Friday, November 13, 2009

Introducing The Cast

I had the very wonderful experience of working with Planet Connections Theatre Festivity as an intern this past summer.  PCTF is an eco-friendly theatre festival headed by Glory Bowen that requires all participating shows to do a collection for a charity of their choice.  Then I heard about Michael Roderick, a producer/blogger, who holds workshops and classes for theater professionals for low to no cost.  There's Heather Metcalfe of Artfully Unforgotten, who in the past few years has dedicated herself to raising funds and awareness for vulnerable communities through the arts.  Most recently I caught wind of composer, Seth Bisen-Hersh who holds benefit concerts twice a year for different charities.  (His upcoming Broadway Can! benefits the Bowery Mission, more on that later.)

In just a few months, I've come across all of these amazing individuals and organizations, who have made serious commitments to serving the community.  What does that tell me?  That there must be THOUSANDS of you out there in the arts world who are giving back!  And guess what?  I want to tell people about you!  I think that everyone should know about your hard work.  So it's been in the works for some time, and I promise it ain't pretty, but check out and spread the word. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Special Edition: Today in History

Recognize this picture? Captain Von Trapp (the fictional and the real deal) may be one of the most famous fathers of the 20th Century. The Sound of Music premiered on Broadway November 16, 1959, the movie version came out in March six years later.  So what does this famous father have to do with November 6?  Well, nothing really, except that my Dad was born on November 6, and his love for The Sound of Music was really a catalyst for my love of musicals.  Dad's not particularly musical.  He played some trumpet as a youth, and has a pretty strong 3-4 note range (Mom's the singer in the family), but he has a genuine appreciation for music.  The Sound of Music was my first Rogers and Hammerstein musical, thanks to Dad, and I was hooked.

Theater has become an integral part of my everyday life, because I was exposed to it at a young age.  It doesn't have to be Broadway, but if you can bring a child to the theater, you are creating the audience of the future.  Do you know what else helps? Films and soundtracks of plays and musicals.  Like most families, we couldn't afford to go to a Broadway show every year (we went once when I was 12 to Beauty and the Beast), but we went to regional and community theater often, and rocked out to Les Mis on tape in the car and the Rogers and Hammerstein box set at home.  Because those more affordable options were available, I go to Broadway productions today.

So think about the people that exposed you to theater, thank them, and then go bring your kids (or somebody elses) to a show.  Invest in the soundtrack and play it in the car on your next family vacation.  Go rent Singing in the Rain and watch it with your nephew.  Captian von Trapp sang with his kids.  It's not just about butts in seats, it's about sharing an experience and being present with another generation. 

Thanks and Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Amazing Shrinking World!

The older I get, the more I realize how undeniably small the world is.... especially if you work in theatre. 
Monday, in the midst of the never ending scurry that my life has become, I found myself in a hallway at Chelsea Studios face to face with one of my college classmates whom I hadn't seen since graduation.

Me: What are you DOING here?
Friend: I have an audition, I moved here yesterday!

I graduated from a theater program with about 10 other students.  In a city of several million, I can run into one of those 10 people within 24 hours of arrival.  Have you ever noticed that at every industry event you run into the same people over and over and over again?  Ever hear about that actor who was such a pain to work with that he/she never worked again?  Yeahhh.  We've all been there. 

This principal really made me think about the larger interconnectedness we have with theater artists all over the world, and the responsibility we have to challenge and collaborate with one another.  We all share a common language, yet there are millions of different environmental factors that have shaped our perspectives.  That is a recipe for some seriously amazing work.  Let's find new ways to reach out to our global counterparts and make some magic!

Already doing it?  Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean are you collaborating on a global level?  Let me know and I'll post your story!