Saturday, December 29, 2012


What do Charlie Wilson, Jerry Weintraub and Abraham Lincoln have in common....other than the fact that I have been listening to or reading about them this weekend?  

Relentlessness.  They all have a relentless nature.  Whether you agree or not with their "missions" (Charlie Wilson's war, Jerry Weintraub's career as a film producer and talent agent, or Lincoln's political career) they all had that quality in common.   

It's more than "drive" or "passion"  There are tons of passionate artists out there who are not successful.  RELENTLESS is more than just the desire and drive to succeed.  It is:
1. Unyielding in severity or strictness; unrelenting: 
2. Steady and persistent; unremitting: 

In my quarterly alumni magazine from Northwestern there is an article about being successful in advertising (ala, Mad Men) and it says " The best creative people are relentless, self-directed, media fluent, collaborative, holistic, trustworthy and have an X factor."

In my own experience the best creative people, or the most successful people you know, inherently have these attributes.  I can teach anyone how to sing.  But I cannot give them that X factor and I cannot give them a relentless nature.  I can show them one at work..but beyond that I cannot do it for them.  I can cajole and badger my students into practicing...but seriously, if I have to do's too late for them. The "Relentlessness" needed for a theatre career has to come from them and not from me. 

In Time Magazine, the article about  Lincoln, the movie, says, "One lesson: It's not about them. Lincoln never confused his mission with himself.  He had the hide of a rhinoceros and a rare ability to set the past aside when turning former enemies into allies." 

Lincoln lost four elections before being elected President.  Relentless. 

I am listening to a Jerry Weintraub audio tape. When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man. He's balsy.  The story about Elvis alone is worth the time.  His biggest advice to anyone is just never give up.  If you get "no" just pretend like you didn't hear it and keep going back. He called the Colonel every day for three months straight to get him to let him take Elvis out on tour.  Finally it happened.  Relentless.

Just watched the dvd of "Charlie Wilson's War" again.  Basically three people made that war happen.  One with connections in Congress. One with money in the South and one with experience as a spy.  No matter what you think of the actual outcome, what was interesting to me was that they were relentless in their belief that it should happen. 

Steve Jobs, Madona, Einstein, Oprah, J.K. Rowling, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, Sidney Poitier, Steven Spielberg, The Beatles, Michael Jordan, Martin Luther King Jr, Beethoven, Any Olympic Athlete. 

With all of the above, it's about their own personal mission. Not just about being famous. They believe in their missions so wholeheartedly and powerfully that they HAVE to see it come true.  They bust through the rejections and the set backs and they keep moving forward. They stay with it as long as it takes and get better and better at what they are doing. And they surround themselves with a couple other people who believe too.  


(15 People who failed before they became famous)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lockwood Mathews Mansion show

I just realized that I have not shared the event/show we performed at the Lockwood Mathews Mansion and museum.  Photos below.  It was a lovely place to do a show,  in the rotunda with the large staircase as a backdrop. See photos!

This show was tailored to all the young families and children we knew would attend the mansion's Family Holiday event.  We were a 45 minute portion of their day which included tours of the mansion, tea time, magicians, etc.  The rotunda was set up for about 100 people but they sold out our show and even had to turn people away!  Fred Rose, Jerold Goldstein, David Miaocco and I were joined by Miss South Carolina Ericka Powell and Christina Sciongay (Miss CT American Beauty) who sang "Santa Baby" with me.

Because the Boy's choir was so enthusiastic and we were going to do the Santa Skit with two of the teenage boys anyway, I invited them to be a part of the show. The four mentoring sessions at the Rowayton Elementary school that I did in November/December culminated with 10 little girls being part of the "Letters to Santa" section of the show. They used their public speaking skills and projection that we worked on since they were no mics for this one!  We also had Matt Sweeney (our youth board prez) and Kevin Durkee (our treasurer) help us lead carols at the end of the show. A cast of thousands.

