Ah 2019…. the cusp of a new era! I have been so excited to leap into the 2020s that it’s taken me a hot minute to sit down and write up my year in review.
Nevertheless, I like to have a handy record of some of the most memorable professional moments over the years, so here goes: I’ll riffle through my journal and my memory, and tally up those sweet, sweet statistics.
I performed with FIVE companies this year: Revolutionary Revue (Jester Educational Theatre), Pinups on Tour (DoRight Productions: OR & WA), Character Work (Red Shoe Productions), Voiceover Work (BlueAdvisor LLC)….
…and I even played the lead in my first feature-length film, Pirates of the North Coast (Frank Sollars & Co., MI)!
This year was full of broadening horizons: I worked in four states (OR, WA, MI, CO) and successfully dipped my toes into two new facets of the industry: film and voiceover. Moreover, both opportunities came unexpectedly, which just goes to show even the best planning can’t beat the wonders of what you don’t see coming!
I got to be a caring beach-babe godmother, a shimmering butterfly fairy, a belting female incarnation of Thomas Paine, a sultry 40’s figure in a sequined dress, and I even got to make money doing what I love while at home and in my pajamas (thanks, voiceovers)! It has been a year of surprises around every corner, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the real-life plot twists. In addition, I auditioned for about 100 companies this year, and I was fortunate enough to have more work offers than I could accept for the second year in a row. As a result, I have chosen to limit my technical theatre contracts in favor of my acting contracts, for the time being. I have learned that life and business are made up of trade-offs.
My biggest failure of the year was a goal I had set myself and didn’t quite reach… I had originally planned to read a play per week in 2019, but I ended up with only 19 under my belt when the year was done. In all fairness, however, I will say I saw 33 live performances, so at least I kept busy in-between. Some of my favorites were: one in two with the New Group in NYC, A Doll’s House and Twelfth Night both at the Denver Center, Behold the Dreamers with Book-It Theatre in Seattle, and Il Barbiere di Seviglia at Portland Opera.
In addition to employment and viewership, I enjoyed some other career-related progress this year:
I started fencing! I began taking classes in May 2019, and have continued in both Portland and Denver with a variety of solo lessons and group classes. It is something I have always wanted to do, and I think it may yet come in handy as a “special skill” one of these days. I hope to become an excellent sabreur yet.
Speaking of Denver, I moved there—here! I jumped into the new city with enthusiasm and have enjoyed it greatly so far; I’ve met new friends and connections through callbacks, and I had an excellent set of classes at the Denver Center, to keep sharp.
I was able to make some investments this year as well: primarily, another pair of LaDucas dance shoes, and a ring light kit for my “home studio” where I record self-tape auditions. Both of these investments have made my life much easier and more enjoyable, and were well worth the upfront costs.
A few smaller investments I made (in time AND money) were some excellent books, some of which I feel have shaped my professional life (and personal life!) considerably in the short time since I finished them:
Broadway Swings: Covering the Ensemble in Musical Theatre by J. Austin Eyer & Lindy Franklin Smith
Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and the Rivalry that Changed Acting Forever by Peter Rader
Complete Vocal Fitness: A Singer’s Guide to Physical Training, Anatomy, and Biomechanics by Dr. Claudia Friedlander
Integrative Performance: Practice and Theory for the Interdisciplinary Performer by Experience Bryon
Lastly, I have newly embarked on a project that’s been in the works for several months: I like to keep my professional website clean and trim, and so I avoid posting much throughout the year. However, I often feel it is important to share some of my experiences as an actor and artist, so I have developed a separate site for my musings and memories. There’s also some advice to an audience I think of as “younger me:” young performers who want an inside look at what the journey really is (at least from one perspective). So, I came up with Crash & Learn Theatre (crashandlearntheatre.com) as a place to host more of my thoughts in an informal setting. I post weekly; please check it out!
2019 was quite the year, and I know I have learned more than I can express. I am grateful and amazed at the events that have transpired, and I’m energized to meet the new year (and the new decade) head-on! I already have some fabulous things lined up, so stay tuned.
Here’s to 2020: may it be a year of adventure, self-discipline, and satisfaction!