Time in Greater OC: 31 Years
Neighborhood: Yorba Linda, CA
Hometown: Anaheim, CA
What are you currently working on?
I am finishing up my M.F.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in Directing at the University of Idaho this May. During this semester, I am working on a presentation of selections from “The Last Five Years”, a 10-minute play “Heart Strings”, and a youth production of “Legally Blonde, Jr.” at TCARiverside.
What's been inspiring you recently?
Finding images in the work I’m doing. When staging or choreographing a piece, either on paper or in the rehearsal room, an image will come to mind or a I’ll see that picturesque moment that truly shows what I’m feeling or trying to convey. This had led me to be more observant throughout my day and to seek out and observe naturally occurring images be it in people, places, nature, or anything.
Tell us a story from your childhood that illuminates who you are as an artist.
I was a very curious child, student, teenager, and was constantly asking questions. Those questions that parents, teachers, adults can get annoyed at because there were so many and were asked so often. In school, I’d ask questions about things that were not to be questioned, “It’s just the way things are” was a common response I’d get. But no matter how many times I was told I would still ask the question. This is directly reflected in my style of teaching, directing, and even acting. I want to know: “Why?” Why does a character do that? Why does an actor make that choice? Why is that the story we are telling? Being able to create and showcase pieces that answer these questions honestly brings me joy and peace that I cannot get anywhere else.
What kind of theatre excites you?
Anything that leaves me speechless. Some of my most memorable theatrical experiences were the ones I left the theater and couldn’t talk. I just had to sit with everything I saw, heard, and thought. Or things I see that makes me leave the theater questioning what I had known or thought before. I love thought-provoking theater. This doesn’t mean I only enjoy new boundary pushing works, I love going to see a classic or well-known that makes me go, “You know, I never thought about it that way before.”
What's the craziest thing you have ever needed to do for theatre?
Two things really come to mind. The first was originating a role in drag not once, but twice with 1 weeks’ notice for each production. The second was getting cast as a featured ensemble role and then taking on a second featured ensemble role, backstage manager, scene changer, makeup artist, and quick-change assistant in that same production. What started as a fun ensemble role turned into a full-time job in that production, but I wouldn’t change any of it as I met some of my dearest friends during that run.
Who are or were your theatrical heroes?
There are two that come to mind and are equally as important to me. The first I’ll mention is Chip Zien, who originated the role of the Baker in “Into the Woods”. I have the pleasure of playing that role in my college years and it was one of the first times I really felt I understood what acting and developing a character meant. Years after playing that role, I was fortunate enough to stagedoor the musical “It Shoulda Been You” and not only got Chip Zien’s autograph but also had a 15-minute conversation discussing everything from our experiences as the Baker to what it meant to be an artist and how to make the most of life. It was a moment I will never forget. The second hero is David-Lee Painter, a professor of mine at the University of Idaho. He truly showed me what it meant to be a professor in theatre and a kind compassionate director, but also the type of human I want to be. The type of human that really listens when spoken to, that doesn’t criticize but encourages you to push yourself further, to be better, to always be opened to improving your work, yourself, and the world.
Outside of a theatre, what's your favorite hot spot in Orange County?
I truly am a homebody. I’m either at work, home, or a theater working on my latest project. I do enjoy spending time with family at Disneyland or Newport Bay.
What surprises you the most about your role in the theatre community?
The fact that it’s ever changing. At first, I was an actor, then I became an assistant director, then stage manager, then choreographer, then teacher, then director, then a Creative Director, but always a student. I love taking that next step into a project and finding out what I can learn and do next.
What advice do you have for theatre artists just starting out in Orange County?
Never Stop. If this is something you love don’t stop. Don’t stop practicing. Don’t stop rehearsing. Don’t stop learning. Don’t stop doing. Take voice lessons. Take a dance class. Do character research for fun. Read a new play. If you love the theater, don’t ever stop being a part of it.
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