Here we are half way through 2017. I sometimes think about how I haven’t accomplished the things I want to and the year is already half over, but then I took a look back at everything I have done and I am reminded of just how much I have to be grateful for.
I started January off by playing Mrs. Van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank. Plays scare the crap out of me. But Marion Abbott always knows what roles are perfect for me and give me the challenge of being my best self as an actor. Every role she gives me I surprise myself just a little. Then came along the opportunity to be Denise in The Bakers Wife with The Confidential Musical Theatre Project…. another gift from Marion Abbott. Again a role I didn’t know but was perfect for me. Marion is a super hero when it comes to performers in Toronto. She has given us countless opportunities to perform, to continue to work our craft and be seen. I am forever grateful for her presence in this community.
Merle Garbe, a huge supporter of the arts asked me to perform in a Cabaret opening act for this show called From Broadway to Obscurity. Jersey Boy Eric Gutman’s own personal show that was presented at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. This show really hit me. Eric has been on broadway and toured the world (things I dream about), and now he continues to perform and raise a family. It seemed just when I needed it I was reminded that I could in fact do this. All of it. Have my career and my family. Its rare that I meet people who are working so hard for their passion who also have a family. Its no doubt that there was a reason I was asked to be a part of this show, and meet Eric and hear his story. It inspired me to keep pushing forward, just when I was hitting that wall of doubt. If his show ever comes this way again I highly suggest you see it, it will make you laugh, make you cry and touch your heart.
Then we have Soundcrowd. If Scott Pietrangelo did not ask me to be a part of the promo video last year, would I have joined sound crowd??? One of the highlights for Soundcrowd was performing at Carnegie Hall. We were going to be singing with many other a cappella groups from around the world. But, we sent in an audition tape and got a featured spot. Just our choir on that stage. If that wasn’t amazing enough we had the opportunity to audition for featured solos. So I sent in my video. I didn’t think much of it because I’m usually not the one who is chosen for things. Out of all the video submissions what are the chances I would get a featured spot? Well I just about passed out when I found out I did. I had the opportunity of singing SOLO at Carnegie Hall. That experience, on that stage, in front of a sold out house, in New York just fuelled the fire in me. I left NYC with a refreshed outlook on my future as a performer. My heart was full, my dreams were bigger, and I just knew I should set my goals even higher than what I thought I was capable of.
While in New York, Shelly Hobbs and Joan Jamieson who I worked with on a kids fringe show last year sent me a script. They said, we see you as the middle sister, would you take a read and see if you might be interested. It was a play called Happy Family for the Toronto Fringe Festival. I got about 4 pages in and knew this was mine. I was super flattered that they even thought of me and asked me to originate this role. A story that was super close to home and a role I don’t really get to play. A very deeply flawed and real person. Again, its a play, and it scared the crap out of me. But I worked with two fantastic actors Adele Power, and Leonard Scott-Collins. It was a joy bringing Vann to life. Thankyou to these two women who I am so lucky to know.
I then had the wonderful chance to work on a workshop of a new musical called Wendy Darling. Rosalind Mills and MJ Shaw who I worked on Cabaret with many years ago were looking for a Tigerlily. This is one of those right place right time things. I am so glad it worked out. I adore both of these ladies and it had been way too long since I had worked with them.. It was a fabulous experience being in a room with such a talented group of actors and singers and testing out new material, giving feedback and recording some original music. Another gift telling me I was meant to be doing this.
While all these things are happening I am also rehearsing for a Disco/Rock show called Catch a Break. Now we had only a few shows but I met some wonderful artists and learned something about myself in this process. I was pushed out of my comfort zone on this one. Singing Rock and Pop with a band, and being a backup singer, not like the typical Musical Theatre way of singing I’m used to. I realized I have a bit more in my wheelhouse than I thought. And I loved every second of it. Feeling like a rock star with the mic in hand and belting out Car Wash, Billie Jean, I will Survive, and Hot Stuff. There was such a joy I felt performing in this show, just a love for the music with no pressure to be anything but myself.
Lastly, here I am getting ready to perform in the Women of Musical Theatre Festival created by the wonderful Marion Abbott. I was asked to be in the Broadway Divas cabaret to start off the festival. There are so many talented women in Toronto, I am grateful she chose me as one of them to be in this show. Singing Le Jazz Hot and Defying Gravity and sitting along side 16 other powerhouse women. I feel empowered and in a place where I belong. The best is that there isn’t the feeling of competition in this room. Everyone is so supportive and wonderful and we get to celebrate each other together! Forever Grateful to meet and sing with each one of them.
So as I reflect on the first half of this year, I have been either rehearsing or performing non stop since January. I couldn’t be happier, I couldn’t be more grateful, and I couldn’t be more shocked at just how much I have done. But now, I am taking two weeks off to just be at home with my little man (and my big man). No rehearsals, no lines to learn, or songs to sing. Just getting to enjoy some vacay down time. And that is something I am also grateful for. Without these two putting up with my crazy schedule and need to be constantly busy I would fall apart. Ask me in two weeks if I’m itching to get back to something. Guaranteed!!! I have no idea what the second half of this year will bring, but I cannot wait.