that’s a wrap

August 14th, 2022 – Cast & Crew of School of Rock The Musical
performed by Curtain’s Up Theater Company at Nazarene Community Theater in Roxana, Illinois

About 6 months ago I took my son to an audition for School of Rock – The Musical. On the way to auditions, my sister in law tells me that “I have to audition too.”

A few hours later I got a phone call where the director asked if they could speak to my son to which he was offered the principle role of Lawrence Turner (keyboardist in “the band!”) He smiled so big and accepted the part. Then I was handed the phone back and offered the spot of Doug / Mr. Green. I accepted. My brother-in-law was cast as the lead of Dewey Finn. My sister-in-law the assistant principal, my nephew as the lead guitarist and my other nephew as a student in the class.

What started as a fun hobby turned into this very demanding extra-curricular. I don’t think there was a week of less than 10 hours of rehearsals leading up to tech week which only doubled.

I noticed that my smaller parts wouldn’t warrant as much demand or effort as I could offer. So I started bringing my camera to rehearsals and filming behind the scenes when I was waiting for a scene to start and offered to create some videos to help promote the show. But honestly more for my own personal joy of documenting things and being up close to something special as its happening.

I fell more and more in love with the cast and crew and the folks involved became like family.

It’s important to note that throughout this time, my wife sacrificed so much for me to be gone so much during the week for such a long period of time. Nearly 6 months of intense sacrifice.

May 2022 hits and our 4 performances went off amazingly well. Nearly selling out each show.

About a month went by and I was going to grab a cigar and a scotch with another amazing cast member. That day I received a text from some of the leaders of the theater company saying that they had some leads on a potential venue and encore performance of the show. We ended up meeting that night and then again that weekend at the venue in question.

Could we do it one more time? Should we? Will people come? Will the venue be large enough? Will the cast be as excited for a second run?

We proceeded with what I would label as a coin toss.

Last night I left the venue knowing that not only did we make the right decision, that there were what I can only warrant as ‘bigger than just us’ moments. Spiritual moments. Lives changed. Vision refocused. I promise you I am not offering superlative words. If anything, I am underemphasizing the magic that we all experienced. Not just us performing, but the show goers too. We were a part of something bigger than just ourselves.

I can sleep knowing that it was worth the extra hours and the encore.

I know I owe it all to my wife and her support and sacrifice to make it all even accessible. Thank you, love.

And thank you to Cast, Crew and Pit for everything. – I love you so much.

w/ Carol Hodson: Director
w/ Justin Brooks: Bob of No Vacancy
Me in my No Vacancy get up. I played Doug in the first run and Theo in the second. – How do you like my Freddie Mercury attempt?

My boy getting ready to go on in Act II
From left: Zackery Coe, Laila Williams, Laurel Bleier as Celine, Spencer Kimmey as James Drake, Maeve Durkee as Marcy, Maggie Hertz as Shonelle
, Carol Hodson as Director, Poppy Bauer as Madison, Evan Totsch as Billy, Oliver Sprenger as Mason, Kya Wonders as Summer, Laila Hutchinson as Tomika, Dara Shininger as Katie, Leland Sprenger as Zach and Cash Pye as Lawrence
w/ Kya Wonders as Summer Hathaway
Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis: Choreographer
w/ Carson Robinson as Mr. Williams

The Cast and Crew:
Dewey Finn – Joel Sprenger
Rosalie Mullins – Debbie Maneke
Ned Schneebly – Vince Ojeda
Patty Di Marco – Christy Luster
Zack Mooneyham – Leland Sprenger
Freddie Hamilton – Zackery Coe
Katie West – Dara Shininger
Lawrence Turner – Cash Pye
Summer Hathaway – Kya Wonders
Tomika Williams – Laila Hutchison
Marcy Sullivan – Maeve Durkee
Shonelle Andrews – Maggie Hertz
Celine Lloyd – Laurel Bleier
Billy Sandford – Evan Totsch
Sophie Weber – Layla Williams
Madison Barber – Penelope (Poppy) Bauer
Mason Ward – Oliver Sprenger
James Drake – Spencer Kimmey

