AN ARTIST’S RESPONSIBILITY: CREATING ‘THE LADIES OF BROADWAY’
Any performer can tell you the first moment they fell in love with the stage. For me, it was during an elementary school Christmas pageant. I was a first grader cast as “The Mouse Who Saved Christmas,” in which I had one solo. Even today, I can remember how amazing it felt to stand on stage and have everyone’s attention. Though I was just a kid at the time, I remember recognizing what a responsibility it was to be in that position. This sense of power and responsibility has stayed with me and I believe has ultimately led me to Transcendence Theatre.
Stephan Stubbins gave me a call in 2011 while I was still living in New York. We had previously known each other but hearing his voice again was a bit of a surprise. He told me about this new theatre company that he and his friends were starting and how they were putting on a benefit concert to save Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, California. I was mostly intrigued in hearing how excited and passionate he was and I knew that this theatre company must be unlike any other. So I agreed to come perform. How could I have known I was coming out to participate in, not just a concert, but a movement?
In Sonoma, I found a community so willing to open their hearts to us, as if we were lifelong friends. I’d especially never experienced anything like the pre-show picnic, where artists and audience members got the chance to interact together before the show. By the time I went on stage to perform, the “fourth wall” was stripped away, and there was this rush of love and energy from the audience and with them that I had never felt before. So naturally after the show, I found Brad Surosky and said, “I don’t know what happened out there, but I need to be a part of this.”
When Transcendence held their first full season in 2012, I came out to perform in the second show. I enjoyed it so much that before the show was over, I asked if I could stick around for the third show of the season. And when the third show was over, I asked if I could stick around for the fourth show. I made it a point to be available so that I could return at least once every summer after that. So it made sense in 2014, when I was asked to join the team as a full- time staff member, that my answer would be yes.
My official title is Artistic Coordinator, which is a loose term for jack-of-all-trades. In addition to being a performer and Director for a few shows, I also help with interviews and casting, hiring pre- show musicians, helping establish the internship program, assisting with community projects and experiences, and developing and running the Costumes Department to name a few. I’ve recently been the Props and Costume Designer for a few productions. And those little inspirational porta-potty quotes are also on my list of maintaining and replacing. I’ve worn a lot of hats during my time with Transcendence, but I am thrilled to be directing this wonderful new venture that is “The Ladies of Broadway.”
This show, like all of our shows, is a complete creation from scratch. Even though we initially didn’t know who our cast of seven would be or what songs they would perform, we knew that this was going to be special. Now that the show has been fully cast and we’ve been able to build around the talent that we have, I’m more excited. I’m excited to give our audience the chance to really get to know these women, to see their talents, and learn their stories. “The Ladies of Broadway” will be an incredible performance, featuring true Broadway powerhouses, and I know it will live up to the Transcendence Theatre goal of inspiring audiences to live their Best Life Ever.