Every Person Counts

As I write this we are approaching our final weekend of 110 in the Shade with Theatre in the Round, and what a blast this production has been! Every member of the cast, crew, and pit orchestra who has made this show what it is, and continues to do so night after night, deserves credit and congratulations for its success. I have rarely worked with such a wonderful team, and I will miss them all dearly when we are finished.

Walking in on the first day of rehearsals I felt a little bit like the odd one out; it seemed to me that many there knew one another already and had worked together before. Fortunately, everyone was very friendly and welcoming, and we quickly found our camaraderie. However, on that first day I quickly placed the onus on myself to meet, greet, and get to know every single person there. Knowing that we were going to be spending lots of time together I wanted to begin cultivating the familiarity and trust that are so important in any collaboration.

This is something I have always strived to do wherever I am, from customers and coworkers at the cheese shop to gala events with patrons of the arts. I want to know who these individuals are and how they are involved in the story of the moment, however big or little that story may be. It is a sincere desire; people fascinate me. Professionally, though, it is of great important, as these colleagues all support the big picture, and it is only through our trust and support of each other that we can get there.

Of course, I am not just speaking about the performers onstage. The production team, the designers, costumers, backstage staff: everyone who helps run the show is just as important, and even though we may not be working together directly I still enjoy interacting with them whenever possible, getting to know them and learning their story. They do, after all, make the show run and run smoothly. If, as an audience member, you don’t notice them during the performance then that means they’ve done their job well.

The beauty of this all is that even when shows finish we tend to stay in touch with one another, many times finding ways to work together again and again. For instance, while working on Rigoletto with Really Spicy Opera last year I met and befriended Heather Baldwin, our stage manager, who made me aware of an upcoming show, Black Death the Musical, which I auditioned for and got into, getting to work with another great group of people, including Shayna Houp, with whom I had worked previously at Minnesota Opera. Furthermore, our director from Rigoletto, Amanda Weis McGivern, also joined us in Black Death as a performer, and then asked me to write her a recommendation for a director position with a program in Hawaii, which I did and which accepted her.

How wonderful it is that we can continue to serve one another! How great it is to be a part of this community of fantastic artists, helping, supporting, and promoting one another because of a sincere belief in each other’s talents, while maintaining a genuine desire for friendship. Each person I collaborate with means so much to me, and I see so much talent, potential, and beauty in every one of them.

And so to my cast and crew of 110 in the Shade: I hope that we may continue to grow, whether together or apart, and encourage each other to greater heights in our own separate journeys, remembering that for a brief time we all shared the same stage.