Friday, February 29, 2008

Cast Dinner

Last night Sheryl and I joined the cast for their farewell dinner at Darfon's. It was a wonderful time together and fun to have some time away from the very hard work we've been doing for weeks.

Here are some pictures from last night--

The cast of Norwegian Cruise Line Spirit with Mindy, Claire (and me) from Gary Musick

In each cast, the first timers get a Gary Musick jacket. Here they are posing in their new jackets.

Candice and Katie show off their new jackets.

Today we are doing final runs of shows and trying to get ready to leave. Sunday we fly out with the cast. Please pray for our safe travels. Sheryl and Gary Musick are coming out to the ship on Thursday for a few days. They won't get to see the cast in the actual shows yet, but they will get to see their final dress next weekend. Then the week of the 9th, the cast begins their shows.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Norwegian Cruise Line's SPIRIT Cast

As we enter our last 2 days of rehearsal before leaving, the cast is running on overdrive. The rehearsal process for these shows always amazes me. Depending on the ship, there can be up to 4 shows (each one learned in one week here). So, today and tomorrow, their brains will be stretched to remember everything they've soaked in for the last few weeks.

Here are some more pictures of the run-through of the "Radio" show yesterday...

Sheryl is coming out to visit me next week. I am so excited that it's going to work out! The next two weeks will be hectic as we get the cast on board, continue rehearsals and reblocking for the actual space and fit costumes, etc...all of this at odd hours because the original cast will still be on board so we have to work around them. Then, Sunday the 9th, my at will begin their contract on board and have their first shows that week. Exciting times!

We'll have our final run-throughs tomorrow. I will try and post some more pics. Thanks to Gary for the photos!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


It's been quite a week. Birthdays, life, work, etc. We celebrated my mom's birthday last Saturday. First, I took Sheryl, my mom and the kids to watch a rough run-through of the Broadway show. The cast did a great job! Later we went to eat at a new place in Green Hills. It was one of those eating out experiences that makes you never want to take kids out again. But, the food was good!

The cast of the Spirit has been working extra hard. This is crunch week. Trying to remember everything and polish it before we leave. These shows are particularly challenging...LOTS of dancing.

I hope those of you reading are having a great week.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


February 22nd is a very special day. No...not because of anything to do with George Washington. Tomorrow will mark the day back in 1938 when my mom was born as a very tiny pre-mature baby in Anson, TX. She was born at home and my grandparents put her in a shoe box and placed her in front of a wood burning stove to keep her warm. Ever since then, Judy Thomas has been not only a survivor, but also one who THRIVES!

Mom is a joyful person--ever positive, always encouraging. She's always avoided negative talk. She loves to laugh. She loves to read. Her expertise in Children's Literature has kept her in the book game and has definitely benefited our family. Our kids love to get books from Nonnie.

Mom is a true friend. Watching my parents in their friendships affected me tremendously growing up. I saw the value of good friends. I saw the value of sharing hearts.

Her positive qualities only seemed to boil over as our children came into this world. They view trips to Nonnie's house as one of their favorite treats. I love how she will sit and have tea parties with Ella or help Maddie dress her dolls. I love how wildly in love she is with our Sam.

One of my mom's favorite poems is "Warning" by Jenny Joseph.

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit...

The poem goes on. I love that my mom loves that poem. In real life, my mom is a completely generous, Christ-like, meek spirited woman. She is full of Godly wisdom and grace. She is a life-long learner. She loves long and deeply. Her spirit is that of a 25 year old. Her wisdom is that of a 90 year old.

Mom, though you are only turning 70, I fully expect to see you don a purple suit and a red hat. Your life has touched many. I am so thankful for you and your influence in my life. I am so grateful that you are shaping the lives of my children. I am so grateful for your dear friendship with Sheryl.

May you have the happiest of birthdays tomorrow. If anyone deserves it, YOU do! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Little Change...

You may notice, there are a few changes. It's nothing major...I just got tired of the white background that I've had for 4 years. Thanks for helping me find the edit button for the subtitle, Tim!

I am better tonight after being sick with the horrible stomach virus going around Nashville/ the USA/the entire world. I am so thankful to be feeling somewhat better. But, as it seems to happen, Sam came down with a fever tonight. For. the. LOVE.

