A recent PARADE article, 10 Things You Might Not Know About Andrew Lloyd Webber, noted that his new memoir, Unmasked, came out March 6.

#1 on the list: “When Sunset Boulevard joined School of Rock, Cats and The Phantom of The Opera on The Great White Way in early 2017, Webber became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers and Hammerstein with four Broadway shows running at once.”

In our Proctors Theatre subscription packet for 2018-2019, School of Rock is included, and Phantom, the longest play on Broadway ever, is one of the additional musicals being offered. I’ve seen Phantom and Cats (#4 on Broadway all-time) at Proctors in prior years, and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Mac-Haydn Theatre.

Still, my all-time favorite Lloyd Webber piece is Jesus Christ Superstar, written with lyricist Tim Rice. I have noted that it was one of my top 20 albums that came out prior to me going to college. It was the source of great theological debate, especially with my friend Pat, on issues of predestination and the role of the apostles, among many other things.

I watched the 1973 movie. It is one of only a handful of shows that I have seen on Broadway, in 2000.

When I read this review of a production at Schenectady Light Opera Company, described as “amazing”, I tried to get tickets; alas, it was sold out.

I’m sure to record and watch the Jesus Christ Superstar Live! event with Alice Cooper as King Herod, Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, and John Legend as the title guy, scheduled for Easter Sunday, April 1, on NBC-TV.

Here’s the entirety of Jesus Christ Superstar, with Ted Neeley as Jesus, Carl Anderson as Judas, and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene. Oddly it doesn’t have any of the pops and skips that my well-worn LP has. I Don’t Know How To Love Him was a hit single in 1971, which went to #28 (Elliman), and #13 by Helen Reddy.

Coverville 1209: The Andrew Lloyd Webber Cover Story

Interesting, at least to me: sometimes, when I ask y’all to ask Roger Anything, I really need your input on topics to write about. But it isn’t the case at present.

It’s partly because there’s a lot of political fodder. Surely it’s a function that, as I creep toward 70, there are more folks in the public eye turning three score and ten that I seem to think warrant commenting about.

My revived interest in genealogy will eventually pay dividends for this blog. But the looking can take a while and, as often as not, leads me down unexpected rabbit holes. Interesting and relevant, yes, but it doesn’t always translate to 350 words here.

I suppose mortality may play into this. I might be freer to write about things I might not have before. When you’re 65, you pretty much know you’re not going to hit 130, or even 120. And my eye doc’s assessment that my eyesight is deteriorating at a level “consistent” with my age means there are some old papers I better peruse and write about sooner rather than later.

Still, I openly welcome addressing what you might have on your mind. Among the reasons is that I tend not to overthink my responses, usually.

When you ask anything of me, I am required to respond, generally within the month, to the best of my ability. Obfuscation is allowed on my part, though I have not had to rely on it very often, much to my surprise. Maybe you are very polite folks.

Per the usuals, you can leave your questions below or on Facebook or Twitter; for the latter, my name is ersie. Always look for the duck. If you prefer to remain anonymous, that’s fine, but you need to SAY so; you should e-mail me at rogerogreen (AT) gmail (DOT) com, or send me an IM on FB and note that you want to remain unmentioned; otherwise, I’ll assume you want to be cited.

When Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was appointed Secretary of State by President Barack Obama in 2009, New York governor David Paterson selected Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the Senate vacancy.

Liberal Democrats, primarily from downstate (New York City) were not happy with the pick of the upstate Congresswoman with moderately conservative credentials. But, as Paterson knew, Gillibrand had won her House seat in 2006 and 2008 in a district gerrymandered to be in the Republican column.

As a Senator, she moved her political positions towards a far more liberal/progressive agenda. Her first early issue that I was aware of, though, didn’t seem to skew left or right, as she worked hard for passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

She has become a champion for victims of sexual assault, first in the military and then nationwide. She said, “This is a moment in time, unlike any other, with the ‘Me Too’ movement. Women are feeling the ability to tell what happened to them, some of the worst moments they’ve lived, and tell it publicly, and that is powerful and it is affecting everything.”

She’s also championed female candidates for office with the group Off The Sidelines, which professes not taking any corporate PAC money.

In 2017, no senator voted more often against the regime’s Cabinet nominees than Kirsten Gillibrand. She said recently: “We have a president who silences and demeans women, rigs the economy so corporations and the wealthiest few get richer while American families get by on less, allows the NRA to dictate his gun policy and threatens Dreamers with deportation from the country they call home. And what’s worse, the Republican Party has fallen in line behind him.”

A vulgar and suggestive message from the Tweeter-in-chief may have done her more political good than harm. The Washington Post reported that he raised her profile and fired up her supporters. She denies that she’s a contender for the 2020 presidential election.

She has been quite visible on television of late, including a 60 Minutes profile. “We are here to help people. We are here to put others first, to live a day in their shoes, to understand what their life is like and try to make it better.”

Kirsten Gillibrand is running for re-election to the Senate in 2018, and it appears extremely unlikely that she could lose.

For ABC Wednesday

In the IHARE article Undoing the Whitewashing of Black History in New York, Peter Feinman continues to address “some of the ways the first two centuries of black history in New York from slavery to emancipation had been forgotten or downplayed over the years.”

He was referring to Hunts Burial Ground in the Bronx and the Harlem African Burial Ground. As some know, slavery was not ended in New York State until July 4, 1827.

