Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Leap

On Wednesday, I mailed a letter to about 150 of my friends and associates locally, followed by an e-mail blast to at least another 100 or so Friday afternoon, informing them of my plans in light of my departure from the Laguna Playhouse and thanking them for their past friendship & support of me and the Playhouse. (I still have others to contact, so please don’t feel badly if you haven’t yet heard from me.)

I don’t intend to post my letter here, but if you are desperate to read it, you’ll find that Orange County Register theatre critic Paul Hodgins reproduced it in its entirety on his blog at

Late yesterday, e-mails began to arrive here from well-wishers—some short and sweet, but others with longer commentaries. In fact, Alison pointed out to me last night that there was a common message running through several of the e-mails—even the same word, “leap,” cropping up multiple times.

That seemed a fitting theme for this morning’s blog post, in which I’ve decided to quote a few of these friends of mine (hopefully they won’t mind!):

“I'm happy that you've made the leap into the unknown abyss of self-realization and I'm sure it will bring you nothing but success and fulfillment.”
--Tom Swimm – Artist

“You’ve come a long way baby.”
--Verna Rollinger, Laguna Beach – longtime (now retired) Laguna Beach City Clerk and local activist

“I know your new creative ventures will be a huge is incredibly stimulating to fulfill your dreams”
--Pat Kollenda, Laguna Beach – Arts Commissioner & local activist
(Pat was the President of the Board of the Laguna Playhouse who hired me in 1990.)

“This is a moment of change to celebrate. You are going to be incredible. The world will not know what hit them.”
--Randy Gener, New York City – Senior Editor, AMERICAN THEATER magazine

“I have pretty much retired from reviewing, FINALLY…I do love living in San Diego and don't miss the traffic of L.A. at all.”
--Rob Stevens, San Diego - longtime Los Angeles theatre critic, founder & producer of the annual “Robby” Awards

“I took the leap myself. In 1992, I left a dream job as Creative Director/EVP of Ocean Pacific, (then one of the largest garment companies in the world) to become a documentary filmmaker tracking global trends. The next 10 years were surprisingly, (exhaustingly) successful and in 2002, again feeling the need to get back to creative roots, I decided to close the film company and pursue my first love, photography and writing.
After 5 years, there is not a day that goes by that I don't appreciate where I've been and how that influences the path ahead. You are entering into wild new territory. Enjoy the scenery. Live fiercely.”
--Suzi Chauvel, Laguna Beach – Artist

“I'm a bit envious about all the exciting new projects you get to undertake now that you are "untethered," as you say. I loved Dennis Collins' remarks about why he stepped down as head of the Irvine Foundation after 10 (?) years -- he thought it was important to "re-pot" oneself every few years to grow new roots and see what might bloom from them. It reminded me of the policy of the Ford Foundation to limit program officers' assignments to only 3-year stints before they rotate to different program areas. It changes how you approach the job to know that you have a finite timeframe for accomplishing things.”
--Kathleen Costello, Executive Director, The Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research, California State University, Fullerton

Finally, when I had coffee with my friend Paul Freeman, a former Laguna Beach Mayor, earlier in the week, he told me that almost everyone he knows in our age range (50+) is either making a total career change or giving it serious thought.

I guess I’m just assuming my fated role as a member of the baby boom generation!

Until next time…



Ken Neufeld said...

Hey Rick!
Good for you. I too am taking a leap, although I don't think it is going to lead to consulting or freelance directing (thank god), but the last nine months have been a terrifically rewarding experience. While I have been interviewing around the country and will continue to do so, I have also had a lot of time to reflect on working in the theatre business for the past 30 years. I have also had time to read lots of stuff I never got a chance to, reply to blogs, do the crossword, paint the soffets on my house, and generally slow down. My blood pressure is down 20 points, colesterol down 18 points, and I've lost weight! SO, my advice to you is take your time, don't jump into anything, and remember - everything is working out perfectly. Best, Ken

Rick Stein said...

Ken, thanks for your comment. I got your voice mail but accidentally erased it, so I don't have your contact info. Please phone me again. Thanks.

satpar said...

Glad you're still blogging, Rick. I've long been a fan of your well-turned phrases, and with your leap, the sky's the limit! ("Thumbalina", who woulda thunk it?)
Bev Keppler