This is a big week in our family. My mom has a MAJOR birthday coming up on Friday...stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

There is a Fountain

THREE days of the flu. Nasty. Apparently, there are two types going around. I've now had both. I don't remember a year when so many people have been sick. Schools are closing, kids are's time for this stuff to move on out.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Streams in the Desert

This blog is not about the event known as "Streams in the Desert" but more about finding my own stream in the desert of West Texas. Sheryl, the kids and I are in Midland this weekend. We came out to sing and to do some worship leading. As usual, the people are overwhelmingly generous in heart and spirit. Tod and LeeAnn look great and it's so wonderful to see them and the kids. Alan and Holly Brown had us over for lunch yesterday with some other friends. We had such a great time! (Hi, Jill! You know we love you!!!)

Tonight we did a special candle light worship service in the rotunda. It was such a sweet night. I got to pray with Kevin Riggs and talk about life and faith with Alan Brown. We sang with Kevin and Iris Riggs and Syd Braddock--what a treat! And, Marc outdid himself with prep work for the night.

But, the real treat was hearing Tod share some words tonight. I've always admired Tod, and especially after watching him deal with the devestating loss of their son last May in that auto accident. When he speaks, it's effortless. It's real. There's no special "preacher" voice. He just simply shares from his heart and you can almost always hear a pin drop---people listen intently. I have loved seeing everyone and being back at Golf Course Road this weekend, but I'm hit with the fact tonight that Tod is a real gift in my life, but especially these last 9 months. Being with the Browns (all 37 of them)'s like finding a stream in the desert.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Life seems to pass so quickly. How is that possible? I honestly can't believe it's the middle of February.

Literally hundreds of people have told us over time to soak in every day with our kids because, "You turn around and they're gone". I think it has made an impression on us. We genuinely try to take every day as a blessing with them. We are having the best time with them and love being parents.

But isn't it funny how much of a roller coaster it can be? One minute they say something so amazingly profound and hug and kiss you in a way that makes your heart melt. The next minute Sam's eating a booger and saying, "YUMMMY!", or dropping the mother load poop in the playroom and then, in an effort to report it to us, scoots down the stairs on his bottom...OR the girls get in a screaming match and you find YOURSELF screaming, "STOP SCREEEEEEEEEAMING!!!" Have you been there?

Tonight I had a moment. I was laying on Maddie's bed and she was snuggling with me giving me the sweetest hugs. It was one of those heavenly moments when you feel like angels are surrounding you covering you with their wings. Absolutely precious. I leaned over and talked sweetly while looking into her eyes saying, "Maddie, I am so proud to be your daddy. God gave you to me and it was one of my all time favorite gifts."

Maddie looked at me for a moment and said, "Daddy, you really need to brush your teeth. Your breath smells terrible."

Ahhhhh...the joys, the humility, and the hiliarity of parenthood. What a ride!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

We've got SPIRIT!

Today we began with the cast of the Norwegian Cruise Line "Spirit". They are all GREAT! I love them already!

Today we did all the boring stuff like dealing with paper work, passports and visas (we have a Russian, an Aussie, lots of Canadians and some Americans). They also did shoe fittings. Tomorrow we begin with the Broadway show! It was a fun day--I love my job!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Atlanta show...continued

The rest of the day went well yesterday. We had very little turn-around time to transform the hall into a banquet area with an Asian rehearse in the space with the drummers and performers doing the Chinese lion and dragon.

Until we were able to get into the venue, we rehearsed the choreographed dragon moves out in the downstairs lobby area...

Once we got inside, Claire rehearsed the lion dance first... Chase and Tony were great!

This is the same room from the pictures yesterday that we decorated with an Asian theme.

Claire and the dragon performers await their entrance music.

Chase Benz and me. (Chase's sister and her husband--Jody and Stephanie McBreyer are good friends. Chase did a great job!

Paul and Maureen take a break to pose.

The dragon was a bi hit (as was the lion dance). The drummers did a geat job too! (We used two guys from the drumline at Georgia Tech University)

All the performers--

Drummers: Nigel and A.B.

