Julian Reeve’s Captain Perfection: Broadway Pioneer and Guidance Counselor
After a heart attack nearly claimed his life, Julian Reeve likely was forced to retrospect. He had a brilliant career, working as a Broadway music director on coveted productions such as Lin Manuel Miranda’s cultural phenomenon Hamilton. He was, by all accounts, in a position that was the definition of success. Yet such a life-threatening event likely proved shattering, inspiring Reeve to move into another phase of his career – in effect, giving back through the aesthetic of his art.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: https://julianreeve.com/
The result was the recent publication of his illustrated children’s self-help book Captain Perfection & The Secret of Self Compassion: A Self-Help Book for The Young Perfectionist. The book on its face seems like another motivational tome for the up-and-coming generations, but don’t be fooled. If Reeve’s extraordinary track record isn’t enough for you, actually reading through Captain Perfection’s pages will be. Part of its profundity is how, through the beautiful simplicity and whimsicality of children’s literature, it better communicates profound dilemmas adults struggle with in bell-clear, utterly crisp examples and scenarios. Thus, any child lucky enough to get their hands on a copy won’t just be doing themselves a favor. Parents, teachers, family, and friends will all find something universally inspiring in the exploits of the book’s titular protagonist, inspiring the best in the children characters depicted in its pages.
Reeve’s ultimate goal after the emergency was to communicate the importance of modulating one’s perfectionist tendencies. The stress that results, he adequately makes the case, at worst can be fatal! But rather than giving an extended series of TEDtalks or writing something fairly dry for a wide audience, it speaks to Reeve’s character that he chose to make such a message especially accessible for contemporary children. More than ever, statistics show our young people are under more stress and duress than ever before, the stakes never more high and the competition never more cutthroat.
In the face of this, the most important tenet of Reeve’s message is astoundingly simple. True success, he articulates, will always be by your own standards. Success is malleable, and not necessarily something that can be defined, he argues. Success in many ways is with yourself, as no one’s definition of success will ever specifically be the same. By instilling this message so beautifully in Captain Perfection’s soliloquies, Reeve mixes what he does best – creative storytelling – with paying it forward in a sense that lacks any sort of duplicity or agenda. The result is something that feels like in a decade it might have the honor of being under the same headline as a Dr. Seuss or E.B. White. Great writers who, like Reeve, saw the benefit of and ensured the mastery for storytelling serving as marvelous escapism concurrent to moral lesson-making.
All we can say to Mr. Reeve at this point at time is he has no need to top himself. He may have worked on Hamilton, but he’s done something even more magnificent for the generations to come.