Posted by Bruce Miller
It was fun to log on this afternoon and find a comment to my last post about David and Aly's onstage proposal. The comment congratulates the happy couple and wishes them well. It's written and posted by none other than Alan Bailey and Connie Ray, conceiver and writer, respectively, of Smoke on the Mountain and Sanders Family Christmas.
I love it when nationally successful theatre artists, who may well have never even heard of Barksdale Theatre, take the time to establish contact. Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn, playwright and composer, respectively, of The Little Dog Laughed, made it down to Richmond to see the show. Playwright Israel Horovitz came to Richmond last week to catch performances of his play The Widow's Blind Date at the Firehouse.
One of my favorite "contact with the big time" stories happened in the early 80s during Theatre IV's run of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Emily Skinner, who is now a Broadway leading lady and Tony nominee herself, was playing the teenage daughter in our production. On opening night a letter arrived at the theatre addressed to Emily. It was a friendly and considerate "break a leg" note, warmly written and sent from NYC by the teenage actress who had originated the role Off Broadway the year before. That actress, who didn't know Emily from Eve, was relatively unknown herself at the time. But she wanted to wish Emily well and tell her how much she had enjoyed playing the same role. Today, that actress is "unknown" no longer. You all know her today as Sarah Jessica Parker.
When you get right down to it, the theatre community is a relatively small and close knit group. It means a lot to artists working in regional theatres to hear from our brethren who have made it to the big show.
Unless my Googling has led me down some wrong paths, it appears that Alan Bailey and Connie Ray (pictured in the two photos) both currently reside in L. A. In addition to their phenominal success with the three Sanders Family musicals, Bailey enjoys an active career as a stage director, and Ray pursues a busy career as an actress on television and film.
All of us at Barksdale wish the two of them well, and thank them for keeping track of our production of their wonderful musical. Alan and Connie, if you ever make it to Richmond VA, we have tickets waiting with your name on 'em. Sanders Family Christmas is going really well. It's a beautiful show, with five rave reviews, sold out houses and standing ovations at every performance. I think you'd be pleased and proud.
Thanks for dropping us a line.