Singers and dancers: Chase Benz, Rodney Williams, Maureen Callahan, Jenny Slate Lee, Claire Williams, Alina Williams, Tony Speight, Liz Byler Shea, Paul Vann

Maureen and Alina--nice chicken pants. Alina has been a Radio City Rockette for the last few years performing in the Christmas show. (Hillary, I told her about you, but she said you guys were in different touring casts)

When we blew the confetti cannons, they shot with such force that it filled some of the lights with confetti. The guys had fun during load-out emptying the light fixtures. Jonathan was showered with confetti. He is one of our production managers and the master of all things video and sound.

It's so great to be home! I am exhauseted. We began at 6:30am yesterday and after the day we did load-out and finished around 1:30am. It was long, but everyone is fun to be around so that makes it go fast!

Everything said and done, it was a great success. Thank you to everyone who helped make it such a wonderful experience!

The cast from the NCL Spirit arrives tomorrow and we begin rehearsals Tuesday. I am so excited to start with them. We're about done with casting for Spring but then we'll turn around and have to cast a whole new set of ships this summer. The London audition went so well! Around 600 performers showed up to audition. Check out Gary's blog for pics... Gary Musick Productions Blog

Saturday, February 09, 2008


The event in Atlanta has been great so far. VERY long days, but fast paced and meeting a lot of great people. Yesterday was a long 18 hour day. We had load in and then rehearsal with the singers for the Broadway number. The rest of the day was spent shooting the "hype" video and doing tech run-throughs.

Here was the room at the beginning of drape or stage...

This is the room after drape and stage went up..

The cast got here yesterday and we rehearsed them on stage. Claire is such a great choreographer!

As I went to the costume box to have them run through some of it with coats, I realized there had been a packing sent me into a small panic. Our Belmont intern, Courtney Clydesdale (daughter of Christian producer David Clydesdale--some of you may have used his arrangements) saved my life. I called her and asked what her next 24 hours looked like. She gracefully agreed to drive the remaining costumes from Nashville to Atlanta last night. Can I just say right here and now that Courtney Clydesdale rocks my face off?! THANK YOU, COURTNEY!!!

This was taken today before the show... the cast Paul Vann, Liz Shea, Claire Williams (choreographer), me, Jenny Slate Lee, and Rodney Williams

The cast was a huge hit! They looked and sounded great!

The whole performance was to honor one of their guys getting a big promotion named "Raff". We worked him into the number.

Singularly, or grouped...these folks are definitely a "sensation".

Tonight is the Asian show...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

One Singular...Chinese Dragon

For the last month we've been working towards our big event in Atlanta this weekend. We're producing a big corporate event there. I've been working with a cast of 9 to prepare a Broadway number Saturday morning. Then, that night the banquet has an Asian theme. The singers and dancers will bring a Chinese Lion and Dragon to life.

We are so blessed to be surrounded with brilliant and artistic minds at GMC. Art designers, set designers, costumers, choreographers, musicians,'s awesome. Thanks to team work, this weekend is looking like it will be a huge success!

Today we rehearsed the performers. Here are some pictures...

Claire teaches the singers the number from "A Chorus Line"..."One"

Singers L-R are Paul Vann, Jenny Slate, Liz Shea, and Rodney Williams (Claire's husband)

Here you see the Dragon head...controlled by Chase Benz (our friend Stephanie McBreyer's brother)

The dragon is huge...and quite a challenge to maneuver. The dancers did a great job!

On a family note...we've all had the plague. Something got passed around ZOE and we're still suffering from it. The kids have been ill all week. Please pray for health and healing for them!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Heart Gala 2008

The Heart Gala was a huge success! We were there from about 7am til after midnight, but it was all worth it. The Schermerhorn looked beautiful and the American Heart Association raised thousands of dollars for a very worthy cause.

The honoree of the evening was Billy Ray Hearn who is often called the father of Contemporary Christian Music. He started the record labels Myrhh and Sparrow and signed artists like Keith Green, 2nd Chapter of Acts, and Steven Curtis Chapman. His daughter, Holly, was integral in making this event a success as was Erin Link from AHA and Allison Huber from the Schermerhorn.

The Schermerhorn has a very cool feature where the floor of seats mechanically lowers and is replaced by an ornate hard wood ball room floor. Our symphony center is gorgeous and made an excellent venue for the Heart Gala.

Here are some pictures of our day yesterday--

Here's a picture of boss man Gary and me before the event began. Billy Ray's daughter, Holly, called him the "Dick Clark of the South East".