To that end, as he noted, The New York Slavery Records Index is a “searchable compilation of records that identify individual enslaved persons and their owners, beginning as early as 1525 and ending during the Civil War. According to the website:

Our data come from census records, slave trade transactions, cemetery records, birth certifications, manumissions, ship inventories, newspaper accounts, private narratives, legal documents and many other sources. The index contains over 35,000 records and will continue to grow as our team of John Jay College professors and students locates and assembles data from additional sources.

Amy Biancolli wrote a great article in the Times Union, New York’s slave past unearthed, showing how some surnames in the Albany area represent slaveholders with at least 13 enslaved people at some point: Dow, Beckman, Abeel, Van Buren, and Schuyler.

Feinman states, sarcastically: “Everybody knows slavery only occurred in the South. Everyone knows that the North is morally superior to the South because we never had slavery here. Everyone knows that slavery had nothing to do with the origin of the Civil War. Making 200 years of history disappear is quite a trick, but that history is still there and little by little it has emerged into the historical record.”

I haven’t had much of a chance to play with this tool yet. But I did a quick and dirty search on slaveholders with the last name Bell, because the oldest ancestor I can find, Harriet Bell Archer’s father, was William E. Bell, born in Orange County, NY. Harriet, born March 12, 1838, was the wife of James Archer, the Civil War vet I mentioned recently.

Type of Record Slave Owner
Year of Record 1790
Owner Last Name Bell
Owner First Name John
County or Borough Orange
Locality Orange
Number of Slaves 1
Number of All Persons 7
Source Document Census1790

Type of Record Slave Owner
Year of Record 1800
Owner Last Name Bell
Owner First Name William
County or Borough Rockland
Locality Orange
Number of Slaves 1
Number of All Persons 6
Source Document Census1800

And nothing in 1810 or later, suggesting the one enslaved person was freed, or escaped, in the first decade of the 19th century. Obviously something to investigate more fully in my purported free time.

Broome and Roger in 2016

The past six weekends have been extremely busy, with Black History Month at church. The last Sunday in February, there was a miscommunication by the guest minister.

We ended up having two different preachers for our two services, the latter showing up five minutes before the latter worship started, and she was great, but it was nerve-wracking. That’s also the day of the luncheon, which my wife is heavily involved in.

March 10 began with cleaning the house in anticipation of having folks over to play the card game hearts. Back in 1987/1988, a rotating cadre of us would go to Broome’s house to play three or four times a week. It has been reduced to once a year, the Saturday nearest my natal day.

But it’s not all card play. There’s a lot of talking among old friends, some of whom hadn’t seen each other in a year or two. There’s also eating, especially Orchid’s lasagna(TM).

At one point, there were six of us left. We could have played two games of three players each. Instead, we pretty much invented, on the spot, a double-deck game, stripping the deck of the pair of 2 of clubs. One CAN get BOTH queens of spades at the same time. It was so bizarre, in a GOOD way.

Pretty much as soon as the last guest left, my wife rushed down to the Palace Theater to attend the Albany Symphony. Early on, the mayor of Albany, Kathy Sheehan gave brief remarks about how great the ASO is. I had introduced her at my church for her talk on her equity agenda six days earlier.

The concert was conducted, as usual, by the adventurous David Alan Miller: it was the preview of what would be performed at the Kennedy Center in April 2018. The first piece in the second half was Dorothy Chang’s The Mighty Erie Canal, featuring 150 fourth-through-sixth graders from the Troy Public Elementary School All-City Choir.

Of course, their parents were there to see them, bringing along the singers’ younger siblings, who made the noises that toddlers will make, during the first half, Joan Tower’s Still/Rapids featuring pianist Joyce Yang, and Michael Daugherty’s Reflections with tuba virtuoso Benjamin Pierce.

It was great that the parents got to hear the concert. My wife overheard one parent of a small child sigh that they were not able to afford a babysitter. So it was what it was.

Still, as a snobbish symphony goer, it was easier to listen to Michael Torke’s Three Manhattan Bridges, also with the dazzling pianist Yang, after the kids, and their parents, and their sibs departed.

We got to bed about 11 p.m. EST, but woke up about 7 a.m. EDT. My position about the evils of changing the clock is on the record.

We dragged ourselves to church, then the Daughter went to the movies while we went to see the touring production of the Tony-winning play, The Humans, by Stephen Karam, at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. It’s about a family dinner on Thanksgiving.

Instead going to the homestead in Scranton, PA, the folks celebrate at the apartment of younger daughter Brigid (Daisy Eagan), a struggling composer living with her 38-year-old, still a student, boyfriend Richard (Luis Vega) in Lower Manhattan.

The visiting Blakes are the father, Erik (Richard Thomas, yes of The Waltons), the mother, Dierdre (Pamela Reed), older daughter Aimee (Therese Plaehn), with a plethora of problems, and Erik’s dementia-stricken mother (Lauren Klein), who’s having one of her “bad days.”

If you’ve ever had a holiday meal with extended family, you will recognize these people. The play is funny, sometimes uproariously so, and sad, and a little eerie, as disappointments about life bubble up.

The Tony-winning set by David Zinn is recreated here, and it’s brilliantly designed and used. The Humans was sensitively directed by Joe Mantello. Here’s a review.

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