We got a wonderful testimonial for our site from the Executive director of the museum:

Yesterday was huge success. Thank you for all your support, hard work and wonderful performance.  We sold out! The audience was so enthusiastic, it was so great to hear all that cheerfulness. We sold 230 tickets, reaching maximum legal capacity. We could have sold more as more people wanted to attend. You are all multi-talented and incredibly engaging on stage. I loved the Bridgeport Boy's Choir too, a very talented group I was not familiar with and look forward to having here again. The children from the Rowayton school were adorable. You made our Holiday Open House truly memorable.

Warmest wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season,


Susan Gilgore, PhD
Executive Director
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum
295 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More caroling! Happy Holidays!

Today we performed at our last two senior homes,  Westport Health Care and The Watermark in Bridgeport. Again we had some of our Youth Board participating and our amazing accompanist, David Miaocco.  Attached are our pictures and videos from this rewarding activity.  I encourage anyone with a talent to sing or perform for Senior Centers whenever you can.  They are truly so appreciative and you will feel great after you share your talents.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Caroling Caroling now we go!

We have already hit two of the senior homes with our santa hats, jingle bells and holiday carols.  Two more to go this coming weekend.  Even though we are doing it to bring holiday cheer to the residents, it always seems to make us feel better.  The group varies with some Youth Board members, parents, students of mine and cast members from the Holiday show.  But Andy always plays the jingle bells extraordinarily well . :)

See picture from Maplewood in Orange CT.  And also the video.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I love when I have a bit of time to read and to "fill up the well" again.  Mentoring ideas 
and justifications for our own programs from a Huffington post article that highlights a
 TED video. Highlights for me are below...and a link to the whole article.  

There are two main themes in the talk. First, we're all born with deep natural capacities for creativity and systems of mass education tend to suppress them. Second, it is increasingly urgent to cultivate these capacities -- for personal, economic and cultural reasons -- and to rethink the dominant approaches to education to make sure that we do.


The dominant systems of education are based on three principles -- or assumptions at least -- that are exactly opposite to how human lives are actually lived. Apart from that, they're fine. First, they promote standardization and a narrow view of intelligence when human talents are diverse and personal. Second, they promote compliance when cultural progress and achievement depend on the cultivation of imagination and creativity. Third, they are linear and rigid when the course of each human life, including yours, is organic and largely unpredictable. As the rate of change continues to accelerate, building new forms of education on these alternative principles is not a romantic whimsy: it's essential to personal fulfillment and to the sustainability of the world we are now creating.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


It was a success!  The biggest project we have taken on at NPT turned out well.  I am paying for it now in aches and pains and just an overall "tiredness" but there is no rest to be found in the next month.

 I promised things I must fulfill on in the name of marketing and branding NPT...

Four senior citizen groups responded to the calls I made to about 15 different residences after googling them in the Fairfield area.   If a group of 10 or more bought tickets then the NPT youth board and I  would go out to carol for them at their facilities.

They responded well to that and most sent groups of 15 or more!  One of the most delightful things to see was one of the seniors in the front row, an older african american gentleman, looking up at Keemie, one of the cutest young Bridgeport Boy's Choir boys, singing his heart out in the carols at the end.  I mean seriously belting it out there. Everyone wanted to take him home, but this older gentleman, who was not related, looked on so proudly.

I promised Talk Backs after the matinees.  Since all of the NY/Broadway performers did an amazing job by learning the entire show in two days,  when we did the "Talk Backs" or Q and A's, that seemed to impress folks.  We also heard many folks saying that they had seen us other places, so the "tribe" idea is working. They are now following us to the "next gig".  When we "settle down" we will have an audience waiting for us.

Another promise I made was that anyone who bought tickets before Nov 16th got a "walk on role".  It will be an easy thing to do when we control the box office of our own theatre, but the Bijou was the booking agent on this one, so I had to do some extra work in making sure I kept that promise.  I put all the names in a decorative Holiday bag and pulled one name from it while on stage to be my "Jingle girl/ or guy" and they played the jingle bells on my solo version of "Sleigh ride".   I had them follow me around and into the audience.  Fun!

