For more than twenty years I’ve dreamed variations on a theme:

I’m in a show I haven’t rehearsed for. I can’t find my costume. And I never get to the stage.

Recently, I dreamed I showed up to sing with the good people of First Presbyterian Church of Burlington, NC, and someone asked me to sing “Bring Him Home” from the Les Miz. Alain Boublil and Claude Michel Schonberg would be in attendance.

My friend Bill Solo (who played Jean Valjean on Broadway and many national tours) was going to accompany me, and I’d come prepared to this dream! I brought not one but TWO copies of the song with me.

As I walked in a smooth fashion to the piano (just as I teach my students to do), I couldn’t find the sheet music.

It disappeared from my binder.

I learned this event also happened to be a party? Hosted by voice actor queen Tara Strong, it turned out.

And since I still couldn’t find my music (neither copy), we decided I’d sing later.

I never got to sing the song.

I even asked Tara if she could help me print the music from Music Notes.

She said, “Sure!” and walked over to a computer she called Doja Cat, and told it what we needed.

It didn’t print my music, but it did pop out a delicious autumn-themed meal featuring roasted squash and rosemary.

If you have insight on what my subconscious has been trying to communicate to me ever since college with these never-making-it-to-the-stage dreams, fill me in, Dr. Freud.

But do you ever experience this feeling of thwart in your artistic life?

You send the emails. You make your own things. You invite the people. You post on the platforms. You show up at the auditions. You take the classes. You worry if maybe you’re becoming transactional in your relationships.

And still you feel a little like me in my dreams where my costumes disappear off the rack and the hallway from the dressing room to stage left gets all morphed like Dr. Strange meets Inception.

I recently wanted to be seen for a project. My terrific agent said, “I’ll reach out to casting.” Thanks 👍. Crickets. I even went in for an open call for the project. More crickets (it felt like). I knew folks involved and everything. Not a fit.

In fact, most attempts I’ve made to audition for projects since the panorama, doors have remained closed.

The story that goes through my head: They think I’m a professor person now. Or they’re not thinking about me at all.

Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe there’s a grain of accuracy there. Dunno. No one’s confirmed or denied.

But when I slow down and listen to my life in this season, I see that I’ve had all this amazing time holding my boys’ hands at bedtime.

And teaching keeps finding me.

(Even at my last audition, I ran into a long time student from LA who needed a hug, some love, and a few therapeutic vocal exercises.)

I remember something I often tell students: a closed door is direction.

I look around at the closed doors, and I realize a few things.

There are just a few roles in current musical theatre that I want to play right now.

And the roles I really want to play? Someone needs to write them. And that someone is me.

I’m working on it. Along with the book I’m writing. (I’ll let you know if I can work on two projects at once.)

So, if you’re like me in my anxiety reveries, and you hear the show starting on the monitor while you walk around lost in the halls with half a costume on, maybe it’s time to pause and ask if you’re trying to break down the wrong stage door.

There might be a story that’s been tapping on your shoulder that only you can tell.

How will you do it? No clue. But I do know you’ll never find out if you don’t get out your pen and paper or recording device and start getting some things down.

Jump to the first lily pad you see, and you’ll be surprised at how clear the geography of the pond starts to become.

There really is only one you (and me), and folks need to hear the story only we can sing.

Love much,