The Story of the Show

The Story of the Show
Why Is It Called "Rockstar Widow"?
I'm going to share with you the etiology of the name for our musical, "Rock Star Widow." Or is it "Rockstar Widow?"

As an advertising executive I've learned that once you hear an advertisement three times, you're more ready to sign up for, purchase or adopt whatever is being offered. In this case that happened regarding the name of the musical. And ‘Rocker or Rock Star’ was said to me in three very different ways.

Someone, who I will refer to as Guy Number Two, and I began dating. He was just a friend initially. On our second time out together, we spent the day out, going to Sam Ash Music, walking the Highline, touring The Whitney, and having a delicious lunch. When I suggested ping pong, he said yes.

During ping pong, I say, "I'm going to The Cutting Room to hear a great group playing The Who sounds and The Who songs." He says no. But he comes with me anyway. During dinner, I'm dancing in my chair. He sees me dancing! When we say goodbye, he says, “you are a real rocker!” At that point I didn't realize that in addition to being an architect, he was also a performing artist.

The second time I heard "Rock Star," it was a class on drumming. I put myself and my neighbor into a drop-in class on drumming, led by a brilliant and artful drum leader. She was part of my synagogue and playing music each Friday night, and she puts love and compassion into every one of her beats. I hadn't known her much. In class, she requested one of us come to the mic and sing. She looked at me and said, “Paulette, come up, you are a rock star!” So I do! I sing my little heart out. Good or bad, I did it, and it was ecstatic to perform that way.

The last time was a very different spin on the words, rock star.

My dear Rabbi whose 42-year-old wife was due to give birth to her son, made a trip out of town to bury my husband two weeks before their baby came. I was so grateful for them doing this for me that when their son was born, even though I sobbed through my days at that time, I decided to join in the occasion of the baby’s bris.

I enter the synagogue armed with trepidation, dark sunglasses and with tissue. I sit apart from where Tom and I used to sit with others.

I sob through the service! I say to myself, "I am just here for the Rabbi and his family." That's why others were there, too. That was clear, and it was fine with me.

At one point, I look up at the congregation and I see two people I know well. One was pointing at me. They didn't come over to comfort me or say hello. I think, ‘Oy, people do not know what to do with me!’

After the service I call my cousin in tears. She says very matter of fact, “Well, you’re a Rock Star Widow! This doesn't usually happen at 63 that someone in the congregation has a loss like this after 43.5 years!”

When we began to consider names for the show, first it was Grief, The Musical. It was a good placeholder. But we soon switched it to Rock Star Widow.
This week I was at an intimate gathering of people from my synagogue. One asked me, "what's this widow guitarist thing you are doing?" Now you know. It's not a guitarist thing. And I do play guitar. I do love rock and roll as well, and I've become a dancer.

The musical, Rock Star Widow is a tribute to one's heart and one’s ability to grow, express and develop oneself to get back to the balance of joy that can be achieved, even in the face of enormous, sudden sadness and sorrow. Once pure sadness can be expressed, dreams can be made and acted on again.

I wrote the book and am collaborating on the musical because I want people to not suffer as much as they do.

We all are Rock Stars. And this musical is showing everyone just that.


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