Wednesday, February 28, 2007

8 years today...

Today is Matty and my 8th Anniversary.

I can hardly believe it.

I am 28. I have been with him since I was 20.

He is my life.

I am his lioness defending the young (Buddha, the wonder pug).

What makes us work?


Whatever it is, it has lasted 8 years...which is like 56 in gay years.

I cannot imagine my life without this wonderful man.

He completes my life. He IS my life.

I could not live without him. As a young gay man in my teens, I would dream of a man like him, a "Prince Charming" figure to sweep me off of my feet. I was very lucky at a young age to be swept off of them so soon.

He has been a dream come true.

I love you, Matt Conner.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The closing night of Into the Woods, where the sound cue usually played the "thunk!" effects of the giantess being hit in the head, the sound crapped out for some reason, never leaving the effect that the giantess was killed. Which means that the old gal ain't dead yet... so folks...I thought that I would pass on to you that somewhere in Arlington, there is a blind giantess wandering around, who is really pissed off.
Exercise caution near wooded areas.

Fairy Tales Gone Wild!

(Photo left to right of Lauren Williams, Dan Cooney, Channez McQuay, Erin Driscoll, and Florrie Bagel)

The next week's posts will be dedicated to remembrances of Into the Woods. Be sure to check the post below for a further story of Jack and Milky White's exploits!

Monday, February 26, 2007

I guess this is goodbye old pal...

So, I said goodbye to my cow, and much more than that tonight.

Tough night.

I will miss this inanimate object.

I loved him/her.

Why I say this is that the cow that got delivered to us was a male cow! The prop designer had to do some brainstorming to figure out how to build up the udders over the cow's fake penis. They forgot one detail...Milky White still had his testicles, which hung near the tail. So...this was quite the sexually confused cow.

She/He also had 3 other major surgery procedures while receiving a somewhat botched sex change. She had jaw surgery (they had to cut into her jaw and insert some sort of hinge device to make the jaw open and close). They also had to cut open her chest to make an escape hatch for the crew to get the shoe, hair and cape out of. She/he also had wheels inserted into her hooves. All operations were a success, but she/he did have some side effects after recovery: sometimes for no reason at all, her jaw would randomly drop open. I said backstage, and well out of her hearing range that she was out there mugging for laughs by doing the whole jaw bit. The heifer even had the nerve to drop her jaw right as I sold her one night, and right before I sang "Goodbye Old Pal" to her, I shut her jaw for her. She did develop quite the comic timing...

Another after effect of the surgery to her hooves was...well...she was sometimes difficult to guide her certain ways. If she didn't want to go a certain way, she would let you know, and end up rolling the other way. She/he was really evolving into quite the diva.

During tech week, she tripped on a bit of tree trunk and ended up breaking her ear off....I felt awful...this cow was purchased from an outdoor nativity company and cost a pretty penny, and here I am guiding her onto stage in tech week no less, and she does a roll job and loses an ear. In hindsight, I think she fell on purpose to try to get more attention, but I'll let that go.

They fixed up the ear with liquid nails, and she was good to go for the rest of the run.

Until this weekend. This cow did NOT want this show to close.

Closing weekend, every time the cow and I exited after the Witch's transformation scene, her wheels would catch the black fabric masking that was hung in vom 3. The fabric would rip and get caught in her wheels. It was as if she was clawing at things to keep from leaving the stage.

She had not done this the entire run. It was bizarre.

Then it happened. Saturday matinee, Dan Cooney as the Baker and I were in our scene where we were fighting over the cow, and then there is her big death scene, where we make it look like she keels over. Well, I was NOT grabbing her by the ear, but somehow I must have nudged the ear and it just fell off in our struggle. I somehow caught the ear in my armpit and when on fighting with Dan over possession of the cow. I thought to myself, I'll just keep the ear in my armpit and not acknowledge that it happened...then thought...that is ridiculous, everyone in the audience knows that her ear just fell off. So we guided her to the ground, and instead of me doing the usual business of checking her heartbeat, I just held up the broken ear at Dan and said, "Milky White is dead!".

