It is absolutely insane to me that those words are coming out of my mouth (or in this case, my fingertips). SIX MONTHS! A year ago, I barely understood how I was going to get to this wonderful, crazy, beautiful and gritty city; now I could barely remember what life was like before I arrived here. Every day is a new adventure, and while there has been a fair amount of tough days, New York has a way of reminding you why you fell in love with it in the first place.
While its only been half a year, I've already had the opportunity to do so many cool things -- especially meet new and exciting new people. The performance community here is unlike anything I've ever experienced: warm, friendly, inclusive. These last few months (and the people who have been a part of it) have cemented that I am in the right place and I can't help but gush over the great things that have happened.
Here's a little highlight reel:
ACTOR THERAPY. Man, oh man, what a great experience this has been! Actor Therapy is the workshop baby of composer-lyricist Ryan Scott Oliver and Broadway veteran Lindsay Mendez.
Every week for five weeks, students get to bring in material (songs, monologues, scenes) that they'd like to work on in an effort to help build better audition rep.
Let's just get this out of the way: yes, I cried at my first class. Partly because I realized very quickly that everything I thought I was doing right was NOT right, and partly because they made me feel like every moment of the struggle to get to New York City to pursue my Broadway dreams was worth it.
Sure, I was also like 112% starstruck by Ryan & Lindsay, too, but let's ignore that. Over the course of my first session, they helped me learn a little more about my type. Not to say I got placed in a box by any means, but let's be honest: they pulled me down from the cloud I was living on all these years where I thought I could play Mimi in RENT. Instead, I got placed on new clouds where I could play Rizzo in Grease. Or Jasmine in Aladdin (say whaaat?!). New possibilities I had never thought of!
In addition to that, the AT community is filled with amazing people. At the holiday party, there was boozy open mic holiday caroling; in early February, we got together for Dance Therapy (where all of us actors/singers "who can move" started getting our dance chops together)
I'm hoping to start a new session with them at the end of February to continue to expand on my audition rep and learn so much more about the industry.
FIT FOR BROADWAY. Another amazing community to be a part of, Fit For Broadway is a performer lifestyle blog featuring food, fitness, mind-body balance, and interviews with Broadway performers. I had been a fan from afar in Miami and once I moved and had the opportunity to join a workshop, I jumped on it. The one-day workshop, hosted by FFB's Jane Jourdan, was in.cre.di.ble.
Patrice Covington. Max Clayton. Beth Nicely. Sierra Boggess. All four so inspirational. Seriously, just being in a room with them, hearing them talk about their motivation and what keeps them going, how they approach certain situations...just a gift.
These are the experiences that aspiring performers can only have in New York City and I felt so lucky to have been a part of it. Sometimes what you need is to be reminded that your journey is special and perfect for exactly you.
CoLAB. My wonderful friend and brilliant director Victoria Collado hosted an afternoon of a movement collaboration workshop she's been developing titled CoLab.
Guys, when I tell you it was some of the most insightful movement work I've done, I'm not kidding. A combination of truth and spontaneity in movement, collaborative creation, and a little improvisation. Yeah, it was as great as it sounds. I really want her to read this and have another session. Pretty please!
LOVE ASTERISK. Speaking of Victoria, I spent all of my weekends in late October and November assisting on the second season of Love Asterisk, the creative love child (all puns intended) of Victoria, Bertha Leal, and the 3tO5 production team. I am SO excited for the season to be released (Valentines Day 2017!) and to see all of our hard work up on YouTube screens everywhere.
SOME OTHER COOL STUFF I'VE BEEN UP TO.
- I had the chance to see Waitress (go with Mom - it makes the feels 100x more), The Humans (loved it!), and The Front Page (where I ran into the lovely Sarah Paulson)
- I attended a mind-blowing TimesTalk panel honoring Michael Grief's two-decade directoral career and featuring amazing performances by Aaron Tveit, Jennifer Damiano, Ben Platt, Rachel Bay Jones, Adam Chanler-Berat, and Alex Lacamoire on keys.
- Performed a little song with New York rockstars Gowanus on Halloween at Drom in the East Village.
- Wrap SAUDADE! I have a trip to Miami planned, partly to finish my final scenes for SAUDADE The Series. I know you're all eagerly anticipating the season and where Summer's storyline goes...stay tuned for more details on the season's release!
- Dance, dance, dance. Enrolling in Broadway Dance Center in February to start turning this actor/singer into a dancer, STAT. Those dance calls aren't going to rock themselves.
- More rep building. My goal is to be ready to have a little cabaret in late 2017. Stay tuned.
- Continued focus on nutrition and peace of mind. A challenge for any New Yorker, but definitely needed for healthy, happy performers!
All in all, I'm having the time of my life. Thank you to everyone who provides every bit of encouragement, whether you send it from very near or far. Words can't express what it means to have a support system filled with faith and love.
Thank you, New York. Thank you, Universe.