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"Spark of Creation", my favorite musical theatre song (written by Stephen Schwartz) describes my curiosity and passion best.
We are living in a tricky time and this has stoked that ever-burning fire within to stand up for human rights and fight back. I believe it begins with our youth and they will pave new roads for the generations to come, for people everywhere. My calling in life, 'my gift', is to inspire women and young girls to be what they want to be and teach them how to live life as their highest self. A spark was ignited within me when writing my "gender equality based" thesis in college. This fire has driven me to THINK for myself and to rise up as an activist and role model for women.
I moved to New York City at age 25 and landed my first three Broadway shows, "Annie Get Your Gun", "Mamma Mia" and "Hairspray". It was a dream come true and I was grateful for every minute of these experiences. When I turned 30, my world came to a screeching halt when after having so much success, I was not able to get a job. I was at the height of my career and had just left Hairspray where I was playing Penny Pingleton and couldn't find work for a year. Without working for a year, I had spent all of my savings to live and had $3,000.00 to my name. I had come to a fork in the road and there were two paths to take: I could take the easy road and give up on my dream and move back home to Missouri or I could take the harder road and create my own work and empower myself. I knew that facing this challenge head on and following my heart would be a rewarding experience or the business would fail and I would have some great stories. Growing up wanting to be a spice girl, this was my chance! So, I developed The Broadway Dolls, the girl group that I had always wanted to be part of, and gathered some girlfriends where we began singing harmonies in my living room. Before I knew it, we had our first gig. It was unpaid and we were singing in our underwear at a gay bar (you gotta start somewhere), but our second gig was at the Pierre Hotel customizing an Andrew Sisters review for Saudi royalty. We were moving on up! Then, it was off to Dubai, Puerto Rico and all over the United States customizing for corporate and special events. After producing "Tour De Fierce", our first off Broadway show in New York City, we got rave reviews, credibility and could take the show on the road. So, that's what we did! Now, we play performing arts centers all over the world as far as China.
The Broadway Dolls, the girl group of Broadway and a female empowerment group, has become a profitable organization which creates more employment for women, as well as showcases strong role models for impressionable girls all around the world. The Broadway Dolls has traveled the world offering a behind the scenes look at strong women in entertainment by telling their true stories and continuing to instill the discipline of what it takes to achieve your dreams.
There are so many world issues for women and The Broadway Dolls is a worldwide platform for women to address these issues openly through theatre and the arts. I have joined a tribe to continue to fight for gender equality, abolishing human trafficking and the modern day sex slavery, stand up for equal pay and Title IX. Not to mention, as a woman in my forties, address the issues of aging gracefully and career verses having children.
I am also the creator of Directions to Broadway, where we are directing young minds to achieve their dreams, I am a member of the National Association of Professional women, on faculty at Nebraska Wesleyan University, a staff member for Making it on Broadway, Broadway Classroom, Open Jar Institute, New York City Dance Alliance, Onstage New York and Four Seasons at Lincoln.
In a culture that continually rewards beauty over brains and young girls believe it is better to be "hot" than smart, I believe the answer is AWARENESS. What I stand for is raising that awareness in women around the world, and I believe in the transformative power of teaming up with like-minded individuals who are driven by the same passion. Let's join forces and teach our young women to "Think" for themselves and spend more time studying and paving the road for their future.
"Eat some breakfast and change the world." Hairpray, Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman
Now you have two choices, you can join the movement to bring awareness for human rights or come to the theatre or event to watch an amazingly entertaining show!