What a week it has been. A number of friends of ours were nominated for Hugo Awards, Len was nominated for the Eisner Hall of Fame and tonight, my lovely niece Kristina Valada-Viars will make her Broadway debut.
Kristina was hired last fall to understudy Kimberly Guerrero's role as Johanna Monevata in August: Osage County when the play moved from Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre to New York. The show opened to rave reviews and the run has been extended until at least July, although there will be a change of theaters next month. About a month ago, she was given two other parts to cover as second understudy and tonight she goes on as the youngest daughter of the Weston clan, Karen Weston.
You have no idea how excited I am for her. This is what she's wanted to do ever since she was old enough to express the desire. She made her stage debut when she was very little and she's had amazing training--starting with my sister's children's acting classes at the Des Moines Playhouse. She appeared at the Fringe Festival in Scotland in Agnes of God when she was 16. She studied in London while she was an undergraduate at Grinnell and earned her SAG card with her appearance in The Door in the Floor.
The news came too late for us to jump on a plane and may be too late to send flowers, but we'll be there in spirit and waiting for my sister to call with a review after the show is over. At least she and my niece Stephanie will be able to attend, which is the most important thing.