Ultimate Home Game for Tour Producer
As From the Top’s tour producer, my job is to bring From the Top to communities across the United States. This means I get to work with some of the best concert halls and performing arts venues in the country, from Carnegie Hall to the Houston Grand Opera, to Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California, and even the lesser known, but tropical paradise that is the Maui Theatre. Let’s just say I’ve booked a lot of frequent flier miles.
So, when Dan Hart, the Executive Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra called me a couple of years ago about collaborating on a radio show, I was pretty excited. Why, you might ask? As a member of the great Buffalo Diaspora (Buffaloons are scattered all over the country and a surprising number of us work in the arts), this was a chance to bring From the Top back to my hometown, where my parents still reside and the home of my beloved Buffalo Bills.
Now, in my long show business career, I’ve worked in Buffalo before; several national Broadway tours I was on played there. But for me, working with the Buffalo Philharmonic was extra special; my grandfather Meyer had been a violinist in the orchestra for over 30 years, and during the Vaudeville Era, he was the headliner at the Shea’s Buffalo Theatre. Together with his brother Moe, who headed the band at the big nightclub in town, the Balsoms were what passed for “stars” in Buffalo during the ‘40s and ‘50s.
When I walked through the stage door at Kleinhans Music Hall (the BPO’s home) during a preliminary meeting with the BPO team, it was the second time in my life I had gone through that door. The first was my virgin trip into the theatre at age 5, with my grandfather who brought me to work to see a Young People’s Concert starring Captain Kangaroo. It was surreal; particularly since I remembered which dressing room the Captain used that day.
We’re back in Buffalo this coming weekend for our second concert together with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and their incredible Music Director JoAnn Falletta. But for me, it’s really just the ultimate home game. I plan on sitting in the middle of the violin section, in my grandfather’s old chair just for fun.
From the Top tapes a radio episode with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, this Sunday, March 15 at 2:30pm. It feeds the week of April 13, 2009. Learn more about attending the live taping at www.bpo.org.