New Eyes, Rave Reviews, and a Scenie!

Last week, I got to check the box for a major Bucket List item: I got LASIK surgery. That’s right! No more glasses for me! This is something I’ve wanted to do since I moved to Los Angeles in 2003, and last week, the stars aligned and I finally made it happen. I’d been in glasses since… jeez. Fourth grade? Fifth? My memory is blurry on the exact timing, but yeah, I’ve had glasses for the vast majority of my life. I could only imagine what life would be like without them. Now, I know and I couldn’t be happier.

Jenn stayed by my side, and even watched the surgery from an observation room, and took fantastic care of me in the immediate aftermath. It would have been incredibly difficult to manage without her. She’s the best.

And yeah, that’s a stuffed hippo I’m holding in the picture. They offered me either the hippo or a teddy bear to hold during the surgery. Considering the ten milligrams of Valium they gave me beforehand didn’t do much of anything for me (6’5″ tall, 260+ lbs… try an elephant tranquilizer next time), I wrung that poor hippo’s neck out of sheer nervousness.

Recovery’s still a process. The first night after the surgery was rough, but my vision is relatively stable, and the discomfort is now almost all but gone. I’m going to be photosensitive for a while (something I hadn’t really thought about before going through with this process – working under stage lights will be problematic), but I’m told that gets better with time.

All things considered, I couldn’t be more satisfied with this decision. Thank you to Dr. Paul Lee at CCRS. I had the surgery done in his Sherman Oaks office, and have been doing my consultation and follow-ups at his office in Koreatown (straight down Western from studio/stage!). These guys are great. If you need vision enhancement in the future, I recommend them.

In Other News…

Acting  My portrayal of Lennie Small in Theatre Unleashed‘s production of Of Mice and Men has earned another accolade – Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Drama, Intimate Theatre) by StageSceneLA! My first solo Scenie! Thank you, Steven Stanley! Considering the caliber of the other performers this honor was bestowed upon (including my George, Spencer Cantrell!), I’m deeply honored that my performance is counted alongside theirs.


Directing – Rehearsals have commenced for A Very DIE HARD Christmas! I’m thrilled with my cast! It’s a solid mix of old faces and new:

  • John McClane – Wade Wilson (returning for his third year!)
  • Holly McClane – Kiré Horton
  • Hans Gruber – Jim Martyka
  • Ginny/Lucy McClane – Liesl Jackson
  • Al the Snow Cop / Theo / Hermie / Schnell Terrorist – Robby DeVillez
  • Argyle / Thornburg / Douche Terrorist – Adam Meredith
  • Karl / Yukon Cornelius – Matt Pick
  • Jimmy Stewart – Carey Matthews
  • Santa Clause – (It’s a Secret)

Beyond that, I have an incredible design team in Beth Scorzato (Stage Manager/Props Design), Jessica J’amie (Costume Design), Aaron Lyons (Sound Design), Mark Bell (Special Effects Design) Brad Upton (Puppet Design), Lindsay Anne Braverman (Choreography), Tony Gonzalez (Music Direction), and J. Anthony McCarthy (Fight Choreography). I’m once again handling the lighting design and coordinating the scenic design with our sister production of It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (Directed by Jenn).

We will be doing our Secret Santa again this year! What is Secret Santa? Well, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Santa Claus, and you never know who will be donning the red suit each night. But I can promise you that this year, it’s not going to be me.

Our holiday repertory has become a tradition here in Los Angeles, with families and friends coming multiple nights to celebrate with #TeamNaughty and #TeamNice. The holidays look like they’re going to be very happy, indeed. Yippie Kai Yay… you know the rest.

Producing – In the meantime, The Woman in Black is earning critical acclaim across the board in the Belfry Stage. Big ups to Spencer, Adam, Amanda and Jake for doing such a fantastic job on this show.

  • “…a sultry tale of death and haunting with a provocative approach…” – NoHo Arts District
  • “Director Jacob Smith derives a spooky sense of true dread (including some legitimate jump scares) from nothing more than his actors and light and sound effects.” – Edge Media Network
  • “Cantrell and Meredith are solid, there’s not an untrue moment between them.” – Edge Media Network
  • “Meredith in particular, shines, a subtle sexiness under the brim of every turn of phrase he utters and every darting expression he gives.” – Edge Media Network
  • “This is subtle, slow-burn ghost territory that wants you to lean forward and pay attention… for the true horror comes from the revelation of simple details.” – My Haunt Life

My lighting even got a shout out in a review today. From Night-Tinted Glasses, Gregory Crafts’ lights do it all…” In the words of my dear friend Jim Blanchette, “I’ll take it.”

Tickets for The Woman in Black are on sale here. Grab ’em quick!

Two more quick hits –

  • Got my Professional badge confirmed for San Diego Comic-Con next year; I’m gonna be rolling in like a movie star! That’ll be fun; my first year attending SDCC as both an industry professional and a fan. I’m really looking forward to the experience.
  • The new TheatreUnleashed.org will be launching in the next few weeks. I’m in the bug-hunting phase, but it’s almost ready to go live. This is by far the most complicated piece of code I’ve ever crafted, and I’m looking forward to this infrastructure forming the base of our online presence for years to come.

There’s a lot of other stuff happening right now that I’ll get to in a future entry. Some big things happening. Can’t say more than that… yet. 🙂

Onward and upward.