The Crying Tree

MSirkinI had my shot.

I was cast as a squirrel in a kindergarten play. I may or may not have gone all diva and refused to play the squirrel.

And so, as the legend has it, I was re-cast as a tree.

I have no recollection of the play other than terror. Sheer terror. I quite literally cried the entire time. It’s true. My only real memory, other than the photo you see below is of me coming off stage and running into my parents’ arms. They were mortified. I think. That was both the end of my acting career and oddly, the beginning of my love affair with actors and actresses.


I am in awe of their abilities. Singing. Dancing. Telling jokes. And to do it in front of people on stage.. wow. I’m in awe of a great performance. I’m in awe of anyone brave enough to give an authentic performance in front of a live audience.

When I was little, I was lucky enough and lived closed enough to NYC that we saw a few shows on Broadway as a kid. They always left me with the same feeling of regret. If only I hadn’t been a crying tree, I thought, I could do that. At least that’s what my brain told me, despite having quite literally no musical talent (I flunked out of basic guitar in high school) and can’t sing a single note in any accepted musical key.

When I met Kevin Dedes a few years ago I was fooled. He was hired onto my team at Autism Speaks and we put him to work on all sorts of web and customer related projects. I was struck by his sense of humor and his critical thinking in our team meetings where he’d drop bomb-like questions out of the blue.

“Hey Marc,” he’d start, and I knew what was coming. Some sort of existential question with no right or wrong answer. My very favorite kind of question.

I sort of knew he was an actor, but we never really talked about it. It wasn’t until he made this completely awesome video for Halloween in which he does a magic trick that I finally took notice.

It had been a while since we talked after we both had left Autism Speaks and I was surprised and happy when Kevin reached out to me via e-mail to reconnect and to talk about some important decisions he was dealing with. We got to talking about Kingfisher and about Kevin’s dreams for the company and what he wanted to do. He told me about what kinds of shows he wanted to produce and how he wanted to build up the company. I got excited. Very excited. So excited I offered to help him out anyway I could.

For the past few months we’ve been plotting and planning and talking and budgeting. And thinking and producing. And Kevin is edging closer and closer to making his dream a reality. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Kingfisher team and hope that in some small way, that sad little tree will be able to finally stop crying.

Right now, the gears are in motion and Kevin and his team are pulling things together. The effort is massive and the time is short. I encourage you to find a way to help by cheering him on.

Cheer him on by getting involved in 3 easy steps…

    1. Read The Misanthrope (The Kingfisher Theater’s upcoming inaugural production) and if you love it, tell someone else to read it.

    2. Sign up on the website to get updates – it’s free and we promise not to bug you:

    3. When it’s time, come see the show and say hello.