Better Luck Next Year: Theatre Pros Tell Their New Year's Resolutions

Special Features   Better Luck Next Year: Theatre Pros Tell Their New Year's Resolutions
To eat fewer sweets. To clean out the closet. To live each day to the fullest. To actually enjoy going to the theatre every night. To find the next job. To say no to the next job. To not count on the next job.
Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth Photo by Aubrey Reuben

These are some of the New Year's resolutions for 2007 made by theatre professionals polled by Some are modest. Some are grand. Some are non-resolutions. But all of them follow:

Kristin Chenoweth (actress, The Apple Tree): "I'm addicted to sugar. I'd like to try and eat less of it. I can't say that I will cut it out all together! But eating less maybe would be good."

Craig Lucas (playwright, The Light in the Piazza, The Singing Forest): "My New Year's resolution is to remain grateful for my life and wish my colleagues (and that includes all critics!) healthy, rich, wise, loving days with peace of mind and clear purpose."

Austin Pendleton (actor, Sunset Limited; playwright, Orson's Shadow): "Professionally, artistically, my resolution for 2007 is not to have one. More and more I come to feel that to survive in this profession is not only to accept the fact that you have no idea what's coming next, but to actually rejoice in it. You can plan things; that can be fun. Planning protects the small chance that they might actually come true. Counting on them is something else; it can leave you bitter and of no use to much of anybody. Hope is one thing; resolutions are another. I really hope that, professionally anyway, I'm through with them. Happy New Year."

Julia Murney
photo by Aubrey Reuben

Julia Murney (actress, Wicked): "I don't exactly do resolutions so much as reminders of the way I would like things to be all the time. It seems too limiting to assign them to just the new year. That said, I would just like to breathe and remember how blessed we all are just to be alive in a scary world. I would like to thrill in my new job and new family at the Gershwin and just sort of be in a state of comfort and sharing and joy. This probably ain't gonna happen every day, but a girl can dream. And I resolve to stop eating cookie dough for dinner. Mostly." Stephanie D'Abruzzo (actress, I Love You, Because): "My resolution for 2007 is to find the next project, but also to try to not to be afraid of enjoying the down time."

Neil LaBute (playwright, Wrecks): "My resolution for the coming year—and this happens like clockwork at the beginning of most Januarys—works as a kind of 12-step program; I begin with the best intentions as I grandly announce 'I hope that I can be a better person' and then each month I refigure it—i.e., make it easier—until by July or August it's simply something like 'I hope that I can write a new play this summer.' By November or December, however, I've tumbled all the way to merely promising that 'I will try to make a new resolution in the coming year'—it's pathetic and silly and human and I'm sure I'll do the same damn thing again this year."

Michael Cerveris
photo by Aubrey Reuben

Michael Cerveris (actor, Sweeney Todd): "My resolutions: eat more, sleep less, stop exercising, work to the exclusion of family, friends, anything resembling a life, grow a beard for no reason, learn to play mandolin, lose things, forget things, confuse and become confused, care about things that don't matter and forget what does, and grow soul-weary whilst searching for what it all means....oh wait, that was last year's list......." Arthur French (actor, Two Trains Running): "Maybe to do less. That would be my resolution, to learn to say 'no.' 'Yes' comes out of my mouth so fast. I need to learn how to say 'no' and take some time off for myself and travel. I don't know that I'll be successful. I haven't been, so far. If you talk to me next year, we'll see if I failed."

Daniel Gerroll (actor, The Dear Boy; director, Darwin in Malibu): "I resolve to continue an unwavering descent into the impecuniousness of being primarily a theatre artist in today’s world of expanding electronic media. I resolve to continue to plead to NOT BE AMPLIFIED WITH BODY-MICS when performing in live theatre. I resolve to accept defeat on this point with good manners and equanimity. I resolve to deal with good manners and equanimity with all the directors, producers, casting directors and others who might from time to time hold either my immediate or long-term future in their extremely worthy, justifiably powerful and divinely bestowed positions of authority. I resolve to find another translation for the French term: Plus ca Change. Until I do I resolve to accept with good manners and equanimity and as an unalterable rule of life the succinct and superciliously simple French term… Plus ca Change. So I resolve in the year of our Lord (about whose identity, as so far expressed by egregious religions, I have grave and extreme doubts) 2006."

David Staller
photo by Aubrey Reuben

David Staller (actor, Mrs. Warren's Profession; artistic director, Project Shaw): "New Year's resolutions are dangerous: not unlike praying to God when in need and then relenting once the storm has passed. New Year's Eve always seems an imposed reminder of Time. So, in order to feel that I'm tottering into the next issue feeling good about it all, I tend to give myself a list of things to get done. Painting the bathroom or clearing the closet is always a crowd pleaser. This year, my conscience will be made pristine by packing for my trip to India. If a good quest or two over there doesn't alter my resolute views toward resolutions, I'll make a list and stick to it. Maybe." Charlotte St. Martin (executive director, League of American Theatres and Producers): "After over 150 meetings with our members and partners at the League in the last four months, I will definitely be on a diet beginning Jan. 2 and I will walk my Labradoodle, Nicole, in the park at least four days a week. But in addition to that, my resolution will be to enjoy the moment, every one of the moments. And, create amazing memories. I am one of the luckiest people in the city as I am surrounded by amazingly creative and talented people....I am 'required' to see every new show on Broadway, and sometimes it is easy to forget how lucky I am. When the days begin early and go late, it can often feel like 'work,' when it is absolutely a privilege. My resolution is to find ways to make sure I don't get to that!"

