Looking-Glass Love Songs

I LOVED singing, especially jazz standards and the blues. But it didn’t take very long for me to tire of the bar scene. So I wrote myself a little play and a few more songs. With the incredible support of Jack Reuler and grants from COMPAS Community Arts and the General Mills Foundation, I hired some fine folks- an actress, director, lighting designer, and three musicians. With a bevy of family and friends doing a gazillion little and big things I didn’t even know went into a stage production,  we put it on. Just one weekend at the Mixed Blood Theatre, then another At the Foot of the Mountain. Not a long run, but a very deep experience. Hearing not only applause, but silence, sighs, and laughter in the right places told me that what I had written was connecting with others. Powerful. The story was a simple coming-of-age-in-song tale. I got to sing the torch songs I loved, but with the added footnote: these songs are not good dating advice! Beverly Smith-Dawson did a great job as the grandmother recalling her youth and sharing her wisdom with her granddaughter. My psychologist friend Mary brought a women’s group, and further affirmed the importance of the message: when it comes to love, write your own songs. 

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My sister Nancy Zhao “managing the stage” with Beverly Smith-Dawson

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Pianist Jeanine McAdams (now Nesbit), Holly, bassist Wendell Thomas, stage manager Nancy Zhao, “Grandma” Beverly Smith-Dawson

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Pianist Jeanine McAdams (now Nesbit), bassist Wendell Thomas, stage manager Nancy Zhao, “Grandma” Beverly Smith-Dawson, flutist Frank Wharton

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Beverly, director Wendy Knox, and Nancy “through the looking-glass”

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