Okay, so where were we?
Well, never mind that. Over the last eighteen months since I last blogged, obviously a horrible global pandemic occurred that emotionally devastated the theatre community. The Joliet Drama Guild, of which I am still the Artistic Director, continued to produce shows as safely as possible, including our first film, I WAS A TEENAGE ALLOTMENT ANNIE, based on my 2013 play and co-directed by myself and Adam Rociles. Originally slated to be a stage production, once COVID-19 bled into April and May of 2020 we decided to take a bold approach and roll the cameras, first hurriedly searching for WWII uniforms, 1940s costumes, and period props, filming over the course of nine jam-packed days in June in Naperville and Joliet, editing for a month and then holding a red carpet formal dress drive-in movie premiere outside Joliet Town & Country Lanes bowling alley in September. That successfully completed, I wanted to jump right back into the movie business, writing a screenplay about my new historical obsession, the 1918 global influenza pandemic that almost destroyed the country that war-torn autumn, that film being TERRIFYING TALES OF THE SPANISH LADY. With the aid of fellow JDG board member Jordan M. Willner (who helped with the story) taking the directorial reins and Adam Rociles of Top Hat Productions (who also starred) handling the cinematography, we started filming in November 2020 and only stopped when Jordan yelled "cut" on the final take of the final scene at the end of March 2021. The part of the sinister and titular personification of the dread disease was played by incredible teenage actor/singer Leah Meeder, choreography was supplied by young area dance legend Claire Roling, and an original musical score was composed by musician/playwright Alex Kulak. This upcoming Saturday, we will premiere the film in a private but sold-out event at Hollywood Blvd Cinema in Woodridge, Illinois, and I am so proud of the cast of amazing young actors and filmmakers who helped make this happen. We hope this story of a global tragedy of over a century ago helps give some understanding of what we all have gone through over the last eighteen months and can't wait to be making art with you and for you again.