I don't think that she liked me making fun of her condition like that. I carried her offstage and she was quickly spirited away to the backstage crew, who used white gaff tape to tape the wayward ear back on for the time being.

After the show, she was glued again, and the ear was held on as the epoxy hardened by a bandage. She looked like Van Gogh.
She was very difficult to deal with after that, even the closing night, when I entered with her at the top of the show, I put her where I wanted her to be, and her wheels shifted, and she moved 2 inches over. (More into the light).
All of this considered, she was not just a fiber glass cow from a Nativity company, she was another actress/actor/actron? in our show, and I felt sad taking the photo that you see at the top of this post.
That photo was taken after the final bow of the closing performance, and I ran back on and got someone to take a picture of me and she/he together.
After the picture was taken, I said, "Well...I guess this is goodbye old pal..." and then found myself welling up in the eyes, like a 10 year old.
I don't know.
Every time I looked at this cow onstage, I looked at it as if it were my dearly beloved dog, Buddha. I guess I just projected so much emotion onto this fake cow that I actually felt sad leaving it.
What is her future? I guess that she will sit in Signature Theatre's prop storage for an indeterminable future...(until they need a cow again..?!).
I secretly hoped that she would be trusted to me to keep her until the time arose that Signature would need another cow (meaning probably never), and that she could grace my backyard till then. (She was built for the outdoors anyway).
But, alas, she will be somewhere in a dusty corner of a storage unit pining for her return to the stage, whenever that will be.
I will always be fond of my wayward, diva, transsexual cow, and her many whims. She forced me to be a better actor, because she never let me relax in a scene with her, as she was never predictable. I thank her for this.
She was truly "the best cow".

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Into the Woods...Closing day

(Photo of Eleasha Gamble and Erin Driscoll by Carol Pratt)
Well, here it is, at last. Closing day of Into the Woods. I feel like we were all just dancing in the lobby to celebrate the gala opening. Now it is done.
I am about to leave to the theatre for the matinee (leaving a little bit early due to the snow...roads are not the best).
It has been a fairy tale come true to be a part of this show, and I will be sad to see it end.
More to come later.

Friday, February 23, 2007


Tonight is your chance to catch another set of Little River Turnpike at Signature Theatre. We will be starting at about 11PM (as soon as I run off stage and get out of my Jack suit, and back into my jeans...

so come out and support!

See you tonight...


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hiding from the giant...

If you ever wonder where Jack goes while he hides from the giant, and until the Witch finds him, here is the road map... first of all, I sort of saunter through the underbrush for awhile...

Then I go and try to use the wardrobe room computer, but look...Lucinda is checking to see if Prince Charming has e-mailed her...

At that point, I usually get hungry, and enjoy my usual dinner of potato soup, while reading "Fables", a comic book about my fable brethren, and catching up with mom. Jack has survived on Potato soup. Don't know why, it is just what it is.

Sometimes I just sit and look out onto the gorgeous village of Shirlington and wonder how is it that a few months earlier, I would be staring out into an alley instead of a gorgeous street, and wondering where time went and how any of this is possible. I thank Signature Theatre for giving Jack many places to hide and consider these facts.

Love, Stephen Gregory Smith

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

On Tidy Endings...

There are a few things that you as the reader need to know about me.
I know that some people are upset about the Helen Hayes nominations. I am sorry to be one of them. I have been vocal in this, however...I have not come out against anyone's shows or performance nominations. I have never damned anyone on this or any other site for being nominated.
I believe in these awards, and feel sad when things are blatantly overlooked.
That is not to say that I think that other things should be bumped out and other shows bumped in. Get me? I'm saying "in addition to".
I started this blog out of boredom as an artist when I wasn't working...look to my archives to the right. This is my personal website which I try not to be deconstructive on, but try to encourage and engage creativity...even through my own writing and photography.
That being said, there have been some changes made.
I have excluded comments, because so many anonymous commentors come onto my site, don't know the connotation of what I'm talking about and leave comments that make no sense.
Several people viewed my anger over Nevermore as if I was in it, saying things like "your day will come little buddy" .
I was not speaking about actor nominations. I was speaking of my husband's piece. I am not speaking for him, either. These are all my own words.
Except these...I was watching "V for Vendetta" tonight, and these words rang out to me...
"Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all that we really have. It is the very last inch of us...but within that inch, we are free.
An is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away, and we must never let them take it from us..."
What you need to know about me as a reader is this:
I am loyal to the death.
If I believe in something, I would throw myself in front of a bus for it. I feel this for my husband's work. If I am judged negatively for this quality, so be it.
What are we as artists if not passionate? This blog is written by someone who possesses a heart.
I cannot hide that fact.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

One week from tonight...