If the show had just been the six Broadway performers it might have been easier to coordinate everything, but I wanted to be sure that we had some mentoring elements visible on stage since this is becoming a huge component (and hopefully grant worthy) of what we do.  So the Boy's Choir not only sang behind Courtney on "Go Tell it on the Mountain" but also two of the older guys were our "elves" in the Santa/Mrs. Santa scene.  "Daniel Elf "wrote the Rap and each performance the two guys got more and more confident and more fun each show.  Four of the little boys were "letter readers" in the Santa Letters portion.  So I had to rehearse them separately and the day of the show because of their school schedules.  I had previously attended three of their Saturday rehearsals and worked with them, and David, our musical director, went to one to help teach them the song. The boy's choir is also a non profit so we are planning to help them with their Gala/fundraising in the coming months.

We had three "models" in the Santa Baby song who girls were from my voice studio and who wore minks, gloves, mufflers, jewels, and old Hollywood looking gowns while the slides behind them were old Hollywood pin up girls and also the logo of the shop, Village Vogue,  that let us borrow the clothes.  Our first example of what our "On stage advertising" can be.  That involved coordinating fittings and getting the clothing from the boutique to the stage in tact.

We had carolers in the lobby half and hour before the show to welcome and entertain the audiences and   they also sang one Xmas carol to start off the show.  Mostly high school and some of the college kids. A few of their parents helped to usher and hand out programs and generally keep things on track since I was in the dressing room at that point.  I had a responsible and talented young woman, Emily Hughes, take charge as the "Caroler Wrangler" and she did a great job!

To fulfill on the promise of having our winners of So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star competition get a featured role in our show, the Junior Winner, Matthew Fliegauf sang Santa Claus is coming to town (arranged by our music director for him) at the two matinee shows and Amanda Forker, our senior winner, sang My Simple Christmas Wish, for the two evening shows.  They had to be rehearsed on the day of the show and put into the Weird Christmas medley. 

The Rowayton Elementary school girls (9 little girls that I have mentored with our two Youth Board members, Shelby and Shay, in the "Broadway Bound" sessions...four sessions/hour long at 8am on Wednesdays this past month) and their parents came to the Sunday shows and so I had to work them in with the four existing letter readers.  They will also read their letters for the upcoming Dec 16th show at the Lockwood Matthews Mansion and Museum show.

Because we have a nice relationship with the Miss CT program, she danced in Santa Baby, but only for three shows, so we had to rehearse her and the cast with the cuts and additions the day of the first show.

But I promised it would be a show that drew a diverse crowd and was entertaining with a variety of songs and scenes.  The reactions and emails we got were outstanding.  From:

The Bijou SHOW was Fantastic ... response from the audience and my family was wonderful ... We ALL loved the production - there were so many parts and pieces to choose from  BRAVO ... ENCORE ... ENCORE! 

Thank again!  The Residents really enjoyed the show- they said it helped put them in the holiday spirit J

Thank-you for thinking of us. I brought 2 other families. The professionalism of the show really exceeded our expectations!  I hope someday to have my children involved in what you are doing.

The residents loved the show!! They were very excited, for some it was there first broadway show...Thank you so much for inviting us.

Thank you so much!  I have to tell you I enjoyed the show Sooooooooooo very much and you all did such a great job. It was funny, entertaining, heart warming -- just fabulous. The group was excellent.

And my favorite, because it means we fulfilled on what we promised. 

You did exactly what you said you would - you brought many facets of the community together, and you brought Broadway to Bridgeport. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


NPT was on Fox TV today (Mrs. Claus and Miss CT)
and also in the CT Post (thanks Joe Meyers!)

