Monday, September 14, 2009


I feel like there have been a lot of people in the news who have passed away recently. I was saddened to learn of the death of my colleague, Robert Isabell, over the summer, and, more recently, Dominic Dunne.

Over the course of my career, I've been asked by a few special clients to coordinate the funeral and memorial services of a loved one who had just passed away. Although most people don't think about it, funerals and memorial services require just as much planning as any other event, often times more so due to the very short turn around time. I pride myself on giving my clients elegant and memorable events that allow them to say goodbye with grace and dignity.

About a month ago, we did a funeral for a client. When I mentioned that one of the children hadn't received many hand-written notes, someone in my office suggested that perhaps his friends and associates simply didn't know what to say.

A condolence note should be brief, avoid including a personal comparison (when my mother died...), and let the person know that you're there for them. It's perfectly fine to say "While no one can truly know how you feel, please know that I am here if you need anything at all." Obviously, sharing a short remark about the deceased if they were a family member or very good friend is perfectly acceptable, but not necessary if there was no close relationship.

In the end, the effort of putting pen to paper will mean more than the content of the note itself. So no matter how awkward you feel, send that note because it will mean the world to the recipient.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Lights of Broadway Still Shine

Several weeks ago, some friends of mine invited me to join them for a night at the theater. Going to a show is one of my favorite things to do. Taking in the scenery, the costumes, the phenomenal actors and of course the great story lines makes for a wonderful afternoon or evening out.

This time, I saw Mary Stuart. What an incredible show! Unfortunately, it's closed, but I had to talk about it. Director Phyllida Lloyd did an amazing job with the story of the dynamic relationship between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. In a time when men were the heads of the family and leaders, these two powerful women set the bar for female independence and the feminist movement.

The most amazing scene is the much-written about rain scene. Mary and Elizabeth face off in this pivotal moment with Mary, the prisoner, getting soaking wet, while Elizabeth, the executioner, remains dry in a scene that speaks volumes about both the characters both literally and figuratively. The actual rain was accomplished through the use of ceiling sprinklers and water traps and is simply breathtaking. I've never seen anything like it in theater before.

Although the show has closed, I had to talk about it because it proved that great, impactful theater is still alive and well in New York City. There are plenty of options for everyone - from historical to comedy to musical to children's shows. I think the theater is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or evening and is one of the great things about this city.

As always, check out TKTS booths for daily discounted tickets.