If you missed Little River Turnpike (the bluegrass trio of Steve McWilliams, Amy McWilliams, and me) at Signature's Open House weekend last month, you have another opportunity to see us next week!
Next Friday night, February 23rd, we will be playing a set of songs after the evening performance of Into the Woods. This will be about at 11PMish, which is late for many of you, I know...but if you are seeing a film or show that night, and when you are done, slip on over to Signature Theatre's lobby, order yourself a little beverage (there is wine and beer available) and watch for us to start at about 11PM. (Just as soon as I get out of my "Jack" drag). We'll be done at about midnight, so it will be short and sweet fun.
I'll post a reminder next week.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

city sidewalks

At long last, some kind of white stuff out there on the ground.

I have been waiting since we opened Into the Woods to see snow covering the trees and sidewalks from the lobby of the new Signature Theatre, and finally got these 2 shots.

Just as purty as I thought it would be.

The missing "S"

Thought that I would point this out because it made me laugh...The old Signature is now just plain "ignature". Where the "S" went to is beyond me, but the first time I saw this, I nearly broke my neck on the double take.

I had to pull over and take a picture. I have been meaning to put this up for over a week now, but only now remembered about it.

My Joys...

Here are some photos of the Assassins photo call that someone shared with me, I am so proud of my fellow cast members and creative staff who were nominated for this labor of love. Evident in these photos were Donna and Will, and beyond these, Andy and Mica, and Joe.
I am SO happy that
these folks were nominated for their work.
While I have plenty to grumble/grouse about, I in NO way am deterring from my fellow cast member's noms. Assassins was an incredible piece of theatre, and I loved doing it every night...More to follow about Assassins.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I congratulate my friends and colleagues who were nominated this year. I do not want to deter or take away from what you have earned, but I cannot wrap my head around the glaring holes of the nominations, and who was left out. I hope that these strange and uneven nominations serve as a referendum on the "new" nominating process for Helen Hayes Awards.
YET AGAIN, this is not to say that I am negating the nominations given.
They have dropped The Faculty Room from the Charles MacArthur nomination, leaving 4 new works up for that...while 8 directors are nominated for Resident Play. ?
Wouldn't an organization such as Helen Hayes do better by nominating 8 new works, instead of 8 directors? Tons of blood, sweat, and tears is poured out by local playwrights and composers, and there is very seldom a carrot at the end of the stick that they are chasing. There is little reward for creating a new work of art for this community. Even getting it seen by more than 10 people in the first place is in its own right a reward. The DC theatre community, which is striving to be another major theatre destination, should take some stock of this and nourish these new and emerging voices more.
What would DC as a theatre community be with NO NEW WORKS? We'd be doing Arsenic and Old Lace, The Music Man, Antigone, and Plaza Suite all year. Yikes. There are few who are talented enough to be real creators and writers for the theatre. I applaud these people, because they are trying to shape and create a future for the craft that I work in. Sometimes all a playwright needs is an addendum to tag onto his manuscript like, "Charles MacArthur nominated" for another theatre somewhere else to take a second look as they rifle through their mail. I would rather see 8 Charles MacArthur nominations than 8 director noms. Of all of the new work produced in this city in the past year, there are 4 that were deemed "worthy" of a sticker this year?
Is creativity dead in our city? I think not.
As a former Helen Hayes Award recipient, I would like to politely ask the Helen Hayes committee to look into what happened this year and fix the errors in future years. Can I say this again...I was NOT in Nevermore, I was an audience member. This is not out of sour grapes, but out of genuine concern that this "new way" to nominate, is not yet the right way.
Nevermore is in terrific company of those who were "looked over". Fat Pig at Studio Theatre (Washingtonian magazine's play of the year), Mame at the Kennedy Center, Shennandoah at Ford's, Two Queens, One Castle and The Girl in the Goldfish Bowl at Metro Stage, Death of a Salesman at Keegan, Brian Hemmingsen, Susan Lynskey, Ariel Dorfman, Scott Fortier, Harriet Harris, Christine Baranski, Sally Murphy, Andrew Long, Eric Schaeffer, and the list goes on.
The real reward that a new work can get is to be produced, and Nevermore is being done multiple times across the country in the coming months. The first of which productions will be done at Kensington Arts Theatre. Here is the poster. I will have details of this production to follow.
I have said my peace now.

