Few things in life... (A chance visit with Sean Krill)
...Are as amazing as to witness the success of someone you truly care about in life. For a moment in time, somewhere in Michigan, there was this little gang of friends. We were band nerds. Awkwardly raging with hormones. Looking for our little place on this messy planet. Our lives were woven together at a crucial and formative time.
Though some of us were casual trouble makers, we never crossed the line. It was like an unspoken, somehow deeply intuitive part of each of our DNA pulling us toward some sense of purpose - burgeoning as it was. Without question the gravitational force of this cluster of friends kept me centered - as I certainly could have blown it all in one brief night.
Last night (March 17, 2017) I had a remarkable chance to reconnect with Sean Krill. In our gang, he was that guy who was the artist's artist. It was the band that brought each of us together - and I'm certain every one of you (you know who you are) would support such an assessment of his talent. He worked hard at it. Very, very hard.
A couple of months ago I was powering through a project very late at night. In the background at 3 am was my new favorite show - "Mr. Robot" (IMDB). As I was pushing pixels across my screen to make a deadline, this familiar voice came over the tv. Before I looked up, I knew it was Sean. And there he was with Rami Malek. Wow. Just - Wow.
Our buddy Craig has done his best through the years to keep me up to speed with the details of everyone's life. More than a decade ago, when I was together with Craig, he was running down the list. Jim was a graphic designer, Jerry with Ford - Craig paused, “You’ve heard about Sean, right?” I remember momentarily thinking something terrible might have happened (we had lost a few friends along the way). Then Craig proceeded - “Sean’s made it big time dude - He’s a FAMOUS actor on Broadway. He’s starring in the lead role of Mama Mia.” That year Sean was named “Outstanding Lead Actor.” First, I was relieved that he was OK. Second, I think Craig and I both gave each other that look - the one that says, “Dude - It’s Sean Krill - What else would you expect!”
The summer before my senior year in high school my father was transferred from Detroit to Dallas. It was rough on me, but I must confess Dallas greeted my family with open arms. Overall this city has been extremely good to us. That said, my high school days with this little gang ended early. Part of me always wished I'd been able to experience my senior year with them - as such, my view directly into their lives is limited to the summer after our junior year - perhaps because of this, my recollections and experiences are more perfect.
A quick look at Sean’s Website and you can see no grass grows beneath his feet. He’s been a “working actor” (Sean’s wording not mine) for quite some time in NYC. He's built quite a resume with many, many shows.
My memories of Sean is that whichever creative "mode" he tested, he managed to be the best of the best. I'd walk into the band room, and he'd be sitting there playing keys on the piano (he was a trombone player). Or in the five minutes between classes, you might see him sitting on a stool in the instrument storage room sketching the most beautiful pictures. "What are you doing, Sean." - Sean would reply, "I want to be a graphic artist!" I'm certain if that were the path he would have chosen we'd be seeing him regularly printed in Graphis and Communication Arts.
What fascinates me about Sean is not just what he’s done - what he has become, but his journey. Like any "creative" his life has had those arcs and bends that put a man together or tear him apart - sometimes, magically, both. We're in our mid-forties now; much more full in life - each of us - with a crazy myriad of up and down adventures. It's not for me to tell his stories on his behalf - but only to admire him for his fortitude and drive to put his creative spirit on full display. To unrelentingly pursue those standards we knew him for back then.
And then, there we were - last night - eating broccoli and French fries at the Library, upstairs in the New York Public Theater. Everyone knew him - fancy people; I even met one or two. But none of that mattered because we were in this time machine bubble that shot us back nearly 30 years. The memories, the hilarious moments, the awkwardness, the tragedies, and eventually all of us moving on in life to feel our ways through the dark, finding our place.
It's 2017. We need the good stories. We need the stories with meat and bones. Where David faces off with the Goliath of life. I love Sean's story and how he has had that stare-down with life - has come through on the other end - He is shaped and made by his journey. Sean Allan Krill is still the same guy we knew when we were kids; kind and respectful to others, funny as shit, serious and contemplative, and critical of himself. My only worry for him, as an old compadre, is that he can embrace and enjoy where he is. But I know it's his self-critical nature that will continue to move him forward; somewhere in his psychology, he needs to be this way. However, my "spidey" senses tell me he knows his true center and will ultimately always follow his inner compass.
I know each from our little gang by now has their story - and I feel a little sorry for not knowing what that may be. But we did have it and we always will... that gleaming place in time and space. We leaned on each other. We inspired each other. We walked the line. Our little gang of transient artists and dreamers, each searching for a piece of property in this untidy world. For me, that place is a memory of perfection. Today, As a father of two - the best thing I could ever wish is for my children to have people like you to surround them during their formative time.
Seeing Sean Krill was a beautiful reminder of the good fortune I had as a child. It was a way to reconnect to our deeper roots. For me to trace the dots between life then and life now. Sean even made me think of myself in a way I had not in decades. He reminded me of some of my own mannerisms and attributes I’d long since forgotten. I think it was something I needed at this point in my life, to find these dots are not arbitrary but do in fact reveal a pattern, a pathway? I dunno - it seems those funny dots do connect somehow...
Cheers to Sean Allan Krill - that red headed kid in our little gang. The energizer rabbit of creativity who still demonstrates to those of us who dream and push the creative envelope each day - To live life as a "creative" is not a fast or easy journey. In his case it's a 30+ year haul. So great to see him - So many ears must have been burning!
Love to Sean and each of you in our little gang way back then - You know who you are!
PS - Craig, you had better connect with Sean soon. I made it a point to blame you for all the bad things. I think he is very upset with you!
Sean is currently performing in David Byrne's Musical - Joan of Arc