What excites you the most about joining the team at Starlight?
I grew up in a small town in northeast Missouri, with less than a hundred people and a graduating class of about 20. There was no theatre program; extracurricular activities were limited to sports, band, or choir. My lack of access was largely influenced by what was available (or not available) around me, and I was excited to finally join the theatre program in college. What I love about Starlight is the organization’s commitment to providing access, through a variety of community engagement and educational programs, to those around us and to those that may not always be asked. Theatre (and the arts in general) tells so many incredible stories, but is unfortunately often only available to those who can afford it. Starlight is on a mission to change that.
Do you have a favorite Starlight memory?
I’ve enjoyed so many different performances at Starlight with friends and family – it's hard to pick one! Some of my favorite performances have been Kinky Boots, Something Rotten!, Steve Martin and Martin Short, and Kacey Musgraves.
Tell us about your favorite musical theatre experience.
When I was in middle school, my sister was attending Wake Forrest University in North Carolina. She was cast in Into the Woods and it became her world for six weeks. She invited her family to attend, and I was excited to see a musical in person for the first time. Unfortunately, after the first evening performance, there was a fire that damaged the entire set. The costumes miraculously survived, and the team took a few days to quickly put together a minimalistic set and re-block the entire show. As they say in the business, the show must go on! It was certainly a unique musical theatre experience, and I was in awe of how quickly the cast and crew pivoted and persevered.
In your experience, why is having access to the arts so important?
I think everyone could agree that our world shifted in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, we were stuck in our homes, physically isolated from those we love most. In these times, I observed the world’s gratitude for the technology that allowed us to remain semi-connected to friends and family; for the front-line workers fighting to keep us alive; and for the books, movies, and music that brought us peace. In any form, the arts can provide comfort, education, distraction, and connection. Everyone deserves access, and it is important to support those organizations that are working to break down the existing barriers that prevent equitable access.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
You can often mind me consuming art in some form or another: listening to a podcast, reading a book, watching a show on Netflix, attending a Starlight production, or attending a local drag show. Or, I may be playing with my cats, Frankie and Zelda.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I’m really good at parallel parking!