Transcendence offers an entirely new experience for me. I have my hands in a little bit of everything, from what the audience sees on stage during live performances, to the work behind the scenes that starts months ahead of time. We have a really great team that allows for seamless cross-over and collaboration in so many areas. It’s a tall order, but I love every moment. Every day, I have to draw on my many experiences, but there’s one experience in particular that shapes my approach.
Over the last 10 years, I have participated in numerous productions of “Mamma Mia” with companies across North America. I’ve performed on stage, acted as a swing, worked as the dance captain, and taken on the responsibility of choreographer for countless performances. But the most unique challenge, and the most impactful opportunity of my career, was preparing a number from “Mamma Mia” for the “Today” show. This was my first experience working in film and TV. I got to see how they adjust camera angles to get the shots they need and capture a stage performance to look just as exciting on a TV as it would in person. Plus, I needed to help a theatre cast muster the same level of energy for a 5 a.m. sound check as they would when performing in front of a theatre packed with 1,800 people. It was a demanding experience, but one I remember fondly.
I wasn’t able to perform with the group on “Today” because I was still recovering from a broken foot. However, looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. Had I tried to prepare the performance and participate, I couldn’t have given the event the respect it deserved. It’s important to have someone who knows what it’s like to be on stage, but who can fully commit to being a pair of outside eyes, looking at the production from every angle.
This lesson, above all others, helps me meet the challenge of being the creative director for Transcendence. I know exactly what it feels like to be out on stage performing for a live audience. Thanks to my many behind-the-scenes experiences, I also know what it takes to ensure that on-stage performances go well for the artists and the audience. In order for both jobs to be done right, you need someone who can put their whole heart and soul into one area, not letting their attention be divided. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ll never perform again. The wonderful thing about Transcendence is that I still have the opportunity to wear the performer’s hat if I want.
This will be my first summer as Creative Director during Transcendence’s “Broadway Under the Stars” shows, and it’s very exciting. I’m involved in casting, music selection, and developing a thematic journey across the four shows. Seeing those elements come together is an incredible experience. In years past, new audience members have come up to me before a show to say they’ve never seen a Broadway performance before. And I think it’s really cool their first Broadway experience will be that concert in Jack London State Historic Park.
“Broadway Under the Stars” is more than performing Broadway numbers. We aren’t a typical Broadway show; we don’t always stick with the best-known songs from the most popular musicals. We are constantly pushing beyond the usual limits to bring a new level of song, dance, and energy to our amazing, beautiful stage. I think this is something our Team achieves with each performance. I am really excited to share this summer season with you, everyone!