How did you get your start in theatre?
I joined my local community theatre in high school, and was immediately drawn to its collaborative nature. I served as a stage hand, sound board operator, stage manager and actor - as long as I was part of the team, I was happy working in any capacity! I decided to study acting in college, and was hired at the Barter Theatre upon graduation. After spending some time acting in the professional world, I discovered that I found more satisfaction in writing music - so that's what I've been doing for the past seven years.
What is Old Turtle and the Broken Truth about?
Old Turtle and the Broken Truth is the story of a young girl who must face her fears in order to save her village. It''s based on the gorgeous book of the same title by Douglas Wood, and I had the pleasure of adapting it with playwright Catherine Bush. There are so many beautiful themes and lessons in this story - bravery, open-heartedness, humility, respect for the earth, and acceptance of those who are different from you.
What has the rehearsal process been like?
The rehearsal process has been an absolute dream. We are so fortunate to have cast full of brilliant, enthusiastic actors/movers/musicians! For an hour long musical, this show is extremely challenging - several of the actors are required to act, sing, move, and play a musical instrument at the same time. It's a marathon, and they handle it like champions, while simultaneously bringing a sense of reverence and playfulness to their characters. We originally intended to play one or two songs live and use tracks for the rest, but our cast has vastly exceeded our expectations, and we are now playing most of the show live! Sarah Sutliff's direction is dynamic, tender and organic - I think people of all ages are going to love this show.
What are your future plans?
Once this show is up and running, I'll get back to work adapting the children's series CLEMENTINE into a musical, alongside Catherine Bush. CLEMENTINE premieres at the Barter Theatre this fall, and will then tour the US with the Barter Players/Theatreworks in 2018/2019. Once that opens, I'll begin writing a Rebel Playhouse commissioned musical with Ric Averill about a transgender child named Q - it will tour New York schools, educating children on LGBTQ issues and offering support to children that may be questioning their gender identities. After that, I'll brush off my musical TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS for a winter tour with the Barter Players/Theatreworks. It's a very busy year, and I'm thrilled to have so many great opportunities!