Mrs Sheinkopf – Elise Sprenger
Mr Noble – Justin Brooks
Mr Green – Owen Pye
Gabe Brown – Andrew Totsch
Mr Sanders – Hal Morgan
Ms Gordon – Donna Carli
Ms Wagner – Shameem Coppotelli
Ms Bingham – Megan Rauh
Mr Janes – Paul Durkee
Ms Macapugay – Alie Morgan
Mrs Mooneyham – Alie Morgan
Mrs Hathaway – Jennifer Hitt

Mr Spencer – Paul Durkee
Mr Williams – Carson Robinson
Mr Sandford – Hal Morgan
Mrs Turner – Ali Cummins
Mrs Hamilton – Shameem Coppotelli
Jeff Sanderson – Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis
Theo (No Vacancy) – Owen Pye
Bob (No Vacancy) – Justin Brooks
Tiny (No Vacancy) – Steve Shininger
Snake (No Vacancy) – Steele Clement
Stanley Byers – Johnny Reynolds
Police Officer – Johnny Reynolds
Bartender – Donna Carli

Director – Carol Hodson
Music Director – Steve Shininger
Assistant Director – Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis
Choreographer – Jeffrey Yapp-Ellis
Assistant Director – Vince Ojeda
Asst. Choreographer – Jennifer Hitt

Stage Manager – Jennifer Hitt
Stage Manager – Christy Luster
Costumes – Carol Hodson
Dance Captain – Megan Rauh
Props – Sharon Laswell
Set Design – Christy Luster, Paul Durkee, Leon White

Set Crew – Christy Luster ,
Paul Durkee, Leon White,
Doug Schultz, Andrew Totsch
Lighting – Diane Wingerter
Spotlights – Gretchen Hertz
Sound Engineers – Sam Poirot,
Mia Sanchez

Orch. Director & Keys – Steve Shininger
Guitar – Johnny Reitano
Bass – Aaron Johnson
Drums – Erik Westlund


Belleville Mural Project

This morning we grabbed some donuts from Braeutigam Orchards and then ran over to help for a few minutes at the latest mural created by the Belleville Mural Project. Jillian’s always finding fun stuff for us to do. I do wish I was better at that skill. She is great at it.

Any rate, it was a lot of fun and if you ever get a chance to go volunteer for a few minutes it was a great time and chance to support them.

You can find this on the bike trail in Belleville. I think I might just have to go ride for a bit this weekend to see it up close…

check them out here:

Thanks Metro East

In 2019 Jillian and I started coming to The Journey Metro East in Belleville. We made friends with several folks there who we’ve grown close to in our relationships.

During the covid lockdown in 2020 I started leading worship as a contractor on Sunday mornings and have been leading there ever since. I believe the contract was initially for 6 months.

Yesterday was the last service at the campus as the leadership made the decision to close ME. It was an odd thing having this definitive end to something like a church. We’ve left churches, but this was a different vibe for sure.

I’m very thankful for many many folks there. Here’s a quick little vlog I made and some photos from the day.

Thanks to all of our friends and fam at The Journey Metro East.

Charlie MacIsaac
Charlie MacIsaac, Amanda Hursey
Bob Hursey
Corinne Jones
Poem that Pastor Charlie wrote for the church
Shontez Jones, Jon Stamm
Mark Hasler
Shelly Gilbert, Pastor Charlie MacIsaac

A for Effort!

The ‘You Shouldn’t Have to Choose’ ad that I created for SKC Enterprises, Inc dba Rent One and RNR Tire Express won 2 Telly Awards. One Bronze for Directing and one Bronze for Voiceover.

Really proud of how it turned out and grateful for the Telly!
See below for all the wonderful folks involved.

:: Credits ::

Producer / Director / Writer / Editor / Videographer / Voiceover / Casting – Owen Pye, SKC Enterprises dba Rent One

Assistant Producer – Jonny Detmer, Independent Contractor

Actor (Father) – Brandon Collier, Independent Contractor

Actor (Mother) – Jessica Collier, Independent Contractor

Child Actor (Son) – Kyron Collier, Independent Contractor

Child Actor (Daughter) – Karina Collier, Independent Contractor

Actor (Rent One Employee) – John Lewis, Independent Contractor

Store Manager + Actor (RNR Employee) – Hiromie Leonhard, RNR Tire Express

Shop Tech (RNR Employee) – Joe Barks, RNR Tire Express

School of Rock – The Musical

A month or so ago my son and I auditioned for School of Rock – The Musical.

