A very wonderful, loud and musical shout out thank you to Jeff Blumenkrantz, my "big brother"!
Pictured here with my "twin sister", Kate ("I Will Always Call Her Katie") Clawson Kunkle
So I met Jeff when I was 11 and my children's choir was chosen to be in the Minneapolis stop of the first national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, starring none other than Donny Osmond. Have I dated myself enough with the information in this sentence? All the kids in the ensemble children's choir adopted Big Brothers and Sisters from the adult cast, and Katie and I chose Jeff. He played Simeon and was (and is!) funny and amazingly talented. What makes the whole story so sweet is we are all still friends! And now that I live in NYC, I get to see Jeff much more often (though not often enough!).
I can't begin to tell you what an amazing man Jeff is. First, he is a brilliant actor, comedian and composer! You should absolutely check out his website if you aren't already in the loop. To befriend a mildly OCD and nutty music theatre and music geeky 11 year old is one thing, but to stay her friend and mentor through all of adolescence, struggling into adulthood, finding a way through life... And now living here, trying to "make it" in this crazy theatre business, having a friend who's made a wonderful career in this industry has been a wonderful asset.
I am so thankful for Jeff--for the talent that he has brought not only to my life, but to others through his performances, his talents and his compositions. I am thankful for all the times he's listened to my neurosis, given me a guest bed to crash on, and shared part of his gigantic and wonderful heart with me!
And seriously, you should go check out his music! It will move and inspire you, I promise!