Sunday, February 03, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN NUGENT
Today is the 35th birthday of my new collaborator John D. Nugent. How do you describe a most amaing gift? What sheer chance the two of us should meet. God indeed "draws straight with crooked lines". No other person that I have ever met or worked with has the singular and amazing drive this young man possesses. We celebrated his birthday at Micelli's last night and he told it was one of the few birthdays he hasn't spent eithier being sick with the flu or alone or both. I can not begin to share with you how dearly I love this kind, endearing and simple man whose amazing heart could confort six states and the District of Columbia. He comes from Erwin, Tennessee, but has also lived in the Virgina's and all over the place. His knowledge and love of musical theatre could very well be the very band-aid the Great White Way requires for future comfort and redemption. We found each other on an ASCAP website that provides a source for possible collaborators. All I had ever gotten before in the search engine here was a host of ego maniacs, demanding artists and prima donnas. But John is a simple and most amazing young artist. After all of these years of working with guys who lost passion and gave up the dream and the talent, here is one good soul who is fueled by it. He lives, breathes and exists on the air and the creative juices of the great masters, the great composers, and the incredible lyricists and librettists of musical theatre history. Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner & Lowe, Sondhiem and Cole Porter are revered and adored by this incredible craftsman. His musical talents absolutely blow me away. He supports me, puts up with my emotions, understands the way I think and hasn't a bad ego bone in his body. When he smiles, he makes you happy. When he laughs-- you laugh. When he writes--oh my sweet God how wonderful he writes. I have always been both the music and lyrics and now I do mostly lyrics but keep my hand strongly in the melody enough to be a true collaborator. Finally, there's in someone in my life who is not afriad of writing more than one musical at a time. I say we are working on four shows and he corrects me (in public, no less) and says out loud to the person we are both conversing with "It's seventeen"-- well, after all that's how many ideas we've kicked around since he landed here in September of last year. He gave up everything (including free rent living at home) and moved here to write with me-- how dedicated is that? He has helped me at work in ways never repay him for. And he has been here five months. What we have produced in five short months would absolutely astound you. It has me. And so, on this his thrity-fifth birthday I offer him this salute and my prayer of thanksgiving to God for what I call "The amazing gift" He is brilliant, kind, loving and one of the best friends I have ever had. I love all my collaborators-- most especially dear Tim Doran-- the other amazing gift of my life, but with John I have a true dreamer so much like me, so amazingly talented and some one who carries the dream torch as highly and as tenaciously and as forever as me. He has nothing to lose because he has been quite literally 'the starving artist" He has existed --sometimes for months on 'Top Ramen." He simply shows no fear because he has really truly suffered for his art. He has paid the muses dearly: and muses, dear friends can be very demanding. You want their help? Well, you had better be ready to suffer for the gift. It's not "just given" to anyone. I love music. I love creating it. I think any individual who has the chance to be truly trained in it is so damn lucky. My gift is in my head. I can't play piano or write down complicated notation, but with gifts like my dear Tim (and his amazing faith in me) and now the equally amazing John David Nugent there isn't anything I can't accomplish. Even at age sixty, I now have new ambitions of the highest magnitude. Thank you John and a most happy birthday. Maybe by this time next year we can celibrate in New York. Maybe two or three shows at once. Who knows? We can now take Creative Horizons and market "The Traveling Companion', "Sevenly", "The Runaway Heart", "Edgar, Alan & Poe" "The Wild Swans" and "The Ghost Who Saved Broadway" and even "Young MacDonald" to audiences all over the world. Thank you, God-- thank you for the many gifts-- including Tony westbrook, Terry Snyder, Brian Martin, Randall Louis Ames, Eddy Clement and J. Eric Schmidt, and our engineer at Smooth Sound Studios, Mr. Robert Roth. I bow in hiumble gratitude for them all. Now with John, there is an even bolder chance for it all to come true! He just might be the magic that the old creative garden has always required.