Howard Sherman (executive director, American Theatre Wing): "My resolution is to be much more thoughtful about staying in touch with my older relatives and friends, and I'm not waiting until 2007 to get started. I'm still only three years in on living in New York, and it's very easy to get caught up in constant theatregoing (along with the occasional movie or concert). I need to remember that despite everything this city has to offer every night of the week, I need to be ever more conscious about keeping up with the people who've been a part of my life for my whole life. And that means staying home some nights and picking up the phone."

Paige Price
photo by Aubrey Reuben

Paige Price (actress, Actors' Equity first vice president): "Actually, I began my 'New Year's resolution' in November, after returning from the veritable vacation that is touring, what with few social options and a regimented schedule. So, to stay productive and pre-empt the onset of winter S.A.D., I started on a health kick. Yes, actually going to the gym and dance class four times a week and drinking the most putrid of morning 'health concoctions' to wash down my vitamins (multi-, folic acid and the joint pill, Glucosamine, which many dancers take). Said concoction: apple cider vinegar, honey and water. This year I lost several friends and, to remember them, my resolution is to be grateful for my time on this earth, for my family, my friends, my health and the theatre community that has supported me so much here in New York. To that end, I will call home more, continue the strict dance class and gym regimen and serve the members of Actors' Equity in my new position. And lest you think I've gotten too 'Kumbaya,' as I career around the city, I will take time to smell the urine." Jessica-Snow Wilson (actress, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee): "I made a New Year's resolution EVERY SINGLE year when I was in junior high and high school. It was always the same thing. Lose 10 pounds, exercise and eat less. I still weigh the same as I did in the 9th grade: a whopping 115 pounds...but I no longer make New Year's resolutions. Not to get too philosophical here, but today is all we have. Each day is about learning more, loving better and becoming who we really want to be. I certainly have goals. But they are the same goals I live with every day in my career, my relationship and my integrity."

Mike Burstyn (actor, On Second Avenue): "I resolve this new year to lower my handicap and my weight. (Not necessarily in that order.)"

Gavin Creel
photo by Aubrey Reuben

Gavin Creel (actor, London Mary Poppins): "TO SEE MORE OF THE WORLD. Italy, Greece, France, Scotland, Ireland, and more. I want to travel and get outside of my own circle. There is so much more to learn by just going I wanna go there. Oh, and I want to get a puppy." Ricky Ian Gordon (composer, opera The Grapes of Wrath): "Firstly, there is a phrase I hear often, in various rooms I go to in order to be healthier then I am hard-wired to be...the phrase is 'What other people think of me is none of my business.' This is a very important sentence and I want to wrap it around me like a shawl. I feel, that as one moves into a larger sense of freedom in terms of how one lives one's life and does one's work...that this sentiment is essential, and I still feel too addicted to love, approval, etc. Second, I want to work on my greater connection to the world at large, the bigger picture, because my work can be isolated and isolating and I want, need to feel more connected and perhaps even more effective. Third, I know from experience, that when I meditate, and keep my conscious contact with a higher power consistent, I feel better about everyone and everything...but it has always been hard for me to keep consistent with my spiritual practice...but we will see. Fourth, I want to exercise more...especially aerobically...and eat less sweets! Fifth, I want to make MORE MONEY! and invest it wisely, and be working constantly on projects I find utterly stimulating with artists I totally respect and admire. Sixth, I want to write more of my own texts and read more of the great texts. Seventh, I want to love more selflessly and allow the love that is so generously bestowed upon me, to sink in deeper, so that I actually FEEL loved, which will allow me more room to NOT be loved by those that choose that position. And, with all the money I am making, I want to buy all the people I adore, fun, lavish, unexpected gifts.
EIGHTH, I WANT TO END WORLD HUNGER, CHANGE THE ADMINISTRATION SO THAT WE ARE GOVERNED BY SANE RATIONAL GRIEVING PEOPLE, AND BRING PEACE UPON THIS RAVING EARTH. Is that grandiose? Oh, and I want to somehow increase the storage space in my life...or throw a bunch of stuff away!"

Bryan Batt (actor, La Cage aux Folles): "Usually don't make New Years resolutions because I never know where, when or how change whether great or small will alter my course. I have been so fortunate to be able to literally split my life between acting in New York and doing everything possible to help my hometown of New Orleans rebuild. This requires quite a lot of air travel and despite the great service of Jet Blue, American Airlines, and others... I still have some fear of flying issues, although they haven't stopped me, it can be unnerving. I guess my resolution would be to continue with the inter-bi-coastal path I'm on, to get over myself and try to enjoy the flight, in all aspects of life! Peace to all!"

Jeff Bowen (star, writer [title of show]): "I try to abstain from the New Year's resolution thing because I'll just be disappointed in myself if I don't following through on it. Now that I say that, perhaps a good resolution for me would be to try not to be disappointed with myself if I don't follow through on something. Hey, thanks for helping me find a resolution, Playbill!"

Hunter Bell (actor, writer [title of show]): "I guess I could start with the basics like do more fewer pop less TV...but maybe it's more realistic to just say be honest. Be honest that I eat pop tarts and watch anything and everything on television, because sometimes I lie when people ask my hobbies and I respond, "The only TV I watch is 'The MacNeil/Lehrer Report' because I'm too busy reading the classics." So I'll be more honest. I'd also like to keep on writing and to travel more, but it will be hard to travel with [title of show] on Broadway...wait...what?...what have you heard?...[title of show] on the B'way in 2K7? Really? That's right, [title of show] will be at the Gershwin Theatre this season. We will be in the balcony playing simultaneously with Wicked. Happy New Year Playbillers!"

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