrooms, potato puree, snow peas, x-mas lima beans, red scallion

alternative fourth course

pasta alla chitarra, white alba truffles


made several different ways…

sixth course

left: spice cake, caramel sauce, salted pecans, frozen yogurt
right: chef’s choice of three cheeses

What an extraordinary evening.  One we will definitely never forget!


Here’s to 2016!