Today is my late father’s 100th birthday. One of the cast members took his photograph down from my windowsill and put it on my coffeetable—the Danish Modern one I inherited from him. It gave my dad a ringside seat for the six-plus hours of rehearsal today, and I think he enjoyed it. I mean, he was grinning throughout the whole day. Of course, he’s been smiling like that since the picture was snapped in 1956.
He had a lot to grin about. The cast is doing sensational work, and I am in love with the music for next week’s concert. There is always a horrible interval between the optimism of conceiving the program and the first few days of working on the concert. During that six-week period I always think I have created a monster. I go through all of the Kubler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance—acceptance that I am preparing a latke, a flat tire, a root canal of a concert. Then the cast walks in and starts singing the songs we sent them, and I am amazed at how beautiful the music is, especially in their hands. This drama is so predictable that by now I pay it no mind, but I have never lost the wonder of hearing the birth of the show. “In the Memory Palace” is so arrestingly lovely and fascinating; I am grateful to all the composers and all the singers.
Above: Steven’s dad, still smiling