Friday, October 1, 2010

An Ode to Stacie Bono

I am so grateful for the very generous donation of my beautiful friend Stacie Bono.

Stacie and I met when we were both in Astoria Performing Arts wildly successful production of Ragtime in the winter of 2009. Stacie played the coquettish Evelyn Nesbitt to a T, and she was always so spot on. I remember in the very beginning, at our very first rehearsals, hearing Stacie deliver a line and nail it, and for everyone to laugh (she's a fantastic commedienne), or to subtly break your heart a little and hear the moment of awe from the room. But then the realization dawned on us all that she was already knocking her performance out of the ballpark, and she could only get better through the rehearsal process, and therefore we would all have to start working harder to meet her at her level of talent.

(I would like to think the whole cast did that for each other: raised the bar, and everyone consistently met it after each raise, and went beyond. I think critics who reviewed the show would agree. But Stacie certainly made me quake in my boots almost immediately, the woman is so talented!)

But I want to write something here about Stacie that I hope I can accurately convey, and I don't know if I can use words eloquently enough to describe it. Stacie is a wonderful performer, absolutely. She has training and technique and is also just naturally beautiful, gifted and inspired. But she is uninhibitedly and unabashedly Stacie. So many performers try to phone in their best Indina Menzel or their best version of pop-rock princesses, or whatever it is they think "they" (casting directors, agents, whoever) are looking for. But Stacie is Stacie, and she shines. I envy this about her. There is a freedom to her performances and her vocal work that I admire and am quite jealous of.

Acting is a crazy business. Yes, it's crazy for lots of reasons, but for me the most consistently mind-bending is the concept of running your own small business that sells only one thing: you. To be objective enough to know how to prepare, present, refine and improve yourself, and to be consistently proud of that product... Stacie seems to have this one down.

So I am a huge Stacie Bono fan, because to me she exemplifies a type of grace and freedom which is not only inspiring but encourages her fellow co-workers to be more, and reach their fullest potential.

And she is a wonderful friend. I told the DBF recently that I would like it if she and I became better friends, and I asked him how do adults do that? Just choose to be better friends? The answer it seems has remained the same since our mothers were our social directors: you arrange a playdate.

Hopefully we'll have a playdate soon!

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