I can't believe it's almost the middle of winter and I'm still thinking about my summer as though it was last week.
As many of you know, I came to Acting Manitou between sessions 1 and 2 as the Technical Director. Mac Wallach, Manitou co-choreographer extraordinaire, emailed me to tell me about the camp that he and his girlfriend Amanda worked at. I had just graduated from grad school and I was in the midst of a few freelance projects and but very interested in the camp. Before I knew it, I was on the phone with Steve Borowka (while I was getting a haircut). Steve determined I was indeed qualified for the job, relatively sane, and a generally nice and calm guy. The next thing I knew, I was stepping foot onto the Acting Manitou grounds and meeting everyone for the first time in my life.
You all know how impossible it is to describe the feelings of warmth and transformation I had over the next 3 weeks. Acting Manitou has become my ideal of what family, community and hard work means to me, and I can't thank you all enough for being in my life. Acting Manitou is so extraordinary and unique, I just wish I had become involved a decade ago.
Since this summer, I was able to take some time off with my family, and then soon dived back into work in New York, where I've been studying and living since 2006. Having surged three weeks of New York Fashion Week lighting design and production, I now, for the first time in my life, have a full time job and kissing the freelance life goodbye. David Korins, the scenic designer, has just hired me as his Production and Design Manager for everything from his Broadway shows (currently Hamilton and Misery) to restaurants, music festivals Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, Mariah Carey's Christmas concert thing and a few secret projects that have yet to be announced. You're likely to find me at theaters across the country, backstage with Kanye or Mariah, or riding a golf cart around the music festivals making sure sets and designs look their best, building them myself when it comes to that, and generally having the time of my life.
I send all love and encouragement to all of you wherever you find yourself with new challenges and adventures. Although I may have to be installing a 16 foot disco ball in a tower at Bonnaroo during camp next summer, there's an extremely high chance I'll be using my vacation days to come back and be with the Acting Manitou family once again.
Love from Broadway and Brooklyn, Ben
P.S. There is a Mr. Potato Head wearing a little tiny tie-dyed shirt hidden SOMEWHERE in the theater. No one knows where except for me and Mr. Potato Head. First one to find it gets an ice cream delivery by yours truly. Happy hunting.