"Hosting Bob Dylan on the Bardavon 1869 Opera House stage for four days of songwriting and rehearsals last week capped a 12-year pursuit of the legend for the theater's executive director, Chris Silva.
Silva first inquired with Dylan's management about having him rehearse or perform in 1994. It was one of the first things he did after becoming the executive director of a theater that has hosted Greg Allman and George M. Cohan.
He recognized the marquee value and drawing power of Dylan � who tours constantly.
'This is like a cliche, but he spoke to me and he did with everybody,' said Silva, who has been a Dylan fan since age 14.
Last week's sessions began with a mass e-mail sent in December to theaters within 90 miles of New York City from the Creative Artists Agency in Manhattan, which books acts and represents Dylan. The e-mail said the agency had an artist looking for rehearsal space. Silva has previously received similar e-mails regarding Dylan.
'As soon as I saw that, I said, 'I think it's Dylan again.' It was Dylan's agent and they weren't naming the artist,' he said.
Silva started playing games with his contact at the agency. He sent an e-mail reply, 'Should I think twice about this or is it alright,' a play on a Dylan song, 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright.'
A furious exchange of faxes and phone calls continued for weeks. 'I was on pins and needles,' Silva said. 'I was like, I've got to make this happen. Sometimes these things just fall apart at the last minute for reasons we never know.'
But Silva ended up getting a whole lot of Dylan, a possible public concert and a 'Thank you' from the man himself.
'The master,' Silva said, 'was creating new masterpieces in my theater.'"