So, I haven't posted here in a while because I don't know if people are seeing and reading this page. If you are a person, and you're seeing and/or reading this page, please let me know.
I've been trying to figure out this whole RSS Feed and FeedBurner thing, and I still don't really understand it. I'd like a way for people who are interested to be able to know when I've posted something new. I should maybe switch back to my old blog, separate from this website. There is a way to subscribe to that one.
Anyway, if you're reading this, you should know that we're in the middle of our Indiegogo fundraising campaign to make some new records. This is the link:
That's all you need to know right now. I'll get back to blogging in one form or another, as soon as I figure out which way is best.
So many things have happened in the last month or so, and especially this last week.
Last Friday, I dashed off a quick folk song satire called "Battle of the Bowling Green Massacre." On Saturday morning, I posted it live to Facebook, and it seems to have hit a nerve. Within 5 days it had over 106,000 views.
On Sunday, I did a phone interview with AC Smith in California for his podcast "Days That Start With a T". On Monday, I ran into the studio with my brother David and we recorded a studio version of the song for use on the podcast, and for sale on CD Baby and other platforms. A portion of the proceeds from sales of this song will be donated to the ACLU.
You can hear the podcast here: https://startswitht.com/2017/02/08/our-thoughts-and-prayers/
You can purchase the song here: https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/noahbudin2
On Saturday, Feb. 18 I'll be launching my Indiegogo fundraising campaign which now includes two CDs, my originally planned "Only Love" CD, and, due to popular demand, a CD of satirical folk songs tentatively titled "Ballad of the Bowling Green Massacre and Other Alternative Folk Songs." I've enlisted my good friend, and former comedy and songwriting partner Darren Stephens to co-write the satirical songs with me.
And, on Saturday, you can hear me live on "Steve's Folk" in the 10:00 AM hour on WCSB, 89.3fm Cleveland.
Finally (for now), on Sunday, February 19, 7:00 PM EST, I'll be streaming a live concert for the Facebook group Harmony In Unison. It's a closed group, but all you have to do is go to the page and ask to join. There are over 10,600 members, and there's live music almost every night of the week.
Oh, and pitchers and catchers reported today. Can this month get any better?
"Death of a Salesman" at French Creek Theater opens tonight (Friday, January 13).
Let me address some things point by point:
I’m in it. I play Charley, Willie’s next door neighbor. While I’d love to have you come to see ME in this play, I don’t have a lot of stage time. But, that’s OK. The rest of the cast is phenomenal. So, come and see me as part of this amazing ensemble performing a true American classic. And, it’s directed by Fred Sternfeld, so how wrong could you go? (You can’t, in case you were wondering.) And, I shaved my beard for the role.
Is it far away? I don’t know where you live. It’s about a 40 minute drive (in good traffic) from my house to the theater. (It takes me about an hour from work.) It’s in Avon, Ohio in Lorain County. If you live in Beachwood, it’ll take you about 50 minutes. If you live in Avon…well, you get the picture. Is it worth it? I hope so. I made the drive often for the last six weeks or so, and it was worth it for me. It’s really a privilege to be a part of this production.
I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that this story doesn’t end well. I mean, even if you’ve never heard of it before now, you may be able to glean that from the title. So, with everything that may be making you miserable in the world or in your life, why would you want to see THIS play right now? Because, it’s good theater. And good theater is good theater. (That clears it up now, doesn’t it?) It’s not just a play about struggle and sadness. There are, as there are in life, moments of great humor and warmth and, most of all, love. To see a piece of live theater and to be transported to another time and place, and to laugh and cry and feel real emotion and make real connections with the characters on the stage, is magical and transformative.
And I shaved my beard.
Every couple of years or so, I like to take on a small to medium role in a stage play. I do this for several reasons:
1) I like it.
2) I have B.A. in Theater and I feel like I'm actually using my college degree, and...
3) For Brain Health.
I do it to keep different parts of my brain active, especially the memory part. (My memory has always been terrible, which has always been my Achilles Heel as a performer.) As physical exercise is good for the body, this kind of exercise is good for the brain.
Having worked in a facility with memory impaired people for the last 12 and a half years, I've seen my share of memory loss, and I've done a fair amount of (informal) research and reading about it. I want to keep as much of what I have as intact as possible, for as long as possible. My research has always, without exception, turned up the same three things. The first two are always Diet and Exercise. It turns out that what's good for your body, is also good for your brain. I keep looking, because I always want the research to say that the two most important things for strengthening memory are Sitting On The Couch and Eating Ice Cream. But it never does.
