I can say with certainty that without him, I would not be where I am today. True, my parents kickstarted me on my way into majoring in theatre in college, but it was DG who made realize that I could actually make it a career.
He joined my theatre department midway through my time there - by then, I knew I wanted to be a stage manager... but I didn't realize I could do it 'for real'. He was the one who started me thinking that way. He found out that I could read music (I had played piano for 12 years) and encouraged me to stage manage a ballet and an opera before I left (I was working primarily on musicals and some plays at the time.)
So he got me a summer job staging managing "Die Fledermaus" at the summer opera. What an adventure that was - a fluffy operetta piece but I learned a lot and made some great friends. He also got me gigs staging managing "Giulio Cesare" and later, "Nutcracker" during the academic year... little did we know that I was hooked.
"Giulio Cesare" was the type of music that I grew up playing and I loved it. I couldn't understand a darn word they were saying (the opera was in Italian) and our score was Italian/German - no English for me... so it took years for me to fully understand what was going on. But I was hooked.
"Nutcracker" was harder than I anticipated because all of the recognizable music is in Act II where its simply lights up and lights down after every dance. But I survived it and challenged my music reading skills (and reading a piano reduction of orchestra music isn't always what its cracked up to be - especially when it doesn't have a clear melody).
But DG knew I was hooked and helped me out - he helped me to get my first professional summer gig at LGO and also with my first season of gigs at IO - having turned down a Fellowship at Arena Stage - one of the worst and best decisions of my life. It was an extreme honor to get that Fellowship, but I don't regret it one day - and even one of the stage managers I was to be working with told me that it was a wise decision - as she saw me beyond their program. He also introduced me to one of my other mentors, CS, and eventually I won an internship with her company to learn from her as well.
8 years later, I find myself a Production Manager - and he was one of the first people I called after I got the job - because I owed all of it to him. He was one of my references - sure - but more importantly, he was my teacher. I was so proud to be calling him and telling him thank you for everything.
I am a DG stage manager, and now a DG production manager and proud of it!
Happy Birthday, DG! I'm thankful you were born, and that you went into teaching to share your knowledge, wisdom and humor with so many of us.