Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy

Choosing to Say Goodbye

From time to time I write an article for Open to Hope, an organization which helps people to find hope after the loss of a loved one. This week, I wrote, “Choosing to Say Goodbye” about the loss of my friend Curtis. I modeled the character Jonathan in THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I after him. Last month’s staged reading allowed me to hear the play in its entirety, and helped my healing process along as well. As my play continues to live and my heart continues to heal through writing and directing, I can only hope that I will continue to expand and express my own journey.

You may download the article here:  Anne Hamilton Choosing to Say Goodbye Article for Open to Hope

Choosing to Say Goodbye

by Anne Hamilton (c) June 24, 2012

There’s a time when you have to say goodbye, and a time when you choose to say goodbye.

For the first time, I chose to say goodbye to my friend Curtis today.

I had to say goodbye when he was ripped away from me in a car accident thirty years ago. And all this time I’ve been resenting that accident.

But recently the song, “Freebird”* by Lynryd Skynyrd has kept echoing in my head. If I heard it on the radio, I would listen for its entirety. I would pull off the road to listen to it. I couldn’t get that song out of my mind.

I had heard it at so many high school dances in the 70’s. It was a classic.

Today I wanted to hear that song. I listened to it over and over on YouTube. I let the song sink in and I cried for a long time. And my heart changed. I needed to hear the words and more important, I needed to feel them.

“If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.
But, if I stayed here with you, girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.

‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you cannot change.
Oh… oh… oh… oh…
And the bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows I can’t change.

Bye, bye, baby it’s been a sweet love,
Though this feeling I can’t change.
But please don’t take it so badly,
‘Cause Lord knows I’m to blame.
But if I stayed here with you girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.

‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you cannot change.
Oh… oh… oh… oh…
And the bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows, I can’t change.
Lord help me, I can’t change.

Lord I can’t change,
Won’t you fly high, free bird, yeah.

I always thought I was the free bird because I’m the fiercely independent one. But today I realized that Curtis was the free bird, and that’s why I love this song so much. It’s imprinted on my mind, like the news of his death and my turmoil after his loss.

And what if he said to me, “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on, now, cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see”?

And what if he‘s saying in that song, “Bye, bye, baby it’s been a sweet love…though this feeling I can’t change. ‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change.”

I can respect that. I can love him for that. I can thank him for that.

And now I can let him go. On to his travels, and his places to see.

‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now. And this bird you cannot change.

We were together for a little while and forever.

I can be a free bird.

*Song by Ronald W. Van Zant and Allen Collins

Healing through the Arts articles published on
August 1, 2010, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Healing Through the Arts | Tags: ,

The Open to Hope Foundation published four of my articles on Healing Through the Arts on its website The series, on Maintaining Emotional Fluency Through Artistic Expression, revealed my healing journeys as a writer. “Writing Poetry Helps Thirty Years After Friend’s Death”, discusses how I discovered my internal soul-shift while writing the poem “Summer Storm”.

Read Anne’s Lead Article July 24th on Healing Through the Arts on the Open to Hope Website

Anne’s lead article “Writing Poetry Helps Decades After Friend’s Death” will appear on the Open to Hope website on July 24th, and will remain on the site. Search for her articles under her name.

The Open to Hope Foundation ( helps provide guidance and hope to those who have suffered losses, particularly the death of loved ones. Anne has a column on Healing Through the Arts and she has created a series of articles based on her own experience of processing grief through artistic expression. Part II describes her inspiration for her poem “Summer Storm”. Check back for Parts III and IV, which will be published soon.

Recent Successes: Playwrighting Awards, Anne on The Air, Dramaturgy, and LPTW


  • Two of my plays and a poem have been selected for the juried exhibition TRANSITIONS at Pen and Brush, Inc. in NYC. ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT (play), THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I (play) and GONDOLIER (poem) are appearing in the virtual exhibit at through September 3rd. I read excerpts from both plays at the exhibition’s opening on June 3rd. THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I is an expansion of AND THEN I WENT INSIDE, premiered by Kathleen Chalfant at the Cherry Lane Theatre last November. Thank you, Pen and Brush. I am truly honored.
  • As a playwright member of NO PASSPORT, an unincorporated theatre alliance and press, I have read from my work in our monthly HIBERNATING RATTLESNAKES event. Plays include: ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT, THE STACY PLAY, as well as TYRONE’S SLIDE RIDE, a short, humorous/dangerous tale of gentrification in Brooklyn. Please join us at future HR events at the Nuyorican Poets Café, 236. E. 3rd Street (Avenues B/C) in NYC ( admission is $5.

Anne On the Air

  • My blog features TheatreNow! podcasts as well as my columns on Healing through the Arts for and interviews given to various stations.
  • On June 24th, I served as a guest commentator for the upcoming L.A. Theatreworks audio presentation of Lee Blessing’s GOING TO ST. IVES. The topic was Mothers and Sons in Blessing’s play, OEDIPUS REX, THE GLASS MENAGERIE and ALL MY SONS. The segment will be aired on NPR as a companion piece to the rebroadcast of the play, set for July 24th. Check my blog and website for the exact times and member station call numbers.