Below are links to both! Hope to see you all there!!
Performers from The New Paradigm Theatre Company perform their holiday extravaganza on Dec. 1 at 3:00 and 8:00 and Dec. 2 at 2:00 and 7:00 at the Bijou Theatre.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Jaki's Buzz

Thanks Jaki's Buzz for highlighting the theatre's mentoring program! Link:

The Bridgeport Boy's Choir rehearsal went well this weekend. I had a chance to sing with them at a shelter in Bridgeport at Thanksgiving and it really affected me.  These boys gave up part of their Thanksgiving to sing for folks who were standing in line for their dinners at the shelter.  At an early age they are learning to use their talent to help others.  Mr. Camp, their director is a great influence on them!

At their rehearsal on Saturday I rehearsed and coached two of the little one's "letters to santa" as part of the last scene and I also went over the "Mr. and Mrs Santa scene" where two of the Boy Choir teens play "Elves".  Daniel wrote a Santa (W)Rap that is great!  He took the bull by the horns and got it done ahead of time, memorized it and is raring to go.  It will steal the show!

                                              Singing at the Shelter on Thanksgiving!
                                                        Rehearsal with Mr. Camp

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rowayton Broadway bounds!

Some of the NPT mentoring that is connected to the Lockwood Mathews Mansion and Museum gig on Dec 16th is with Rowayton elementary school. We are on our 2nd session of "Broadway Bound" classes with 10 adorable kids who are learning through movement, voice and acting.

They are also working on "auditions" to be included in the Lockwood Holiday show as part of the "Letters to Santa" segment.

Today we talked about the "technical" side of theatre as well and I decided that I would include their "set designs" as part of the Bijou Holiday show in the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" reading, by Scott Bryce, our host.  The children drew pictures that corresponded to ten different parts of that story.

Since the Bijou is also a lovely movie house with a screen for the entire back wall I had at first just wanted to have slides of a book shown as he was reading the story.  Then I thought, why not have the kids draw the pages?  And so....see below for some of the cutest pictures that also taught the kids about set design, color schemes, and ....deadlines.

I had to have them today when we left the class.

ps big thanks to 2nd grade teacher,  Lisa Benedetto LaRusso, who really lined everything up for us and is at every session! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Singing Waiters

Our show, for non profits, always feature singing waiters when possible.  They have often been my home students or college kids and now our Youth Board gets in on the act.  See below for video footage from my Iphone of Matt Sweeney and Kelsey Llewellen who performed for the CT Humane Society's gig.

They got "tipped" after they sang and turned that $ into the Humane Society.  Sometimes the kids sell raffle tickets for the charity.  They are very respectful and adorable.

They also get volunteer credits.

video of Matt! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mrs Santa!

Had to share this great costume for my appearance as Mrs. Santa in our Bijou Holiday show Dec 1 and Dec 2.

I bought the bone of this dress at SAVERS and it was majorly enhanced by the super talented designer, Drew Mancuso.  He is also the wardrobe master for New England Ballet (who does a spectacular Nutcracker every year)

See the picture below.  I wish I had taken a before and after because you would be so impressed with how much he did on this outfit!  I love it!

Just so you know, one of the scenes in our show is with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  Jerold Goldstein is MR. and he's on the phone with our agent, when I walk in.  We have a cabaret act in the "off season" that has been going on for years, despite the fact that Mrs. Santa really can't sing.

So she's all set to find the latest "theme" for their show.  We both have two elves (two young men for the Bridgeport Boy's choir) and Mr. humors me by trying out different songs for themes (opera, pop, country) and finally my elf (Daniel) comes up with a "Santa rap" (he wrote it!)  and we go off rapping that.  Or "wrapping" as Mrs. Claus calls it.

So seriously, check out this photo of my dress below!!  and get your tickets now! See link:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fashion show for charity

Karen, the owner of  Village Vogue Boutique (one of my fav places to shop)  hosted a fashion show Wednesday night at Indigo restaurant for The Sunshine Kids - a charity dedicated to helping children with cancer. She asked me to model a gown I had already bought from her shop and after teaching till 6:45 I scurried off to model at 7pm.  

Karen is also graciously supplying the gowns for the three Broadway gals in our Holiday show at the Bijou Dec 1 and Dec 2, as well as the Miss CT girls ala "Holiday Hollywood".  Can't wait to see what they will look like.

