Ever know or meet someone, who then becomes famous? I have. But that isn’t what my Christmas Miracle story is about.
I once auditioned for a short film produced and directed by Drew Scott, a local actor/real estate salesman/producer.
It was before I had cancer and was quite a bit heavier than I am now. But that’s what the role was for – a heavy man. And that’s the thing about being an actor – there’s a role that fits every description. You just need to supply the talent.
I got a booking on the project – A Better Me
Zena Driver, A fellow castmate and friend, from the Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding Show, was also in the short film. She now lives in Toronto.
Drew was successful in pitching his film, and his talent was rewarded with a television show called the Property Brothers, which originally aired on the Woman’s Channel in Canada. Later, it got syndicated to a worldwide audience, and the Scott brothers accomplished their goal of becoming successful millionaires!
I went to Drew’s going away party at his rental home on Holdom Avenue in North Burnaby. I remember talking to him on his back patio about tips on buying used Mercedes vehicles from the States. I also used to buy theatre passes from Drew. You know, a book of ten tickets to Odeon theatres at a reduced price.
When I was at Kevin Clark Studios recently, I was talking to Tricia Clark about Drew Scott. Drew used to get his headshots done at Kevin and Tricia’s studio. I was staring at Drew’s photo as we spoke about him. We were both proud of his accomplishments, although I missed his appearances on Dancing With The Stars a few seasons ago.
Anyway, that was one of my friends that made it to the big time. But many of my friends have been successful in their working careers. Some with successful, long-term relationships with loved ones, too. And a few of them have their own 40% success/survival stories!
I have also known friends who have gained wealth yet, maintained their best qualities as humans, sharing space on this planet. Others have either wasted away their wealth or health due to misfortune or ignorance. But they are my friends, regardless of their station in life.
However, some friends may feel they have outgrown people of my means. I never hear from them, but I don’t miss them, and I’m neither envious or jealous of their success. A true friend celebrates their friends wins and consoles them on their losses.
Danny, what in the name of you-know-what are you going on about – you’re putting us asleep!?
Relax, Spanky! It’s Christmas time, and this is my version of a Christmas Carol.
Christmas is a time for love. Loving your partner, loving your family, loving your friends, and loving yourself. Sometimes, the latter is the most difficult for me.
This year, I lost a few Santa Danny venues that I had in previous years. So I know that it will be challenging to reach my objective of raising $2,000 for cancer research. I’m currently at a little over $1,000, which includes what I earned at the Standardized Client Program last month.
I had gotten over feeling sorry for myself about my health issues, and now I was worried about Santa Danny.
And then the beginning of my Christmas miracle occurred!
You are not going to believe what happened on Friday, September 13th, at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster, BC.
I’m still shaking, and it’s been two days.
Here’s a hint:
The photos shown above are from the Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding Show in 2009. The show played every weekend, continuously, for fourteen years. I played Tony Nunzio Sr., the father of the groom and owner of the Animal Kingdom nightclub in East Van. I was with the play for its last 18 months and became close friends to many of the actors.
The lady in the church and the photo above is Helen Volkow, who played Nona, my mother. The younger lady in the picture is Larissa, but I can’t remember her last name. She played Maddie, my twenties-something girlfriend, who used to be a stripper at my nightclub.
The show ended its run in June 2009. The place was standing room only for the last performance. It was a memorable evening. And so was the next day.
Because on that Sunday morning, a tumor inside my throat burst and blood started gushing from my mouth. I spent that day in the hospital. In the following days, I was diagnosed with stage 3 throat cancer and given only a 40% chance of survival. Many of you are aware of my cancer story and how I kept my illness a secret from my family because my mother’s heart was failing, and I knew she would be devastated by the news.
So the only people who knew about my cancer were my actor friends. At the time, I was on Facebook, and most of my FB friends were people I’d met on both the local stage and the film industry. Every one of these friends kept my illness secret, and I received a continuous outpouring of love and support. They became my second family.
And after Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding Show ended, my actor friends and I stayed in touch over the last decade. If one of them were in a show, I would buy a ticket to their appearance. And I would usually try to get a seat close to the stage, so my friends might see a familiar face in the audience.
A bunch of us used to also get together for coffee or lunch. Our circle included Pete Smeader, Randy McCormick, Helen Volkow, Sabrina Pravda, Jane Braithwaite, and Cher Lewis. Each of these performers is as talented as any I’ve seen on the big screen. And I’m always excited to see them perform.
But I deactivated my Facebook page last year, and I’ve lost contact with a lot of those friends. Some of them have moved to LA or Toronto and are still actively pursuing their dreams. Others have retired or found new dreams to chase.
A couple of times, I’ve attended my friend Dane’s performances. He was one of the singers in Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding, and I have always been a big fan of his talent. He won the best actor award for his role in West Side Story, and I caught one of the shows. Another friend and TNT Wedding alumni – Emilio Salituro was also in that play.
A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Dane – announcing an upcoming performance at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster. He would be performing a Christmas tribute to Frank Sinatra with the fantastic Bruce James Orchestra! Tickets for the show included a VIP Section, and tickets were $108 each. I bought one and was lucky to get a seat directly in front of the stage.
I’m usually in bed by 8:00 pm, but that’s the time of Dane’s performance, so I knew that I would have a late night. But as the day approached, I got more and more excited about going to Dane’s show. I’d met Dane’s mother at one of his performances at either the Hard Rock Casino or the Cascades Casino. My gal pal, Sannie, and I attended both of these venues – and he was terrific.
As I entered the theatre, my eyes searched the crowded lobby for a familiar face but didn’t recognize anyone. When the doors opened, I rushed to my assigned seat. The stage looked so impressive.
I got my cellphone camera ready to record a few of the songs. What follows is a link to several video clips of Dane’s show. Please click on the link and choose the Play All option and then view it in big screen mode.
The ‘miracle’ is on the last clip. Click here to view my Another Christmas Miracle videos.
So, I guess that the miracle isn’t really a miracle. We all knew that Dane was ready for the big time and thrilled that he’s now on top. The miracle is how three friends, who met twelve years ago, got together one more time for each other. And although that may not be a miracle in everyone’s book – seeing Dane perform again was a thrill for me and his many fans.
One day, he will be singing in a sold-out stadium, and I will be the first in line, to buy a ticket.
Dedicated to Dane Warren and Helen Volkow
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):