L.A. Theatreworks has a large catalog of audio recordings of important plays performed by leading actors. Its website is a terrific resource at

  • I launched the audio podcast series TheatreNow!, an oral history of leading American female theatre artists, at . The inaugural segment features playwright and librettist Quiara Allegria Hudes, who wrote ELIOTT, A SOLDIER’S FUGUE, and the libretto for IN THE HEIGHTS (2008 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, and 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama nominee). Please listen to additional guests already online including: Ruth Margraff, Claire Lautier, Valentina Fratti, and Catherine Filloux, Yvette Heyliger, and Yvonne Farrow.  Upcoming guests include:  Lynn Nottage, Anne Kauffman, Kamilah Forbes,  and Maria Alexandria Beech.


  • I served as a script development consultant to Tina Andrews for her groundbreaking period drama CHARLOTTE SOPHIA, about the wife of King George III. Please see the Testimonials section for Tina’s comments on this wonderful collaboration.
  • I am currently approaching theatres hoping to gain a production for Warren Bodow’s drama FRONTING THE ORDER, which I also dramaturged. The five character ensemble piece explores the ethics and practicality of using deception to gain a short term profit, and we see a premonition of the conflicts of our 21st century information age. Please send all inquiries to me at: . Warren is the retired President of radio stations WQXR and WQEW and received great reviews from The New York Times for RACE MUSIC last year on Theatre Row. The Cherry Lane Theatre will  present a staged reading of his new play later this summer.
  • Broadway legend George Marcy performed his musical play THE BALLAD OF GEORGIE PORGIE (co-written with Bob Goldstone, who also serves as Musical Director) on June 9th at Don’t Tell Mama in NYC. Carol Lawrence and Chita Rivera were in attendance. George will perform the show again at DTM at 8pm on September 9th. Here are his comments: “Anne Hamilton, with her insight, creativity and knowledge, is responsible for guiding THE BALLAD OF GEORGIE PORGIE to where it is today.” Tickets are $20 through This show is terrific! Don’t miss it!

LPTW Activities

  • After a whirlwind year of serving as Co-Secretary of the League of Professional Theatre Women, I have resigned in order to focus on hosting and producing a new League oral history podcast series. I will interview League members in the audio series LPTW Voices: Women Have Their Say. Many thanks to the League for this opportunity, and also to all the Officers and Board members who serve our constituency so faithfully. I treasure my League membership.
  • I still serve on the LPTW’s Mentoring Committee under Chairwoman Margery Klain. The committee is dedicated to providing mentoring opportunities to female theatre artists who are members of the League. Please see for an application.

Healing Through the Arts – Maintaining Emotional Fluency Through Artistic Expression

The Open to Hope Foundation website has featured my article, “Maintaining Emotional Fluency Through Artistic Expression”.

It can be found at:

Last year, when the 30th anniversary of Curtis’ death was coming up, I set out on a journey of healing…one of the results has been my play AND THEN I WENT INSIDE. The first line came from a realization I had after I gave an interview on the “Healing The Grieving Heart” radio program.

Anne Hamilton, Contributor to Open To Hope

Anne has been a contributor to the grief support website OPEN TO HOPE for almost two years.

Anne Hamilton lost her best friend Curtis in a head-on car accident in 1979, two weeks after his high school graduation. Her emotional life became frozen and she has spent the last thirty years exploring all areas of self-expression, particularly through stage plays, poetry, theatre, art, and music. She is currently developing her own chamber-play-with-dance entitled ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT, about the way that grief moves through the body. Kathleen Chalfant performed her one-woman short play AND THEN I WENT INSIDE, about Stacy Lee Madison, an artist and scholar coming to terms with the triumphs and losses in her life. With Kathleen’s encouragement, Anne expanded that piece into the full-length play THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE POEM.

As a professional dramaturg and script developer in New York City for the past 19 years, Anne has helped leading writers and performers in all fields to express their grief, loss, hope and recovery in works of art through her website

Recent dramaturgy projects have included: Israeli filmmaker Judd Ne’eman’s STONE DANCER, about the human, personal cost of the Vietnam War and its aftereffects, and Enrique Menendez’s AboutFace, a short film about Enrique’s experience of living with HIV/AIDS. AboutFace was screened at the 2007 New York AIDS Film Festival.

Anne is an award-winning Columbia University graduate and the principal of Hamilton Dramaturgy. To ask Anne for help on developing your own play, screenplay, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, please contact her at

She has developed a one-day, experiential workshop on HEALING THROUGH THE ARTS that is available for hospitals, schools, and other organizations. Please inquire about it at

Anne Hamilton Interviewed on “Healing Through the Arts” on WMNF

Last year Dewey Davis-Thompson interviewed Anne on the radio program “Art in Your Ear” on WMNF in Tampa, Florida.

Again, she spoke on the topic of healing through the arts, and her healing process while writing ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT, her chamber play with dance, puppets, video and new music. She also gave a series of practical exercises to help others turn emotion and memory into artistic expression.

Listen here: Anne Hamilton Interviewed on ART IN YOUR EAR on WMNF July, 2009

(Please be patient while the file downloads. It’s a large one.)

Listen here: Anne Hamilton Reads a Monologue from ANOTHER WHITE SHIRT

Listen here: Anne Hamilton Reads Her Poem SUMMER STORM

Many thanks to Dewey, who conducted the interview and provided the audio file. Dewey is a video and internet designer who can be reached through