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Be a Light

 
Our ghostlight at the Wilson after the final performance of Jersey Boys, 1/15/16. (Photo credit: Chris Messina)

Our ghostlight at the Wilson after the final performance of Jersey Boys, 1/15/16. (Photo credit: Chris Messina)

 
 
Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.
— Albus Dumbledore
 

We have entered, it seems, the darkest of times. Yesterday, what seems to be the majority of America (and probably the world) watched (or tried not to watch) the "peaceful transition of power" from one leader of the free world to another. Many of us, perhaps most of us, are scared, for ourselves and for our friends in this new world, where we feel we will be persecuted for our gender, or skin color, or sexual orientation, or immigrant status. We step into another form of darkness - the unknown - unsure if our rights will be protected. My hope is that since things have gotten this bad, hopefully they have gotten bad enough that we will really truly fight for change. Yesterday I kept spontaneously bursting into tears. Yesterday was a very dark day.

But yesterday was flanked by two of the most remarkable days I have ever experienced on a large scale. Today, the extremely visible women's march on Washington, took place literally across the globe in hundreds of cities in the US but also on every continent including Antarctica. My newsfeed today has been an incredible, overwhelming flood of pictures of crowds in pink pussy hats, carrying signs, singing songs, chanting, cheering, smiling. We are proud, we are fighting, we are here, and we will not go back into hiding. (Joan Baez's "Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around is playing on my turntable right now and could not be more apropos.)

Thursday was special in a different way. Thursday I participated in the Ghostlight Project, an action by the theatre community across the country - our slogan "be a light" for the dark times ahead. At 5:30 in each time zone, communities gathered and turned on physical lights as a reminder that we will all shine bright for each other in the coming days. "All are welcome," we said, and we meant it. I stood on the red steps in Times Square with hundreds of others, many Broadway actors and crews and stage managers and designers, to remind everyone there and everyone who watched us online that we will not go quietly into the dark. We will continue to tell our stories and give voice to the voiceless.

The ghostlight tradition lends safety to all in the theatre, so that it is never truly dark, a perfect sentiment for all of us in the coming years, for anyone who is not a cis-het white man. So in the coming fight for a better world, be a light. And when you can't be a light, look around - somebody is shining for you. I know I am.

 
I AM a queer, Jewish, progressive feminist/activist/artist HUMAN. I FIGHT FOR freedom of expression & equality for ALL.

I AM a queer, Jewish, progressive feminist/activist/artist HUMAN. I FIGHT FOR freedom of expression & equality for ALL.

 

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Fall Update/Happy Winter!

The last two months have flown by! I intended to write an update right after Halloween, which was full of performances at immersive parties, but that weekend was followed up immediately by a weekend in LA (my first trip ever to California), a trip to South Dakota to visit my grandparents for Thanksgiving, and then a flurry of illnesses through the beginning of December. So here's what's happened:

  1. October 28/31 - The Monster's Ball at the MicKittrick Hotel, part of Sleep No More's monthly-ish SuperCinema series..
  2. October 29 - Le Noir Ilumine with Cirque du Nuit (an immersive theatre company), a party produced by You Are So Lucky at the WB Thompson mansion in Yonkers, NY.
  3. December 5/6 - Gypsy of the Year performance with the cast/crew/family of Jersey Boys to celebrate our eleventh and final year on Broadway.

I've been involved with the SuperCinema parties since their inception, February's Romeo + Juliet-themed Valentine's day event. It's always a fun opportunity to become a part of the world of the film and enhance guests' experience be being a weirdo from Oz or backup for James Bond or in this case a creepy dead person from a horror movie. (Click on any image below to enlarge.)


Le Noir Ilumine, the Halloween party hosted by You Are So Lucky, was my first event with Cirque Du Nuit, an interactive/immersive theatre company made up of actors, dancers, aerialists, and acrobats. At this event we wandered a huge three-story mansion and grounds in small groups as spirits of the manor. My group decided we would not speak, and this led to many different types of individual interactions. At times I was a joyful doll-child, at times a flighty fairy, at times a creepy dead girl. Some folks found us scary, others intriguing, others funny. I had an absolute blast running around in the dark for four hours at a party for 4,000 people. Check out footage of us beginning at 2:35 in the video below! (To view photos from the event, go to my media page.)

 
 

The Gypsy of the Year folks invited Jersey Boys to perform this year in honor of their final year on Broadway (we close January 15th) and the cast decided, because the show's motto is "family is everything," that they wanted to include everybody - past cast members, touring companies, production crew, and the front of house team. So as an actor masquerading as an usher, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the performance at the New Amsterdam Theatre, regularly home to Aladdin. Collectively we were a group of over seventy, including a couple of babies born to the cast during the run. I was living my dreams rehearsing and performing with a talented group of people in front of an audience of over 1500 people.

Our full company, including one baby, two toddlers, cast members spanning all eleven years and many continents, stage managers, wardrobe staff, ushers, and all. (Oh and Mark Ballas from Dancing with the Stars, our final Frankie Valli.)

Our full company, including one baby, two toddlers, cast members spanning all eleven years and many continents, stage managers, wardrobe staff, ushers, and all. (Oh and Mark Ballas from Dancing with the Stars, our final Frankie Valli.)

 
 

So it's been an exciting couple of months, and I'm excited to announce I'll be performing with Cirque du Nuit again for New Year's Eve! I wish you all the warmest and happiest of holidays, and let us all hope 2017 is better than 2016. 

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