On Wednesday the entire Second Wind Tour production and performance crew gathered for the final dress rehearsal at the historic State Theater in Ithaca, New York, hometown to Dr. Bill Thomas.
A lucky audience of local friends, family and supporters watched from the gallery as the Second Wind Tour’s unique non-fiction theatrical production came to life. The stage was set with a unique three-screen “sail” backdrop custom designed by Tony-award winning set designer John Arnone and fabricated in Ithaca by the incredible Ron Branchini.
Running the dress rehearsal was famed theater director Candace Barrett Birk visiting from Minneapolis and working closely with the Second Wind Tour Production Manager Moira Lynch from Hazel Productions in Washington, D.C. Their job was to run through the entire production, assemble all the stage queues for the live performance and trouble-shoot any problems.
For Act 1 each speaker ran through their performance beginning with Dr. Janet Taylor representing AARP’s Life Reimagined. Janet shared an intimate personal experience of finding her own second wind and then took the audience on an exploration of brain development in later life and the mystery of wisdom and age.
Next, musician and screenwriter Mary Lorson delved deep into the personal sharing her journey surviving cancer and reinventing herself as a mom in her 50s. Mary was followed by the Tour’s two speakers representing The Green House Project, David Farrell and Susan Frazier, who will alternate as national speakers throughout the tour. Both David and Susan melded their personal experiences with their crusade to transform health care to provide dignity and growth to all elders.
Dr. Bill Thomas closed Act 1 with a dramatic stage entrance and performance that combined elements of theatrical stagecraft with a traditional monologue. You have to see it to believe it!
For Act 2 the audience was treated to the first public showing of the director’s cut of the Sundance Audience-Award documentary film Alive Inside. This director’s cut was created exclusively for the Second Wind Tour by director Michael Rossato-Bennett, one of the Tour’s faculty members.
The film concludes with a “marvelous surprise” live musical performance by Samite Mulondo, one of the stars of the documentary. It was reported at Sundance that there was not a dry eye in the house after screenings of Alive Inside. The Second Wind Tour dress rehearsal concluded without a dry eye but with every audience member out of their seat dancing.
Now it’s time to hit the road! See you in New York City on Monday.
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