I like to stick to things I know, and honestly Musical Theater is not one of those things. That being said, I’m very thrilled that we stepped out of our comfort zone a bit and both landed a part in this production that will be performed May 12th-15th at SIUE Dunham Hall Theater.

Cash landed the principle part of Lawrence. The keyboardist in ‘the band.’
I am playing Doug in No Vacancy (The band that kicks Dewey Finn out which sets the tone of the has been rocker) as well as Mr. Green, one of the teachers at Horace Green.

My parts are light enough that I’m doing some BTS filming as well when I’m not in the scenes rehearsing and this has been a wonderful way to support the production with helping provide some content, because social media in 2022 amiright?

Tickets will be available soon and if you live within the St. Louis area, I’d love to see you there!



Photos Phriday?

Can’t think of a better title for this. But I’d love to start sharing some highlights from my weeks captured in photo format. I no longer own a smartphone, so the stills I capture are less frequent. I’m either using a nice mirrorless or a very non-flashy pocket camera I’ve been using called the Paper Shoot Camera. Hope you enjoy!

My youngest is very drawn to playing music. And he is a heck of a dancer.
Some geese sitting on the water
From a family hike a couple of weeks ago
The art museum wears us out sometimes.
Gardens of the Botanical Persuasion
A house I would have bought had there been a 4th floor.
When landing from work commutes, sometimes I am greeted by astronauts

Because You Shouldn’t Have to Choose

I had such a joy creating this ad for our Rent One & RNR Tire Express cobranded campaign. I had the opportunity to create this spot from start to finish (Writing/Shooting/Editing/VoiceOver) and I am so happy with the finished product. The cast had no prior acting experience and wow were they wonderful. I’d like to also thank my friend Jonny Detmer and my son Cash whom assisted on-site with the setups.

Here are some photos from the shoot. Hope you enjoy the spot ❤

How to Be More Relationally Present

In his 2015 book, 5 Gears – How to be Present and Productive When there is Never Enough Time, Jeremie Kubicek talks about these 5 gears that we all have that mirror that of an engine. Each gear has its place, but the trick is being ‘fully engaged’ in each one at the appropriate time.

Gear 5 – Fully Focusing On a Single Project
This is the state of Flow or ‘in the zone.’ This is the state where you are laser focused on completing the task at hand. This is where meaningful work and creativity happens.

Gear 4 – Working On Multiple Tasks
This is the most common gear for day to day action. This is checking and responding to e-mails. This is paying bills online. These are tasks that are important and need to get done (at some point) but maybe aren’t your fullest potential. Unfortunately 85% of leaders spend most of their time in this gear. These are the shallow tasks that do not move the needle of success or give you satisfaction in your work life.

Believe it or not, the more time you spend in this ‘gear’ or ‘state’ the longer your to-do list gets. Which means there’s this never-ending compound effect. Dr. Jarrod Spencer likens the mind to a computer and that before we open ‘new files’ in our mind, we have to close ‘old files.’ If we don’t, we will suffer in the areas of focus at a minimum, and potentially suffer physically in the areas of sleep or much worse including health challenges.

Most of us will jump straight into this ‘4th gear’ by way of checking e-mails or social media. Responding to text messages. This is like putting your mental engine straight into overdrive and it is not sustainable or beneficial to your health. So you really need to start in the lower gears and work your way up to the tedious and menial elements of your day. Putting in the time to individually recharge first.

Gear 3 – Casual Socializing
This is the gear that many introverts or people less interested in casual small talk might cringe at. And though I enjoy social settings, in many ways I cringe at this too. Owen (me) only likes to talk about what Owen likes to talk about. But we need to be curious about others in our social circles. We need to develop a genuine curiosity about those around us.

Gear 2 – Connecting Deeply with Family or Friends
This is one of the most soul strengthening areas. This is where love and true friendships happen. This is where you find your muse and inspiration and these are the things that go in the diary of your life. The problem is, is that too often we get this confused with deeper connection and focus with loved ones.

This is the area where I struggle most. I can give you a real life example where I messed this up recently. My wife and I were talking and I suggested we invest in a personal nanny for 1 or 2 days a month. And I quickly hijacked that to a ‘we can use that time to invest time into our businesses and work together without distraction from our lovely kids.’ And while that is important. An area we need more uninterrupted time together is relationally where there is no agenda except for intentional care and time with that person.

