ADVENTURES IN YES

Random thoughts about watching, working and living in the arts, from HMS co-founder and executive producer Scott Silberstein.

December 10, 2017

ADVENTURES IN YES: "Dear Emmy"

I'll never get tired of this kind of losing.

Basking in the limelight of my CHICAGO VOICES team.

YES!

HMS’ recent special CHICAGO VOICES, produced with Lyric Opera of Chicago, was nominated for five Chicago/Midwest Emmys and received three!

NO!

I did not win in the category for which I was nominated!

YES!

It was still a fantastic night even though I didn’t win. Maybe an even better one. There is always something to be gained from being humbled; to do so while giving your friends celebratory bear hugs is not a bad way to spend a night in a tux.

It is one of the oldest clichés in the book, but that doesn't make it any less true: it was an absolute honor to be nominated for a Chicago/Midwest Emmy for producing CHICAGO VOICES, alongside the talented team at WTTW, our fair city’s public television station and the most watched PBS outlet in the US. Their doc NAVY PIER: A CENTURY OF REINVENTION took home the trophy for Outstanding Arts & Entertainment Special, and well done them. If an HMS show isn’t going to get the big trophy, I’m glad a WTTW show did. And if WTTW hadn't aired CHICAGO VOICES in the first place (as they have all of our shows for the last 28 years), HMS doesn’t have 20 Emmys on our shelf.

I was delighted to see my WTTW friends and colleagues win, and even more so my fellow CHICAGO VOICES nominees, who picked up awards for lighting, audio and on-camera performance). I am not being falsely modest here. My team getting recognized mattered more to me than taking home a statue of my own.

I mean, look at these guys. Todd Clark? The best in the business when it comes to lighting for television and stage – not just what he does but how he does it. You won't find a more supportive and responsive guy in the room.

Timothy Powell, Marshaun Robinson, Mark Grey and Joe Schofield? Cream of the crop audio engineers and designers, whose work you can count on the way you can count on Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep being good in a movie.

Andrew Twiss? Simply a brilliant audio mixologist, who feels music as well as he hears it (and he hears it magnificently).

And holy smokes, John Prine was in our show -- JOHN PRINE! -- and got an Emmy for his funny and poignant performances. Getting up on stage and accepting an Emmy on his behalf was one of the cooler and more humbling experiences I'm going to have.

To be clear... sure, I wish I'd won, too. I’m not ego-less. But more than that – way more– I so wish Jessie Mueller had won. Her dazzling multiple appearances in CHIGAGO VOICES are among my most very favorite of anything we’ve ever pointed our cameras at (and that’s saying something).

When I first posted photos from last weekend's Emmy ceremony, someone sent me a note asking, "Where are the photos of you?" Truth is, I didn’t have any then (although I do now, which, along with the others, are up on our Facebook page). My favorite pic is the group shot, with all of us holding the CHICAGO VOICES Emmy hardware. It's all about the team.

But there's one photo of me that no one took. I so wish someone had grabbed a shot of me watching Todd, Andrew, Timothy and Marshaun’s faces as their names were announced and they took the stage to receive their Emmys, and then later as I sat just off camera and watched their live-streamed interviews.

It’s the same look I’m sure I wore the night we shot CHICAGO VOICES at Lyric Opera of Chicago, watching Renée Fleming, Jessie Mueller, Kurt Elling, Shemekia Copeland, Michelle Williams, The Handsome Family, Terrance Howard, Jussie Smollet, Doug Peck, Matthew Polenzani, the Voices of Trinity Mass Choir and the band that backed them all fill that cavernous room with the kind of music that makes you feel you’re cozied up and singing together in someone’s living room.

And the look I wore at production meetings, siting with the Lyric Unlimited producers, the design teams and Lyric’s leadership, knowing that while putting this show together would be a long and winding road, I was in the company of the perfect orienteers.

I can’t help but smile again, just sitting here sharing these memories with you. And so if I had to share with the world one image of myself, it would be exactly this look, one of pure, unadulterated joy, reveling in the moment as my friends create and are celebrated for their gorgeous, entertaining and life-affirming work, and wondering, how did I get so lucky to be here with them?

I'm not saying I'd look especially great in this image. Very few people can pull off the Giant Goofy Grin I was sporting. One’s face can only stretch so wide. So I might look ridiculous… but I sure would look happy.

In my various HMS adventures, it's that look – the Giant Goofy Grin – that I wear more than any other. Watching the HMS team in action is one of the greatest joys of my life. If you're that happy, who cares how goofy you look?

One thing's for sure: when I’m basking in the glow of my friends' successes, I am, to be sure, very well lit.

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