November 14, 2005 -- Updates from Gotham

Hi friends:

Hope this finds you all well and happy.

When I first moved to New York (almost four years ago!!!), I had a definite game plan. But wasn’t it John Lennon who wrote that life is what happens to you while you're making other plans?

To wit: Say hello to the new vice-president of communication and collaboration for the emerging technology office of Citigroup. Yes, it’s official, Michael has returned to the ranks of full-time employment after almost ten years. Yes, Citigroup, the mother of all monsteriffic, monolithic, monopolistic, and mega-horrific financial institutions. Believe me, nobody is more shocked that I at having "vice president" after my name.

The good part of all this, to be sure, is the money (greed strikes yet again), not to mention the benefits, the prestige . . . and the job itself ain't bad either. I get to write, I get to plan things, and I get to play with some very cool toys.

Otherwise, I'm definitely continuing my love/hate relationship with Gotham. There are times when I can't wait to get the hell out of town (most notably when the weather sucks, or when there's noise outside my bedroom window, or when the unit upstairs is undergoing major renovation), but there are other times when I couldn't think of living anywhere else (like when I'm walking home along Fifth Avenue above 59th Street, or when I'm taking in the Chanel collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or when browsing the sweater department at Bloomingdale’s). Actually, I think most New Yorkers feel that way -- they want so badly to stay, but they welcome the chance to shake off the city for a few days.

This year will definitely go down as the busiest travel-wise for me. Citigroup sent me to Florida, Athens, and Dublin; I also went back to Australia for vacation, and to Madrid to see my niece, who’s spending half of her junior year there.

Athens is quite a place. Most of the city is rather nondescript (very white, very Mediterranean), but the Acropolis, as well as the Plaka district that sits in its shadow, are fascinating. Walking through the ruins -- not to mention the HUGE amounts of restorative construction going on -- is breathtaking. For those interested in photos, visit my web site (link below). There are some charming shots of Dublin there too.

Spain is beautiful! Very romantic, lots of great architecture, terrific museums (the Prado is not to be missed), and great food. Toledo is a wonder – you can spend hours just wandering the streets. Again, see below for links to photos.

Theater-wise, I can for the first time say that this year I saw every show that was nominated for a Tony. "Spamalot" is everything you'd expect it to be – silliness, madness, mayhem, and whimsy, sprinkled profusely with bawd and tawd. “Spelling Bee” will live forever with revivals, especially in schools. However, if I had to recommend one show above all others, it’s "The Light in the Piazza". The score and the design are ravishing, and the performances just soar. I was an absolute puddle on the floor when it was over.

And when will the world again see Michael onstage? Helluva good question, which I keep asking myself. I think the answer lies somewhere in the realm of "when I'm ready" – whatever/whenever that means. The simple fact is that I may never be ready. One thing that I did learn while I was a student at the HB Studio, and while watching show after show on Broadway, is that playing on a professional level involves a LOT more than whether or not you can hit a solid G, or whether you can master that tricky tap combination or that convoluted O'Neill monologue. Helen Gallagher put it very well: "You have to have laser-sharp focus on your career". The plain truth is that I don’t think I have it.

So, for now, I’m content to be in the audience. That may change – who knows, the absence from the stage may start eating away at me, and somehow I’ll find that focus, that “whatever-it-takes” ingredient that I seem to have lost since coming east.

Anyway, it’s almost winter, folks – time to start hunkering down for the cold, the long nights, and all the stress that comes with the season. Hang in there, spring’s coming!

Much love,



Photo Links

Athens and Dublin:

SHS Class Reunion:

San Francisco and Oz: