High on Life « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

High on Life

What’s Up?

Another acupuncture session and a visit to the hand surgeon this afternoon to get a trigger finger injected were on the Monday schedule. Those injections into the palm of the hand just below the base of the fingers are the most painful things I have ever experienced. It is, however, always great to see Dr. Steven Puopolo; he is the hand surgeon that did the debridement surgery several years ago after my left middle finger became infected after trigger finger surgery done in Florida. I credit him fully with saving that finger.

I was glad to learn on Monday morning that multiple IPT veteran and blog regular Bill Lloyd sold his 400 DO II the other day. In addition, first-timer Juan Tolintino will be joining IPT recidivists Catherine Costolo and Bob DeCroce on the Fort Desoto Instructional Photo-Tour. I still have room for you.

The Streak

Todayโ€™s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 278 days in a row with a new blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. As always-โ€“and folks have been doing a really great job recentlyโ€“-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. AND Please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.


High on Life

In all of my 70 plus years, I had never gone to a movie or a show by myself. So Sunday, August 14, 2016 was a first. I went to see Jersey Boys on Broadway for the third time in eight months and the second time in eight days. Alone, with some trepidation. As things turned out, it was one of the top ten days of my life… Heck, maybe top five.

I first saw Jersey Boys with Denise Ippolito. Last December, I think. Denise surprised herself by loving the show. When we took our seats I was a bit disappointed to see the dreaded white slip: the role of Frankie Valli is being played by Dominick Scaglione Jr. “Bummer. Pay all that money and wind up seeing the understudy.” Not. I was blown away by Dominick’s performance and left believing that nobody could have done any better. I loved the show. I knew the music, and knew the words to just about every song especially the earlier ones: Sherri, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like a Man, Dawn, Rag Doll, and Oh What a Night. The staging was and is wondrous and the musicians great as expected. There are lots of funny lines, some dark drama, and lots of reasons to cry.

In all of the three Jersey Boy performances that I saw, Quinn VanAntwerp, a tall, young Dutchman masterfully played the role of Bob Gaudio, singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and the keyboardist/backing vocalist for the Four Seasons. Gaudio, introduced to the group by by a young go-getter who grew up to be the Joe Pesci, brought the Four Seasons to life by writing back to back to back #1 hits after joining the group. The scene depicting the initial meeting is one of the most powerful ones in the show. With some reluctance, Gaudio sits down at the piano and begins playing and singing a new song that he has written. After a minute, Frankie Valli joins him, followed by the two guitarists, Nick Massi and the villain of the show, the Tommy DeVito. It was the first time that The Four Seasons produced “that sound.” You can get an idea of the amazing connection between Scaglione and VanAnterp, their great voices, and Quinn’s beatific smile in the You Tube video here. (This link seems to work properly; if not, do a search for “Quinn VanAntwerp Cry For Me – YouTube” and it will pop right up.)

So why did I need to go back to see Jersey Boys again eight days after seeing it on Saturday August 6 with my younger daughter Alissa and her husband Ajiniyaz? I bought those tickets many months ago when Dominick Scaglione was doing only the Wednesday and Saturday matinees. But now he is doing the show three nights a week (WED, FRI, & SAT) and the Sunday matinee, sharing the role with Mauricio Perez. Lissy loved the show so much that she too did some Jersey Boys surfing and learned that Quinn–after more than 2,500 performances as Gaudio–will be leaving the show in mid-September. I wanted to see Quinn and Dom together one more time.

Oh what a day, what a show, what a night. Better even then the first time. The wonderful connection between Dom and Quinn was obvious throughout the show. During the performance, several numbers drew sustained applause. Dom and Quinn would look at each other, shrug, their shoulders, and smile a “how lucky are we?” smile. Those two have a very special bond. I had tears in my eyes for just about every number after “Cry for Me” in the middle of Act I. The customary rousing standing ovation for the finale lasted a full five minutes. Nobody wanted to leave.

I decided to hang around at the stage door to see if I could chat a bit with Dom and Quinn to share my feelings. The first few folks came out in minutes. I shook hands and spoke briefly with veteran TV, film, and stage actor Mark Lotito who plays mobster Gyp DeCarlo (and others); he was friendly and appreciative. After that was Robert Blake (Tommy DeVito), every hair perfectly in place. Again, friendly, genuine, smiling, and appreciative. Where were Dom and Quinn? Would they skip out on the crowd to head home? I was as nervous as if I were a high schooler asking the prom queen for a date.

After about 30 minutes in the heat, Quinn VanAntwerp, wearing a big smile, came out, followed almost immediately by Dominick Scaglione. Both signed every Playbill thrust at them and posed for countless cell phone images, smiling and friendly all the while. Quinn was done first. I introduced myself, shook his hand, and shared my thoughts as above (and more). I wished him luck with whatever was coming next. He was interested in what I had to say, friendly, personable, and appreciative. Dom was even busier than Quinn as he met with a group of admiring young ladies who will be attending the Broadway Mentors Program that would be leading the next day. (Note: there is a great bio/interview with Dom on the Broadway Mentors site here.)

Again I waited. My chat with Dom was as uplifting as the one with Quinn had been. He was attentive, sweet, friendly, sincere, and appreciative. When I mentioned that I might fly back to New York to see him and Quinn one last time for Quinn’s last Jersey Boys show, the Sunday matinee on September 18th, he said that he would not be doing that one due to a previous commitment. Then he mentioned that he would be leaving the show in October. Wow, Jersey Boys will never be the same. How glad I was to have gone and seen them that one last time. I thought about asking each of them do do a selfie with me but Mr. Famous Bird Photographer does not know how to take a picture with his cell phone…

I was feeling quite euphoric on my walk back to the parking garage and that feeling continued on my drive through the Queens Midtown Tunnel and on the trip back to Holbrook on the LIE, the Long Island Expressway, aka the world’s longest parking lot. I was thrilled to have met and chatted with two actors that I admire greatly, and to learn that they are both fine young men as well. And I was thrilled that there was no traffic at all on the way back to my Mom’s!

I posted something to Dom’s Facebook page on Sunday night. He responded:

Hey Arthur Morris I’m really glad I got to meet ya man. You are a warm and genuine man and in this day and age that’s hard to come by. Thank you for your energy. Quinn VanAntwerp and I do have that bond and as we both come to a close it gets more and more special up there. Stay well brother. Dom

In retrospect, definitely an all time top ten day…

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10 comments to High on Life

  • avatar Mike Ross

    Oh, what a night! Glad you had a chance to see it again. Here is a history of the group:


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Mike. Been there done that ๐Ÿ™‚


      ps: I would think that this, from there, is pretty impressive:

      The musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and has since had two North American National Tours and productions in London’s West End, Las Vegas, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne and other Australian cities, Singapore, South Africa, The Netherlands and elsewhere. Jersey Boys won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical, and the 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

  • avatar Catherine Costolo

    Artie, thanks for posting the link to the song. I enjoyed listening. I have never seen the play but will try to watch the movie though that may not be the same. Looking forward to seeing you at Fort Desoto.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      YAW. The movie is excellent. And there is a touring version of Jersey Boys. See you soon!


  • avatar Jim Amato

    Wow, What a wonderful deep seated emotional experience with the show and the cast.
    It is great and fortunate that we, humans, have the capacity to see, enjoy and appreciate the true humanness we possess. This show must be an astonishing experience. I felt a strong connection to your telling of the tale.
    Good for you.

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    Fun reading. For me too, there always seems to be trepidation about going to a show by yourself. Congratulations for pulling it off. Need to work on your photo skills for doing selfie’s.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Need to learn how first! The one I wanted was the three of us; that might have been pushing it a bit. Or not…


  • avatar Wayne Lea

    Congratulations on your wonderful day! It’s nice to hear about your other interests, they add spice to life. Good read even without pictures.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks much Wayne. Birds, photography, and sports on the tube lead the league for me. Love lots of music too. Jeopardy, Scrabble, Law and Order SVU, Criminal Minds, and more ๐Ÿ™‚ Jeez, I almost forgot the UFC! And family, especially my two wonderful daughters and their husbands and kids.