Posts tagged #Step Up Crew

My Year in Review!

A shorter version of this year-in-review was e-mailed to my Newsletter recipients earlier this week. I can often be hard on myself, focusing only on what else I need to achieve, and staring at task lists and check boxes in order to feel like I'm getting somewhere. I can feel like I'm falling behind or failing or not doing enough. So these kinds of reviews help me see the things that I have accomplished, and remind me to take a moment and be proud of my work.


I want to start by acknowledging that for many of my friends and colleagues, 2017 has been a very difficult year. I know too many people who have felt the ripple effects of political policies that seem to strengthen messages of hate and bigotry, rather than freedom and diversity. Additionally, there seems to have been an onslaught of natural disasters this year that continues to this day with the Southern California Fires.

Still, in the face of these trials and traumas, I have also seen amazing creative work flourish around me. I am honored to be part of a theatre community that is committed to being bold and unrelenting in its story- and truth-telling. 2017 has also yielded much fruit for me in my writing endeavors. Here's just a snapshot of highlights by month:

Bad Kitty On Stage! opens at TYKEs in Rochester, NY
Conducted in-class workshops for Story Explorers

World premiere of Story Explorers at Bay Area Children's Theatre

Invited as a Guest Speaker at UC Berkeley to discuss Story Explorers
Helped out as a "Resume Doctor" at the Theatre Bay Area Conference

Workshop of The Four Immigrants at Playwrights Foundation

World premiere of Step Up Crew begins touring Bay Area schools
Bad Kitty On Stage! opens at the Gifford Family Theatre in Syracuse, NY
Table Reading of Song of the Nightingale at Town Hall Theatre

Rehearsals for The Four Immigrants begins at TheatreWorks

World premiere of The Four Immigrants at TheatreWorks - my first LORT Production

First Table Read of Inside Out & Back Again at Bay Area Children's Theatre

The Song of the Nightingale opens at Town Hall Theatre

Taught a "Song-aturgy" class at Musical Cafe

The Four Immigrants receives the Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding World Premiere Musical

Workshop for Inside Out & Back Again at Bay Area Children's Theatre

Now onward to 2018!



Musicals can be Civic Service too!

What hazards await in this beautiful city?

What hazards await in this beautiful city?

Last year, I was commissioned by the San Francisco Unified School District to create a musical that would teach fifth graders who were transitioning to middle school how to get to school safely on their own. I took on the gig for practical reasons: 1) After living in the world of The Four Immigrants, it would be a nice change to write some contemporary pop music, 2) I wanted to gain more experience creating my own accompaniment tracks in Logic, and 3) It was a writing gig that paid well! It wasn't going to be a passion project, but something that I could grow and learn from at least.

A city rife with danger around every corner.

A city rife with danger around every corner.

However, as I started to write the show - now titled Step Up Crew, it hit me that the topic of "traffic safety," as boring and bureaucratic as it sounds, is actually a very worthwhile cause to write a musical. In thinking back to school assemblies I watched while growing up, I realized that I have retained some of the knowledge gained from those presentations. "Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation!" and how the nervous system transmits a signal from your hand touching a hot stove to your brain and back again. I now look back and see that those creative, interactive, and musical assemblies were probably made by someone like me. A playwright or artist who followed educational guidelines to create a theatre piece, never actually knowing the impact they were having on kids' lives.

Step Up Crew is not going to move people to tears or make them re-examine their preconceived notions about existence. It might, however, remind kids how to stay safe while getting to school. Perhaps a child will remember bus etiquette and become a better citizen for it. Perhaps a child will remember how to cross the street safely and won't get hurt. I don't want to over-dramatize the impact the show could have, but thinking about Step Up Crew in this way brings a little more heart and a little more meaning to the project than before.