Since we are in a movie house, we are going to show Karen's logo behind the women as they model her fashions while we sing Santa Baby.  Product placement made easy.  Movie's do it. Sports arenas do it.  Why not theatre?  

Today we are singing for the CT. Humane Society.  Custom building a show just for them in Westport. When I met with the organizer she threw out adjectives and ideas like "love songs", "journeying" and "forever home".  So I wrote a show that Fred and I will sing "love songs" our dogs.  :) And the journey we take with them through our lives.  Bringing photos of my pound puppy Benny to sing "My funny valentine" to as well as Fred's english bulldog. :)  

They are honoring Mary Tyler Moore and she may be there.

Here is picture of our final outfits for the fashion show. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NATS master class

Doing lots right now in the name of "mentoring"and tying it all in to NPT.

Gave a master class for the National Association of Teachers (CT) this weekend.  I really love that kind of class where they sing for you, and you can give them feedback and really work with them on their "audition".

Auditioning is such a different beast than performing and if you get good at it you will probably perform more than those that are just average.  Richard Sabellico's class is great "Audition Therapy".  

Jamibeth has a wonderful class in NYC that really gives you an insider's view on what is needed in auditions.

VP Boyle has his series of classes that feature a different casting director at each class.  

I have taken all of those classes and more and am always thrilled to share what I have learned from them and also what I have learned from my own trial and error.   

Below are pictures from the NATS master class.  My super supportive colleagues at WCSU were all there as well! Thanks Roy, Connie and Maggie! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Youth Board!

Thrilled doesn't begin to describe how I feel about our very first Youth Board meeting tonight.   We had seven very enthusiastic and social media savvy teens who elected a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary and also discussed topics from fund raising to selling tickets to the upcoming Bijou Theatre show.

Matt Sweeney is our president and he took charge immediately gathering emails and telephone numbers as well as taking notes.  Nathan, our VP was great with suggestions.  Our secretary Kelsey was great too and treasurer Kevin created a special facebook event page while the meeting was in session on his Iphone!!   Additional board members, Shelby, Shay and Shaina have actually already been a part of some of our activities from singing waiters to designing flyers.

The way this crowd spreads news is exactly how we want our theatre's advertising to work.  They talk to each other, text, post it, and spread the fun fast!   We already came up with incentives to any of their friends who sells 10 tickets or more.  A special raffle that allows the winner to have a walk on role in the Bijou Holiday show with us. :)

The perks of being on the Youth Board are not only Volunteer Credit hours, but also they are the first to be included in all VIP activities, from rehearsals with the stars, sitting in on auditions, meeting and working with the tech folks, producing a web show that we will be launching after the holidays, monthly board meetings, singing waiter opportunities, meeting stars that we book for shows in person and for dinner and getting a "board member" credit on their resumes.

All of this is part of our "mentoring" program and some of these members are also going into the schools with me when I do master classes and the "Triple threat" workshops for elementary schools to help out.  Building self esteem, public speaking, marketing etc skills through the arts.

This meeting turned out to be so much more not only because of the kids, but also the parents were here at our home and were equally supportive, with ideas and positive thoughts.

Below is a picture of some of the kids in action.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Good Press starting up!

I tell ya, after doing most of our own press/marketing for so long, it's nice to have a partner in crime with the Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport for our Dec 1& 2 holiday shows!   They just got us this:

and I know there is more to come!

Also if you have recommendations of senior centers or retirement centers that I can contact for the "perks" of ordering tix and getting us as carolers for free at their centers, let me know!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bringing Broadway to Bridgeport

Here is the latest press release I have been working on.  Always best to be a month in front of any press, but the hurricane is delaying things, so this weekend is my crunch time. I included a whole "perks" section that probably won't go with the press release but that will be in a newsletter I have been creating.  It seems to me that if you can get the "early adapters" to engage and invite groups of their friends, it's better than just selling one ticket at a time.  Plus, each perk furthers part of our "mentoring" or "engaging your tribe" idea.

