Nov 6, 2009

Alan Osburn: I Dedicate This One To Ken

From Alan Osburn: As the Producing Artistic Director I have the wonderful opportunity to sit in on design meetings and watch all of these creative people continue to impress and inspire me with their passion and experience. I get to step into the room next to my office see costumes appear where a couple of days ago there was just some fabric. I can go to a rehearsal and watch these talented actors just come up with stuff that makes Michael’s face glow with wonder. But I also have moments of extreme sadness in dealing with very sensitive situations.

When Michael cast these five triple threats I couldn’t have been happier for him. But like the holidays, sometimes with great joy, there comes great sadness. I got a call today from Ken Robinson, one of the members of the cast. For those of you who saw The Full Monty he was Malcolm, the guy who sang Is This the Wind at the funeral in act two, which Ken did beautifully. Ken came to Michael and me a few days ago and told us he had hurt his knee outside of the rehearsal process. Today, after many trips to his physical therapist, his doctor, and after having an MRI, he informed me that he did indeed have a torn meniscus in his knee. With this being such a heavy dance show, and knowing that he would also have to dance on a raked stage, it was clear to me that the best thing for both the show and Ken’s health was that I would need to replace him. As a producer this is one of the hardest calls to make, especially with someone like Ken.

I don’t think most people have a true understanding of how deeply passionate performers feel about what they do. How euphoric they feel when they hear the sound of applause or laugher coming from the darkness just beyond the edge of the stage. Or understand the deep seated drive that actors have to finish the second act of a show, even when they just slipped on the stairs during intermission and cracked their head open and are covered in blood, as one of our Youth Repertory Theatre students (Alex Killan) did this past summer.

On the phone today Ken told me he would do whatever it would take to somehow still be in the show, which basically means he would have to ice, stretch, and heat his knee constantly, and still hold down a full time job, spending his evenings and weekends grimacing in pain, praying that no one in the cast or crew would see him because as he put it he “didn’t want the show to suffer.” We are very fortunate to have in the wings the very talented Marco Robinson who will join the company tomorrow. But for tonight, here’s to Ken, our first choice, our friend, and an inspiration to anyone who has ever had to play hurt for the good of the show.

#1: Ken peforming with Saturday Evening Post in The Music Man
#2: Ken playing the role of Malcolm in The Full Monty
#3: Ken in Sunday in the Park with George
#4: Ken in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!


Emory said...

Thanks for the kind words to a great friend and performer Alan! Working with Ken is always a pleasure and I know that after he recovers both cast, crew and audience alike can enjoy the art he creates.

Leslie said...

WE LOVE YOU KEN! thanks for such a well written tribute, alan.


hmmmm...ken's not dead.

thanks for the words, alan.

Broadway Queen said...

I too worked with Ken, and he was quite talented! Thanks Alan!