Sunday, March 30, 2014

NPT gig for Bridgeport Council of Churches

Last night I think we had one of our best shows. At least that is what our board members and some others who attended said.  There were a lot of moving parts to this one.

Not only did we have our four Broadway performers, but this time I used the NPT Youth as well as NPT Interns and two of the kids from the After School At the Klein program.  As always we only had the rehearsal the day of the show for about 4 hours total.

I was just lucky enough to hire Broadway singers, Charissa Bertels, Bret Shuford and Thom Christopher Warren for the gig who jumped right in and not only sang their solo numbers but also played along with the "bits" and the mentoring components.

My college kids, Jeremy, Jake, Casey, Cori and Sofie are top notch and were energetic and fun.  The Youth board girls, Shay, Shaina, and Shelby were great and so was one of our newest youth board members, Dominick singing "At last I see the light" with Bret.

It seemed right to invite two of the standout girls from the After School at the Klein Program because it's in Bridgeport and this was the for the Bridgeport Council of Churches.  They seemed to really enjoy the kids as a part of the show.

The theme of the event was "Changing Lives" and I programmed appropriate tunes for that as well as trying to mix in some fun things so that it didn't seem too heavy.  The kids really helped in that regard.

We had a wonderfully receptive audience including Rev Marjo at Salem Lutheran Church who has been a big supporter of NPT, especially the youth.  So I invited her to be a part of my version of "Popular" which ends with her being dressed up by the Youth Board girls in a wig, my Miss Ohio crown and boas.  She was a great sport.

Below are pictures from the event.  Exhausted right now, but happy that the event went so well and that we continue gathering our "Tribe" of folks who like what NPT has to offer.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Make your own!

I want to riff a bit on Seth's blog today.  My university students will tell you that one of my "themes" is  "Make your own!"  Back in the day, you really were at the mercy of others in our business.  You had to wait to be picked. It was only the lucky few who held the reigns and could act as "gods" to grant you your debuts. 

Now we have the internet. Now we have "entrepreneurial studies" in colleges. Now we have a generation of people graduating college with the anti- 9-5 attitude.  They want to be their own boss and they want to dictate the hours they will work.    

How does the Theatre World react to that?  Well things still operate like they did before, with the gods of casting and such. BUT now you see more and more start ups, new shows, trying to get a foothold.  People are financing their own movies and TV shows that they made on Youtube.  Or just on the web. And the web is virtually free. More and more new shows are getting a foothold outside of NY and then moving to Broadway.  If I have my way they will have a foothold on TV or the Web as well.  

 It's an exciting time to be a new theatre.  I have a great board who really believes in our mission and is along for the wild ride of "let's just make up our own rules" as we decide on a space. I am simply amazed at the entrepreneurial folks both in business and the arts, who are in our Tribe now. 

 It truly does feel like "Hey, let's put on a show!"...but with a networking, smart business, civic, entrepreneurial flare. 

The debilitating myth of musical chairs- Seth Godin

I was invited to a fancy gathering the other day. Thirty of us, chatting amiably over drinks, then invited to sit down to eat.
A little slow on the trigger, I was the last one over to lunch. To my horror, there were only 29 seats at the long table. All of my Jungian anxieties triggered in one moment. No room for you, you don't belong here, you probably shouldn't have come in the first place.
After a deep breath, I walked over, got a chair from along the wall and scooted myself in.
Epic disaster, averted.
It turns out that in the connection economy, where the network effect creates value and abundance in those connections, it's pretty unlikely that there are precisely one-too-few chairs at the table you hope to sit at. And if there are, it turns out that it's easier than ever to bring your own chair.
Even better, start your own table.
In school, we teach kids to try out, to work to make the cut, to suck it up and give up when they don't. We forget to teach them that the better approach (the adult, real world approach) is to just start your own team. One hyper-ironic example: A friend didn't make it past the final try-outs for the improv club at school. Bummed out, he moved on, never realizing that he could start his own improv club...
If you're spending a lot of time worrying about musical chairs, it's almost impossible to be generous and connected. If you've got one eye on the lookout for when the music will stop and which chair you're going to grab, it's inevitable that you're not really focusing on the amazing people you're with. On the other hand, once you stop playing that game, it seems as though new chairs just keep materializing.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I had a parent ask me the other day how to work on her daughter's nerves when performing.  I get that question a lot.  Most of the time it comes down to a "fake it till you make it" answer.  And telling them that you will never NOT be nervous.  It's just how you handle the nerves. It's also a creative visualization exercise where you see yourself being successful or winning Miss Ohio, or getting that Broadway contract.  Sometimes it doesn't pan out exactly as you have envisioned it but if you keep your mind open other things come through that are better or at least as good.  

Seth's blog below makes complete sense to me as a performer, producer, businesswoman and just as a person. 

Confidence is a choice, not a symptom- Seth Godin's blog

The batter has already hit two home runs. When he gets up to bat for the third time, his confidence is running high...
It's easy to feel confident when we're on a roll, when the cards are going our way, or we're closing sales right and left. This symptomatic confidence, one built on a recent series of successes, isn't particularly difficult to accomplish or useful.
Effective confidence comes from within, it's not the result of external events. The confident salesperson is likely to close more sales. The confident violinist expresses more of the music. The confident leader points us to the places we want (and need) to go.
You succeed because you've chosen to be confident. It's not really useful to require yourself to be successful before you're able to become confident.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Our very first fund raising party!  We have been so busy doing shows for other non profits that our board suggested we do one of our own.  Our version of a cocktail party/fund raiser will, of course, be very theatrical!

I chose the theme "Carnivale" and really patterned it after Mardi Gras with a bit of Opening Night.  See below for the beautiful evite/flyer that Shaina, on our youth board, designed.  Her mom, Lori, is designing the "mask" archway and table decorations of stick masks.

I have been busy getting models (15 of them, female and male) as "living decorations" for the event.  Five make artists will "mask" their faces while designers put colorful clothes on them. Five hair stylists will feather them up and we will have some great looking, moving decorations stationed around the room!

Then we have some restaurants donating food tables, a cashbard, and after about an hour, a presentation with some of my lovely Broadway friends.   Two of our Honorees are Paul Bogaev and Scott Bryce. Both "Stars" who give back to the community.

Check out our webpage that is continually being updated with new stars and donations to the evening.

JOIN US and bid on a "Silent" action item that lets you sing with a Broadway star that night!