Octavia Butler’s Kindred is my favorite book of all time! When 26-year-old Dana is sucked back in time to learn that she must be complicit in her white ancestor raping her black ancestor, her will to survive is tested on a physical and spiritual level in this sci-fi-genre-expanding black futurist masterpiece. And now…there’s a show! And I’m working on it!!
I’m an extremely lucky underling who started as the Writer’s Assistant – which means I got to be in the virtual writers room the whole time (very thrilling, fr fr) and then as the room came to a close I was promoted (if this is being presumptuous I don’t care, #hihaters) to Script Coordinator.
I’m excited for the show to come out…this fall?? And also they sent me one of those really nice stainless steel water bottles so, yeah, thrilled all around.
Ho Ho Ho. I’m the ho. I got to work on this actually-makes-you-feel-good feel good holiday movie, coming out possibly December 2022? We’ll see! Added my Pink ranger to the Yellow and Green rangers of Ben and Justin (Pasek and Paul if you nastay) and introducing Khiyon Hursey and Mark Sonnenblick as whatever color Power Rangers are left. It was a blast writing the songs but also being on set (?!!!?!???) and making a game out of how much steak and vegan kale caesar I could eat/take home in tupperwares I’d brought 🙂
Life is full of surprises and none was more welcome than working on Amazon Prime Video’s Harlem! When homies from way back Benj and Justin (Pasek and Paul to their hoardes of fans, bc they’re famous I guess) called me up I thought it was just to kick it. And it was. But also, we got to work together on some songs! You can check out my little satire-y work in episodes 6 and 7. And…here are pictures of me simping for all the wonderful actors at this party they messed up and invited me to! 🙂
I have wanted to chop all my hair off and get a tattoo for over twelve YEARS. I was in Terrible Corporate America day job for a long time though and was forced to be as un-scary as that was possible for a black woman, which meant bone straight hair and no tattoos.
I’m super jazzed to announce I’m a member of the inaugural cohort of The Sappho Project’s W*rk Lab!!
The W*rk Lab is a seven month workshop supporting the development of three new musicals by women, transgender, and gender non-conforming composers, lyricists, and book writers. Through a highly individualized approach and intentional community-building, the W*rk Lab aims to provide resources and visibility for the next generation of underrepresented musical theatre creators, and position them for future success.
I am working on a brand spanking new musical, POWER, inspired by the 1991 Clarence Thomas Senate Confirmation Hearings in which Anita Hill was looped into talk about Thomas’s past, obsession with pornography and his many flagrant and whack sexual advances upon herself and others that led ultimate to a liar being confirmed as Supreme Court Justice and Ms. Hill having her story co-opted every which way. I am passionate about centering an intelligent, overachieving, well-educated, from humble beginnings, morally-centered, naturally shy woman at the center of a farce as a meditation upon my own experience being microaggressioned and gas-lit nearly to death.
I’m envisioning a New Jack Swing-ass score, and am framing the story with a bit of time travel. Looking back at what we’ve accomplished as a way of looking forward and arm ourselves for what’s to come. A show reclaiming the word “we” to include black women.
I’m the book and lyrics on this project, and…..weirdly attempting to write my own music too! (That is until Jeanine Tesori sees my DMs) 🙂
Working on this fun new kids show based on the best-selling children’s book, SupaDupa Kid! It’s about a nerdy underdog little boy Javon who gets superpowers when he’s hit by lightening while holding some fancy-formula super glue and uses his power to fight bullies. I think people are figuring out I love little black boy superhero musicals lol!
I’m in a songwriting duo working on lyrics on the project with THE WONDERFUL AND PERFECT AND I LOVE HIM JOEL WAGGONER (composer for the project). So far, we’ve got a bunch of songs in the can, tinkering away, and we had this fun table read! Come on pandemic vaccine/theater and the world healing so we can see this show 🙂 And now…for me being a mom again and taking way too many pictures 🙂 🙂
Through fate hope and love, joined the WP Lab cohort! Writing a play and affirming myself that…I write plays too now 🙂 Focusing intensely on one project in particular for the lab: MY BABY –
When eldest daughter ESTELLE discovers that she is not a bone marrow donor for her stage 4 cancer suffering mother GLADYS, because they share no DNA in common, at first she is told that she is adopted, but when a strange woman, (TINESHA) shows up on her doorstep with newspaper clippings and 23-and-Me lab results, ESTELLE learns that the person she knows as her mother in reality is a person who kidnapped her as an infant from teenage girl TINESHA at a bus stop thirty-eight years ago. A full-length cosmic family drama about motherhood, responsibility and the choices we make.
Something in which I take great pride is sitting in the position of power of being a writer. Creating a world on the page is being the god of a universe. Often, I find myself sitting in a velvet seat looking up at a universe created by a benevolent god who does not seem to remember I exist. So it’s not lost on me what a privilege it is to get to be the genesis of words and characters, creating the bones upon which the actor and director will add the flesh, being the person in the casting discussions getting to say out loud “racial descriptions are intentional, please cast as noted.”
This is such a great group of humans! I feel in good company!
It was so wonderful to get to spend a magical and dream-fulfilling week in January ’19 at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center to work on The River Is Me for a wild week of dreaming and rehearsing with actors!
My writing partner Troy Anthony and I got to pick
some of our actor friends and head up to Waterford, CT for a 18/19 NMTC Incubator Residency. We had room and board and actors and PEACE AND QUIET IN OUR OWN COTTAGE!! And some of us found love in a lonely place but that’s another story…
Anyways, from the residency description:
“The NMTC Incubator recognizes important and rising voices and stories in the musical canon, and aims to provide these individuals with the space and time to sharpen and strengthen their developmental goals.”
It’s taken me 12 years to make it to the O’Neill. This week in January was one of the proudest moments of my whole life.
So I was accepted to the Catwalk Art Residency where I spent a wonderful three weeks in September, luxuriating in the peace and calm of the Catskills!
Catwalk Art Residency is an artist residency program established in 2004 by James and Purcell Scheu Palmer ’62 at their historic residence, which was originally the home of Hudson River School painter, Charles Herbert Moore. The 60 acre property, now known as CATWALK, is on the Hudson River directly across from Olana, home of Frederick Church, and directly north of Cedar Grove, Thomas Cole’s home in Catskill, New York.
What I learned about myself during this residency was my process! I do my best work….by shutting myself in like
and writing all day with literally no breaks, save for the 3min it takes to heat up some midwestern-mom style casserole I made the day I got there! Also, I need candles and black obsidian.
So…admittedly this will be mostly a photo essay for memories 🙂 The National Alliance of Musical Theater Conference 2018 was so wonderful….and…energy intensive!! Just now getting around to including these memories!
What I learned is that there are a few theaters that are interested in taking risk, in changing the fabric of what theater can mean in this country, and doing the hard work of endeavoring to change who subscribes and sees shows. That was very gratifying to learn 🙂
And now for pictures of the rehearsal process and the show!