a concerned DC Theatre supporter

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Image of the Week

Some lines in a show make you giggle for strange reasons if you hear them night after night and think about them in a way that they were not intended in the show. One that has been making me giggle is one of the Baker's Wife's lines.
Hence this staged picture...
Makes me laugh.

"The only thing that pursues me is tomorrow's bread!"


OK...I have been burning the candle at both ends and in the middle lately...rehearsing "Meet John Doe" at Ford's, and performing "Into the Woods" at night.
Exhaustion has been the norm. Hence this post.
Last night, I had a fucked up dream.
I went to go out back to smoke, and I saw Ryan waving me away from the door. I noticed this too late, walked out, and fell into a ditch on our back stoop. The stoop was populated with camel crickets and these creatures that looked like wood knots with legs...they were called "crabonies"...
they started biting me all over the back of my neck...Ryan yelled, "Watch out, the crabonies will bite your medulla oblongata!"
They were all over the back of my head, and I was scratching them off...I yelled at Ryan and said..."I am being attacked by crabonies and camel crickets!"
He informed me that the camel crickets were harmless, and that the "Crabonies" hid themselves among the camel crickets to hide themselves...
of course...why wouldn't I guess that?
Ryan surveyed the damage and informed me that I would probably die due to how many "crabonie" bites that I had suffered on my medulla oblongata.
Then I woke up at the sound of my alarm to go to rehearsal...and laughed in the shower..."crabonies"?
Woodknots with legs?
what does that mean?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Nostalgia Sunday...

So here is the origional Thriller video, by Michael Jackson...just because I was feeling nostalgic.
But then here below is the "Bollywood" version of Thriller. Hysterical. Sean found it for me.

Catwoman came Into the Woods!

How random is this? Eartha Kitt was at our Saturday Matinee! Yes, THE Eartha Kitt! She is friends with Dan Cooney's girlfriend, and they all came down to see Dan in the show! I actually shook hands with Catwoman!
( a geek, and TOTAL Batman TV show fan, it blew my mind).
How cool is that?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Dog Psychology

I was walking the dog this evening, and saw a woman walking a dog approaching.
Her dog was a poodle (tea cup). We distanced our respective dogs for the passing of the canine ships...
She (the owner) looks at me apologetically and says "Sorry, she's a bit tentative".
I look at her apologetically and say "That's ok, he's a bit verbose."
She says, 'Well, there you go."
I say, "There you go."
And we are on our way.
10 seconds later, Buddha took a poop.
Session completed.

Notes on a Scandal...

We saw Notes on a Scandal on Monday night, based on Zoe Heller's novel, "What was she thinking? [Notes on a Scandal]".
What a mind fu*k.
It was reminiscent of "Dangerous Liaisons", but mixed with tinges of "Misery", and a shot of Hitchcock mixed in.
Phillip Glass's score sold the movie. While the dialogue and acting are exceptional, the music took the movie to an operatic scale. It was like watching a play with a 14 piece orchestra behind you.
Judi Dench is always on top of her game, but this film is different from most that she graces...she is a force of nature. I would cheapen her performance to try to describe it.

Cate Blanchett is also in superb form in this film, and pulls her weight with Dench, never losing the film in Dench's wake. They act duets, not opposing solos...
The film is one of the closest things to Hitchcock that I have seen since Hitchcock.
All in all, you cannot miss this film. This film is a master class in acting, filmaking, soundtrack composition, and direction.
Go hence and see!