Posted on April 24, 2024 at 5:05 pm

Often in these pages I have spoken about seeing Closer Than Ever at the Cherry Lane Theater in 1989 and the powerful effect it had on me. Among the many repercussions of that evening was my total devotion to Sally Mayes, who took New York by storm in that show and has had a glorious career in theater and cabaret ever since.

Two years later, after I had settled into my first apartment in the city so I could begin whatever my career was going to be, I was asked to write a song for a benefit concert and told that Sally was going to sing it. I was so excited about this idea that I wrote something that would use her full musical and dramatic range, a big warm rich inspirational manifesto called “Hear My Song.”

Unfortunately, I never heard Sally sing the song that night – I ended up getting a gig somewhere else. But it started a relationship that eventually blossomed into my becoming her music director for several years and even included us doing a Broadway show together.

And this spring, twenty-two years after I donned a cowboy hat and boots for the last time, Sally called and asked if I would come down to the University of Houston and meet her students in the undergraduate acting program for which she’s an Artist-in-Residence. Of course, nothing makes me happier than getting to hang out with Sal and I secretly hoped that maybe we’d get to make some music together…

Which is how I ended up in a black box theater in Houston, Texas on a Friday night in April, playing the second half of a concert (the first half was the final performance by Sally’s students, who were fantastic) for a full house of passionate musical theater Texans, and accompanying Sally on a full-tilt heart stopping rendition of “Hear My Song” that made up in spades for the fact that I missed it in 1991.

Thanks for everything, Sally, and I can’t wait until we can do it again!

Hope from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
I Love Betsy from Honeymoon In Vegas (2015)
It All Fades Away from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
Cassandra from The Connector (2024)
It’s Hard to Speak My Heart from Parade (1998)
SALLY MAYES: Hear My Song from Songs for a New World (1995)
Get Closer from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
Fifty Years Long from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Wait ‘Til You See What’s Next from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
All Things In Time from Coming From Inside The House (2021)