It's Better To Not Know Better

Danny Burstein was cast in a local production of Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along."
During his first year at Queens College.
At just 18.
In fact, he was given the lead role of Franklin Shepard.
A deeply flawed character, who everyone has an opinion about how he should be played.
Burstein, not wanting to muck up the play, decided to ask the one man whose opinion mattered most.
Stephen Sondheim.
Who was once described as, "the greatest, and perhaps best-known artist working in musical theatre."
So Burstien wrote a letter to Sondheim.
A very long letter.
Asking question after question about how best to approach the role.
The something strange happened.
Sondheim responded.
The greatest artist in musical theatre wrote back to an 18 year old in a local production.
He said to answer all of Burstein's questions he would have to write a letter the size of War and Peace.
And, being tremendously busy, Sondheim simply didn't have time for that.
Instead he gave Burstein his phone number, and told him to arrange a time to drop by.
And in two weeks later Burstein found himself sitting in Sondheim's living room.
For three hours they sat, talked and drank from a carafe of white wine.
While Burstien learned how Sondheim felt the character should be played.
But he learned more than that.
He learned the importance of giving back to those passionate about your craft.
Rewarding people with curiosity.
It's also a good story about not being scared to reach out.
Not knowing what is and isn't acceptable.
Having the guts to write a heartfelt message.
And that by showing passion, you might end up with a legend's phone number in your mailbox.
Though it would probably be electric now.
Sometimes it's better to not know better.

There are certainly a lot of people who "knew better" and never got to spend three hours with Sondheim.