Contact: Kristin Huffman
Cell Phone: 646-342-3200

The Bijou Theatre presents: A Holiday Extravaganza: Bringing Broadway to Bridgeport!

Amidst all the stress and strife of “Sandy” the Bijou Theatre and Broadway performers from The New Paradigm Theatre bring an uplifting and enjoyable event to the community!   

Bridgeport, CT (November 1 2012) –

Bringing Broadway to Bridgeport.  Thinking outside the…holiday box, the Bijou Theatre and The New Paradigm Theatre Co (NPT) have found an “all-in-one” way to benefit the community and create a an uplifting holiday tradition.  Broadway performers from The New Paradigm Theatre Company will perform a NY-esque customized Holiday show for Bridgeport and the surrounding area Dec 1 and Dec 2nd at the Bijou Theatre.  Created just for Bridgeport this show not only entertains with Broadway singers, instrumentalists and Santa, but it comes with a mentoring outreach that allows the Broadway performers to teach young people in weeks prior to the show and gives a few lucky Bridgeport students the chance to be featured on stage with the performers for the exciting Holiday extravaganza.  Some will even have a chance to help write part of the show with the Broadway performers as guides!  Adding to the glamour and fun are title-holders from the Miss CT program (including a cameo by Miss CT), the Bridgeport Boy’s choir will be featured onstage with the performers and The New Paradigm Theatre’s  “So Ya Wanna Be a Broadway Star” Junior and Senior winners will also be featured.  Finally, proving that it takes a village, the “Village Vogue Boutique”, in neighboring Milford, will be supplying all the gowns for the event.  Connecting, uplifting and mentoring the community through this “Holiday gift” to Bridgeport.
Tickets:  Call  Bijou theatre:  (203) 332-3228
Perks for early ticket buyers (before Nov 16th) include:  1. VIP pass to the “Invited dress rehearsal”.  2. “Talk back after the show with the stars”.   3. Dinner with the stars. 
Group ticket sales for senior centers and homes (10 or more) receive the above as well as a visit during December by Kristin Huffman (BWay performer and Artistic Director) with a young crew of carolers for your own “Sing along” and caroling door to door at your Center. 
Group Ticket Sales for Schools (10 or more) include :  1. VIP pass to the “Invited dress rehearsal”.  2. “Talk back after the show with the stars”.   3. Dinner with the stars.  4. Master class on auditions/bway with Kristin Huffman, Bway performer, Artistic Dir and college professor.
Group Ticket Sales for Businesses (10 or more)  include: . VIP pass to the “Invited dress rehearsal”.  2. “Talk back after the show with the stars”.   3. Dinner with the stars. 4. A “Caroling Day” at your office during December by Kristin Huffman and some young stars! Treat your employees to an hour of caroling in the lobby or door to door at the office!
FINALLY:  All EARLY buyers (before November 16th) will be entered into a raffle for a WALK ON ROLE IN THIS SHOW and will be featured with the Broadway stars on stage!!!!

About NPT:

The New Paradigm Theatre Company (501, c 3) non profit, creates a professional theatre experience that promotes a defined interconnectivity and sense of community. Embracing a new paradigm shift by “breaking the fifth wall” we enlist those formerly known as the “audience” transforming them into a tribe of promoters, “stars” and assistant “directors” who interact with the professional actors we feature in our productions. Through social media and Internet marketing we benefit local businesses, other nonprofits and educational institutions as we mix “stars” in the community with the stars of Broadway, TV and film. Utilizing our experienced press corps, we are the community’s best PR. By mentoring emerging leaders to think progressively utilizing innovative arts education we set the pace for more than just “art for art’s sake”.

·      NPT has also helped many other non profit groups raise funds this year including, The Bruce Museum, The United Way, The Leukemia Foundation, The Volunteer Ctr of SW Fairfield County, AT HOME in Greenwich, as well as many gigs coming up to help other non profits and schools.