Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Stephen Costello Leans On Family Member During Tough Times

Familial Lifeline: Stephen Costello (left) with his cousin
Brian Costello (Photo: Facebook)
"'Not trusting people, not believing you have anyone there to support you. I did have people, but I just didn’t know they were there.' One of the few people who knew the full story was Costello’s cousin Brian Costello. They grew up together in the working class suburb of Northeast Philadelphia. Brian’s dad Pat co-founded a boxing club for underprivileged teens from the neighborhood with their uncle, Tim, named the Jack Costello Boxing Club after their father, Costello and Brian’s grandfather. At the opening of the boxing club in 1996, Stephen sang the national anthem for the inaugural exhibition fight, in which Brian fought. They were 15. Born less than a month apart, Costello and Brian grew up together having sleepovers every weekend, watching horror movies, and eating pizza. Costello’s interest in music started in sixth grade; Brian played the saxophone and Costello “wanted to be like Brian,” so he took up the trumpet. Brian, sober since 2010, lives in their grandmother’s old house in the Tacony section of Philadelphia right down the street from the boxing club with his wife Nicole and two children. When Costello first decided to divorce he called Brian, who flew immediately to be with him in Chicago. In the midst of his Traviata cancellation crisis, Costello called Brian again, just after he had pulled out of the first performance, and the second one approaching. Brian told The Daily Beast, 'He called me and I could barely hear him. He had such a depressed tone. He felt like he let people down.' Brian told Costello he had to let go of everything that happened prior, and the stress of worrying about what people thought and how things looked. He came to join him in New York, and attended Costello’s second night of Traviata, Brian’s first opera at the Met, and the first opera he had seen Costello in. Brian gave Costello the 24-hour AA coin they had given him the day he left rehab. 'I told him what happened yesterday or last week
doesn’t matter anymore. What happens tomorrow isn’t his concern yet. Just focus on today. These 24 hours.' Costello, though not in recovery himself, was deeply moved by the gesture, and kept the coin in his pocket for the whole performance. Brian was nervous too. 'I could barely sit still in my seat. I knew how much it meant to him and I wanted him to feel good not just doing it because he felt like he had to. So I’m sitting there waiting and he came out and absolutely killed it. He ran all over the stage, jumped over couches...He sang his ass off.' In an odd and poetically satisfying twist of fate this past August, Costello stepped into a concert performance of Traviata at the Hollywood Bowl for Francesco Demuro who had stepped in for Costello at the Met last December. Costello’s divorce from Perez continues to move forward; they recently sold the house they once shared in Tennessee near where her parents live. He took part of this last summer off, staying with his parents in Northeast Philadelphia and driving with a friend to Las Vegas to celebrate the birthday of his voice teacher, Bill Schuman. When asked about dating he had no comment but said he was in 'a happy place.' Costello just finished a run at the Met as Percy in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena. He has another role debut at the Met, beginning October 20th, as the Duke in the Met’s updated Rat Pack inspired production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. 'Where I am compared to 10 months ago is night and day,' Costello said, 'I’m optimistic. I enjoy every day. I enjoy waking up every day. I look forward to the future and I’ve rediscovered the love of singing. I’m in rehearsal singing every day and I love it.' It’s doubtful Brian will get another last minute call, but if he does he’ll be ready." [Source]

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