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The Power of the Seed

By Cindy Yantis

It was announced in Variety last week that the Tony Award winning play, The Normal Heart, is finally being made into a film, and with no less than the brilliant Ryan Murphy directing.  I found this news particularly exciting because I witnessed firsthand the very beginning of the fast moving surge that's culminating with the film.  

My friend, actor and producer David Youse, had the spark of an idea to bring Larry Kramer's 1985 masterpiece back to life for its 25th Anniversary.  He had Mr. Kramer's blessing, then hired Oscar & Tony winner Joel Grey (that's David and Joel to the right) to direct a star studded reading at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles which has raised over $175,000 benefiting several AIDS organizations.

David & Joel GreyA New York reading starring Glenn Close followed which really created a buzz.  Broadway producer Daryl Roth took the play to Broadway and The Normal Heart won three 2011 Tony Awards including Best Revival of a Play!

Now the film, which is being produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment. 

It got me thinking about the power of the seed. 

I watched the Tony's with David and his joy for all of those involved was palpable.  I thought Ms. Roth should have given a shout out to David in her acceptance speech because her Tony Award never would have happened without David.  He didn't have a role in the Broadway production, which he should have, but it all started with him.  She did thank him privately and told him he was the seed.  Was he ever!  What grew from his generous notion over 18 months ago is truly a spectacular thing.  In my humble opinion, everyone involved in the continuing growth of this jewel of a project should know about the seed, their seed. 

It's a good thing to keep in mind as you plant seeds of your own.  You just never know where an idea will take you.  What's important is that you continue to nurture it, to build on it, to share it, to be tenacious in your drive to see it come to fruition.  It's truly thrilling to see what can grow from that initial seed.

Good things are certainly coming to David due to his excellent work, and he's growing new projects as I write this.  A powerful seed can't help himself!  In fact, 2012 marks the 25th Anniversary of Steel Magnolias, and David is producing the comeback of that as well, with a Benefit Reading of Robert Harling's wonderful play, complete with star studded cast and directed by the incomparable Judith Ivey, to raise monies for The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Watch out Broadway.  The seed is on the move!

Ryan Murphy, if you by chance happen to read this, David Youse needs to be a part of your film.  Not only is he a tireless and generous producer, but the seed can act, brilliantly actually.

I'm just sayin'.