It’s been a year since I made an entry here. Have I been too busy? Well, yes and no.
HBO (now Max) postponed the airing of Season Two of “The Gilded Age” from April to a tentative date in September, and now will air for sure starting on October 29th. The series was ready at the turn of the year. Whether there will be a Season Three depends on audience/subscriber figures, which will only become evident to Warner Media after several episodes have been streamed. It will be available on MAX in the US and Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK. The first season is now on DVD.
So do your best to see it and tell your friends so that the saga of the Brooks and Russell houses can continue.
The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have seriously affected productions, as intended, but it now looks, following the Writers settling, that the actors will be back to work sooner rather than later.
One casualty so far has been our filming “Trouble in Mind”, the play by Alice Childress, that ran on Broadway at The Roundabout in the fall of 2021. I played a senile Irish doorman with ace colleagues such as LaChanze and Chuck Cooper. Charles Randolph Wright is determined to go ahead as soon as he can, with the original theatre cast, and our fingers are crossed for that.
Before the strike, I did an (uncredited) Winston Churchill voice-over as a chatbot for Season 4 Episode 9 of CBS TV’s “Evil”.
In early July I recorded “Misbelief”, the latest book by Dan Ariely, the eminent behavioral scientist, for whom I’ve been a long-term reader. It will be released on Harper Audio.
In September, I performed an audio version for Alison Larkin Presents of Agatha Christie’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” It was my first crack at Hercule Poirot – who has already been represented by a procession of fine actors – and I relished the challenge.
In February I finally visited my elder brother Chris in Whakatane, New Zealand. He emigrated there in 1965. We’ve seen each other in other parts of the world, but it was my first in-person trip. Air New Zealand inaugurated non-stop flights from New York last September, so the time was certainly right. My trip was accompanied by Cyclone Gabrielle which devastated the Hawkes Bay area to the East of North Island, coming on the heels of the wettest summer on record. There was record flooding, an earthquake or two off-shore, and a tornado near the airport. Somehow I was always in a different part of the country and avoided it all, as did, I’m thankful to report, my brother’s family. At his request, I gave a talk to the Edgcumbe Lions on “Behind the Scenes of The Gilded Age”. A surprising number in the audience had seen it, and we had a good evening, even though the beer was judged distinctly below par. Perhaps the flood water had seeped into the barrel…
In May, I answered the call for Jury service and after a day in the holding room at New York Civil Court, was found, along with my companions, to be surplus to requirements, and dismissed for another four years.
June 20th was named “Simon Jones Day” by AudioFile Magazine in their Salute to Golden Voices.
In May I was the auctioneer for The Coffee House Club’s first annual auction since the pandemic, and surprisingly raised ten thousand dollars from thirty-five people.
To mark the end of his tenure, I was glad to be the reader for the Last Maundy Thursday Service at Marble Collegiate Church presided over by retiring Musical Director and good friend Kenneth Dake. I wish him a fruitful change of gear/career.