time to put 2016 behind us!

January, 2017

Dear Ones,

Well, 2016 was a year full of controversy and division in our country – but for a moment, we’d like to concentrate on all the things that managed to still make it a good year for our family.

The year started out with Elise getting the chance to reprise the role of “Domina” in the musical farce A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  Way back in 2001, Elise played the role under director Lewis Wilkenfeld for Musical Theatre West.  This time it was for the same director, but at Cabrillo Music Theatre in Thousand Oaks.  What a blast!  Other highlights of the year included: a crazy 59th birthday extravangza adventure of a day on Catalina Island that involved some “firsts” (first time zip-lining; scuba diving; and riding in a helicopter!); directing the 2016 Fifteen Minute Musicals; performing in the Sierra Madre Playhouse reading of Mary Marie; directing the super-sized concert reading of the new musical Invisible along with 3D Theatricals Artistic Director T.J. Dawson; hosting NMI’s sixth incarnation of the BIZ OF THE MUSICAL THEATRE BIZ Conference for musical theatre writers; a stint as Foreperson on a federal jury (for a case of police brutality); heading to New York for the annual fall NAMT Conference; tons of feedback and dramaturgy for musicals including the Broadway bound Empire; and launching the new season at New Musicals Inc.  Not to mention accomplishing an overhaul of elisedewsberry.com that now includes lots of video and audio clips of performances (check it out from the HOME page of this site.)

Stephen had a very busy year with coaching the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and the Verdugo Youth Orchestra; as well as teaching with the Harmony Project; and doing lots of gigging including stints with Damn Yankees and Children of Eden at Cabrillo, the Disney Candlelight Concerts, the Nutcracker, shooting a video for the singer “Adele”, and – a very exciting first – a three week tour of CHINA with the Hollywood Concert Orchestra (check out Stephen’s fun pictures from the trip below).  Despite losing his wallet, and then his phone; and breaking his glasses; and having to use really crummy borrowed cellos for all the concerts; and the whole group missing their flight home and having to spend an extra night in Shanghai – Stephen had a great time and would love to be invited back next year!

Rebecca continued for her third year teaching high school seniors at the Bronx Lab School – but the highlight of her year was when Carl Ermelbauer left his job in Alberta, packed up his car, and moved to New York.  Rebecca and Carl now have their own beautiful apartment in Harlem – and have added the sweet calico cat Potemkin to their family.

When Elise’s Mom (June) heard about Elise’s Catalina zip-lining – she decided she wanted to do the same for her 86th birthday.  So, in August, Elise, Stephen, Rebecca, and Carl all converged on Kansas City to join June and Art and to head to KC Zip for Mom’s birthday.  We had a blast for the first two legs of the zip – but then, unfortunately, Mom (while heading to the next part of the zip through the forest path) tripped on an extra long shoe lace, and fell and broke her ankle.  Paramedics had to come help get her to the hospital, and she spent the next couple of months (after surgery that involved plates and pins) learning how to navigate from a wheelchair.  But she never let it get her down – and she doesn’t regret going zip lining at all.  In fact, she plans on celebrating her 87th by going indoor sky-diving!

In June, Elise & Stephen spent a day in Ojai – hiking and visiting a spa and a wine bar (and surviving 104 degree weather).  In August, we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary by spending the day hiking in Solstice Canyon (near Malibu) and then treating ourselves to a lovely lunch at Geoffrey’s on the ocean.  In early November, Stephen was thrilled to be able to go to Toronto to take part in the celebration of his mom’s (Tanya) 91st birthday with all the Toronto family.  Later in November, we were so proud and happy to do our civic duty and head to the voting booth – but neither proud nor happy with the outcome for our country.  In December, because Stephen was going to be in China through all the holidays – we decided to celebrate Hannukah, Xmas, and New Year’s all in one day!

Coming up: Rebecca and Carl are planning a trip to Paris in February; and Elise is planning a 60th birthday concert at Rockwell Table & Stage. Save the date – Sunday, March 19th at 7pm – to hear Elise perform songs written expressly for her birthday by some great musical theatre writers!

None of us knows what the future holds – and many of us are trepidatious about it – but for now we count our many blessings and are happy to have all of you as part of our family!

Much love,

Elise, Stephen, Rebecca, Carl (and Potemkin!)

Some Highlights with Family

Our All-Holidays Day


Rebecca organized a karaoke party for her 29th birthday – and Elise happened to be in town.  After much coaxing – Elise agreed to sing.  (Generally, I hate karaoke because as a “professional” – I prefer to rehearse in my key!)  The video starts a little late (because Rebecca happened to be in the bathroom when they called Elise up to sing) – but as you will hear, the crowd seemed to get a big kick out of an old broad belting out Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” from FOLLIES.

Elise's 59th birthday adventure on Catalina Island

June's 86th birthday Zip-line adventure

More pix!

click the arrows for lots more pix in each segment…

fun with food…

Hiking Days

Elise’s faces…

Elise’s year…

Stephen in China…

A New Home for Rebecca and Carl (and Potemkin!)

Rebecca and Carl enjoy life together


God help us, every one!