The third thing is using your brain in different ways - learning new things, like languages; learning new skills; changing routine tasks; using your opposite hand for a repetitive activity, like brushing your teeth (I know what you thought); doing crossword and other kinds of puzzles; practicing meditation and yoga; etc. I figure that memorizing lines and songs and putting them together with blocking and choreography falls right in there.
And so, I start rehearsal for Arthur Miller's Death Of a Salesman in December.
I have three main criteria for doing a play: I have to really like, admire, and trust the director (and there are only one or two of those for me right now); It has to be a part that I really want, in a play I really like; And it has to be in a theater near where I live and work. But, I don't always follow my own criteria. Sometimes, two out of three will suffice. Sometimes, maybe only one.
A note about my personal criteria: I'm not a prima donna, or a theater snob. I'm just realistic. I have a full time job, for which I work at least two evenings a week. I'm not out there auditioning for everything and hoping to get any part that comes along. With my busy schedule, I have to be choosy about my extracurricular activities. If I'm going to invest so much time and effort into a project, it had better be one that I enjoy. And the director needs to know what he or she is getting into when they cast me. I will give 110% - anything less would be a disservice to the director, to me, and to the play - but, it has to be workable for all involved.
So, this show, Death of a Salesman meets at least one of the criteria, and partially meets another one. The one director I will always work with is my life-long friend Fred Sternfeld. I know him (long history there - story for another post, perhaps), like him, and trust him implicitly and completely to give me what I need as an actor to be my very best, and to put on a good production in general. Fred's directing this, so that was a given. I'm playing the role of Charlie, Willie Loman's next door neighbor. Now, see, I never knew I really wanted to play this part. But, when Fred said he was directing it, and there was a part I should consider reading for, I became intrigued. It had been so long since I'd read or seen the play, I didn't remember much about it. I got a copy, read it, and decided that I should not pass this opportunity up. As I said, I don't do much theater at this point, but this, this work is part of the cannon of Great American Literature. It really would be a privilege, I thought, to be able to let Mr. Miller put the words in my mouth, and for me to put my heart and soul into this production. So, I auditioned, and here we are.
Now, my third bit of criteria is usually the one that goes by the wayside. This production (and its rehearsals) will be at the French Creek Theater in Avon, Ohio. It's about 40 miles from where I live and work. It's a relatively long drive, but a small sacrifice for this opportunity, I think.
One more note about this production. Fred has employed a bit of color blind casting. Our Willie Loman is a fabulous African-American actor by the name of Greg White. Fred is not trying to make some bold political statement. He's not trying to make a point ... but maybe there is a point being made: Good acting is good acting, and maybe we should just see a person for what he or she is: a person. We'll all get a rare opportunity - as a cast, and as a theater going community - to look beyond our outer shells and be judged by the content of our characters, on and off stage.
Death of a Salesman opens on Friday, January 13th and runs through Sunday, January 29th. Friday and Saturday curtains are 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 3:00. French Creek Theater is located at 4530 Colorado Ave.
Sheffield Village, OH 44054. Click this link to reserve tickets.
Here are some photos from our first table read:
Every new blog needs a first post. This is it.
Check back here for news about my performances, CD releases (so far, there's one CD released about every 10 years, so we're good there for a while), my life, my creative work, and probably some random thoughts about random things.
A couple of quick things:
Watch for the release of a short film I was in. It's called Techically, Marvin and was produced by g2h films, a new local (Cleveland) production company. I played Marvin. I also wrote a song for the end credits, and may be doing some of the scoring for it. We filmed in July and August. It's in post-production right now. I think they hope to release it in Late November - early December. (The link above to g2h will take you to the Kickstarter campaign for this film. The campaign is over, but the site has a lot of the info about the film and the company.)
This winter you can see me in a production of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman at French Creek Theater in Sheffield, Ohio. I'll be playing Charlie, Willie Loman's neighbor and friend. One of my favorite people, favorite scene partner, and best actor in the world (possibly a little hyperbolic, but not much) Brian Zoldessy is playing Willie, and my other favorite person and best director in the world (all true), Fred Sternfeld, is directing. How lucky am I?
More later. I'll be adding features as I learn to use this new (for me) website builder.