Gear 1 – Individual Recharge
This is not binging on Netflix, checking social media, spending time in your e-mail inbox or otherwise. This looks like: Analog activity in the areas of exercise, taking a walk, reading a book or journaling, meditating, prayer or a time of solitude. It may for some look like connecting with someone in Gear #2…

How do you be more present in your life?
Here’s the secret I think. Especially in the area of partnership with a spouse or otherwise. You have to both be consciously acknowledging times where phones and distracting tools need to be put aside so that you can be together. You can kindly request this of your partner or friend, but you must give them the opportunity to make this decision for themselves.

– This is very difficult in practice. Especially if you have drastically different schedules. For instance, I work a 9-5 and while I’m at work I am glued to a computer monitor and no kids are coming to me or asking anything of me. And while it’s hard work and commitment, it’s my time and pace and isn’t dictated by tiny dictators (children) telling me what to do. So when I get home and want to shift out of 5th / 4th gear and drop into 2nd gear, it’s not fair to expect my partner to be able to commit to that unless it’s a mutually decided time of intentionality.

That’s why date nights and intentional time together is necessary. If your partner isn’t able to be in that ‘gear’ with you, don’t take it personally. Instead respect their personal space and boundaries and use that time to slip into 1st gear (the individual recharge) OR use the wrestling tag team and give them the room they need to be in first gear (this is what love and sacrificial commitment looks like!) What can you take off their plate to help them do that? Short of caging your children which I wouldn’t recommend.

How do you always apply the right gear to each situation?
First is an honest review of each of these areas of our life and acknowledging how much time we spend in each area. And truly calling out what areas are lacking the time they deserve. I think you’ll find that as you assess, you’ll see your time & effort is mostly dominated by gear 4, and a fake version of gear 1. This is a sign that you are giving into workaholic tendencies and deserves major life adjustments.

Employ a Shutdown Ritual at Work

Cal Newport, Michael Hyatt and other experts in this area recommend each day setting aside x amount of minutes to a shutdown ritual. This is where you mentally and strategically get out of 4th gear. Here’s how you put this into practice.

1) Do a Final Comb Through of Your Task List and Inbox from the day and make sure there are no pressing responses that require your input. If there is further action needed, put that into a task on your task-board or schedule it in your digital or analog calendar for adequate time to focus on that matter. Do not order your inbox like a to-do list. This will overwhelm you every-time you have to checkin for the day’s ‘fires.’

2) Plan the Next Day, listing out your most important task first and the less important further down. This is important that you don’t just put the most ‘recent’ task that was assigned to you, as this will cause more important items to drift further and further away from your attention and cause you to procrastinate. If you see that there is a gap in your schedule that you can claim for yourself in the following day, grab it. Block out that most important thing priority into your calendar. Once you’ve finished acknowledging the agenda for tomorrow:

3) Say an Audible Phrase to Complete Your Work Day. Some use the phrase ‘Shutdown Complete.’ I’ve been watching LOST with my son and The Dharma Initiative would always say Namaste. So for no cultural significance (to me) other than I’m really into LOST lately, my phrase is “Namaste Work Day Complete.”

4) Turn Off E-mail and Work Messaging Platforms outside of work hours. Then absolutely do not check your inbox or any work related communication until your office hours start the next business day. If necessary, activate an out of office message of ‘I am out of the office until 9am tomorrow, but will respond as quickly as possible. ‘Turn off your work notifications and do not let your mind engage with work activities until you get to your workstation the following day and begin your day with your startup phrase. you can use mine: “Namaste work day start.” (Lately I’ve been lighting a candle when I say it.)

In closing, here are 3 things to consider when not in 4th Gear…

Turn Off Your Cell Phone or silence notifications / activate do not disturb / When It’s a Meaningful Relationship Building time you’re in. If you want to take this a step further, the past few months I’ve committed to using a dumb phone or web browsing deprived device like the The Light Phone 2. It’s been a game changer for me personally.

Review Your Life – Acknowledge what modes/gears you desire to spend more time in and make actionable plans to change that. Share those plans with your partner or loved one. Lead by example and love. It might catch on to others and improve the whole world. Awesome!

Don’t Steamroll – Acknowledge the areas where you’ve gotten this out of wack. Apologize and actively work towards making a new normal with your loved ones, colleagues and the way you do business.

Consider joining the Laughing Dad community where we are exploring these conversations weekly. You can get a free habit tracker when you do. Sweet! I mean…Namaste…

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