Believe NYC- Do What You Love
“Do what you love.” Steve Jobs has said it, Coco Chanel said it. Confucius said; “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”I love to sing and dance. Performing in the theatre has always been what makes me most alive.
I followed my heart from California to New York City and I’ve lived there as a musical theatre performer for the past 12 years. Allow me to say, it can be tough. I’ve worked with some of the best in the business, and I’ve also not worked at all. I’ve lost more jobs than I’ve booked, and the rejection can take its toll. After the show that would have been my Broadway debut lost it’s funding and never saw a Broadway stage, I decided I needed a break from showbiz.
I spent time traveling, teaching, choreographing, and finally found my way back into my dancing shoes when I realized my life as a performer was not over yet. (Yes, at the ripe old age of 29, I decided it wasn’t quite time to retire) All I knew for certain was that I still loved to perform. “Do what you love.” Ok.
I chose to write a show for young artists about the pursuit of a career in the arts. They tell you to write what you know, and I knew about that. I called up a composer friend, Barbara Anselmi to help me with the music arrangements. Together, we spent 4 months developing my story. From the dance lessons, mean girls, boyfriends, the first national tours, losing everything, and then finding it again. I didn’t sugar coat. I decided to share it all.
Our first show was at the Triad Theatre in NYC for a group of 75 High School musical theatre students. Within the first few minutes, we got a laugh. Then, another laugh. I peaked at Barbara behind the piano and she smiled. We didn’t know the show was funny! We could feel the audience on the journey with us. After the show, we kept hearing the same sentence, “That was so inspiring”. “You are so inspiring”. “thank you for telling your story” “because I know what you went through to get where you are, I believe I can do it too”. Wow. Since that day ETA has been including these inspiring shows in many of their group itineraries!
4 years later, we have Believe NYC. Since that first performance we have expanded our programing to include workshops, scholarships and an entirely separate program for band and orchestra students featuring world-class musicians and music directors. This season, we began offering programing in Los Angeles and Chicago. Next June, we will produce a benefit concert for Autism Speaks at The Gershwin Theatre where 300 lucky students will get to perform on Broadway with a star-studded cast. And not to mention, Barbara’s own show, “It Shoulda Been You” is opening on Broadway in April.
I guess retiring from the theatre wasn’t in the cards for me just yet. I’m going to keep doing what I love, and more importantly, I’m going to inspire other young artists to do the same.