Random thoughts about watching, working and living in the arts, from HMS co-founder and executive producer Scott Silberstein. "In The Moment" offers a quick 60-second read about new ideas, events, shows and productions in the HMS world, and "Adventures In Yes" takes a deeper dive into how art and media reflect, define and inspire our world. Enjoy!

May 16, 2018

IN THE MOMENT: "Humility in the Stars"

Lin-Manuel Miranda and other Broadway royalty act like anything but that

Lin-Manuel Miranda could be the center of attention anywhere he goes. Yesterday he chose to moderate a panel about someone else's play.

Hello from NYC, and day 1 of the Broadway League's Spring Road Conference, the annual gathering of producers, general managers, press reps, marketers and all kinds of other folks working in the national Broadway touring scene. Folks from all over the country are here to take deep dives into what's happening now on Broadway and on the road, and what shows currently playing on the Great White Way will be heading out on tour in the next year or two.

Each conference is highlighted by Creative Conversations, 30-minute sorbets of energizing creative goodness in which attendees get to witness moderated conversations with current Broadway "royalty." Yesterday we got two such wonderful moments.

The first was for Mean Girls, the 12-time Tony nominated new musical version of the great Tina Fey's film, which included not just Tina but three of the Tony nominated cast members, all of whom (based on what they said in the panel) would want me to give special mention to fellow panelist Rosalind Wiseman, whose 2002 non-fictionself-help book Queen Bees and Wannabes provided the basis of the movie and the musical (and what other non-fiction self-help book can make that claim?). Most striking: the cast emphasizing that the joy of working on this show was established immediately by Tina posting The Four Agreements on their call board: "Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best." Having worked with Tina years ago when making Second To None, I can say without hesitation: Tina is a graceful bad-ass. Always has been, and I'm confident always will be. (Click here to see the Mean Girls montage, which HMS shot.)

The second panel was for Angels in America, now playing in a rapturously received revival starring Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield, who offered this fantastic observation about a remarkable monologue he delivers at the end of the two-part magnum opus, in an environment which co-star Lane describes as the "special kind of silence" you only get at live theater. Garfield said that those final words are a remarkable moment that he sometimes feels he's earned, and sometimes not -- and that either are okay. Essentially the message is, if you've earned that moment, then fully appreciate what's been given to you. If you haven't -- not by lack of effort, but simply because you weren't at your best, if only in your own mind -- then accept it with gratitude.

As if this wasn't enough to make the most hardened cynic admit that the arts, on any scale, are filled with humble and deeply appreciative people, the Angels panel was moderated by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The creator of a once-in-an-industry international phenomenon said, with no trace of irony, that had he not been graced with the opportunity to moderate the panel, he would have paid top dollar to watch it. He knows what inspired him, and that while what he's done will inspire what's to come, he himself has been inspired by what came before. (Click here to see HMS' montage of the Chicago production of Hamilton.)

One thing connects these remarkable creative spirits. Okay, two -- talent certainly figures into this. But it's humility, a quality -- and a choice -- that has led them to a commitment to ensemble work and an abiding respect for those around them -- those that came before, those just arriving and those still to come. It's wonderful and refreshing to be around these people.

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