There are many influences that have helped bring this idea to fruition and over the next several posts I hope to share them with you.
My passion has always been theatre. From the first time I ever walked into a theatre, I felt that I was home. I love the energy and the shared relationship that comes as both artist and audience member in the theatre.
Two recent experiences that encouraged me to start a theatre company were the Broadway productions of Godspell and Next to Normal. I know you’re saying “wait a minute–but you want to start a nonprofit professional affordable theatre in Queens; This is not some $200 a ticket company you’re starting.” True, but the experiences I had were ones that I wish I could have shared with all of my friends and family as well as with acquaintances and strangers, but I can’t ask people to spend $200 to see a show with me that they may or may not like. None of us have money in this economy to just throw money away on a show that might be good for $30 at the local level.
When I went to see Godspell, I left the theatre crying–hysterically crying–because it was a beautiful production and stood for the type of community I want to create with our theatre. Godspell was a community effort from the grassroots fundraising via Kickstarter to the interaction during the show to the “party” on stage at intermission to the celebration of some of the first gay marriages in New York City on its stage. Every aspect of that production was about love and being there for the community and building a “city of love.”
When the song, “Beautiful City” was sung it hit me in the heart and didn’t let go, which I wasn’t expecting because it was not in the original production; It was added to the movie and seemed like a song just to add a new song to the movie. That was not the case for this show. The first verse and chorus of the song are:
OUT OF THE RUINS AND RUBBLE OUT OF THE SMOKE OUT OF OUR NIGHT OF STRUGGLE CAN WE SEE A RAY OF HOPE? ONE PALE THIN RAY REACHING FOR THE DAY WE CAN BUILD A BEAUTIFUL CITY YES, WE CAN; YES, WE CAN WE CAN BUILD A BEAUTIFUL CITY NOT A CITY OF ANGELS BUT WE CAN BUILD A CITY OF MAN
This song took on a whole new meaning sitting in the center of a city that currently was experiencing the Occupy Wall Street movement and starting to build the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero. New York City is a city of hope that currently builds and rebuilds itself all the time–Hurricane Sandy was no exception.
After staying in Queens many times during this past year, for the most part in the Astoria and Sunnyside areas, I fell in love with the local communities in Queens. I was planning on creating a nonprofit professional theatre in the New York City area and when I went to Queens I knew instantly I wanted to bring that supportive artistic community to the areas in and around Astoria, Sunnyside, and Woodside. The events of Hurricane Sandy just solidified to me that this area was where the theatre should go.
SWIFTLY TILTING THEATRE PROJECT is a place for growth for the entire county of Queens and in particular these neighborhoods. I want to give people the feeling of going home whenever they come to our theatre. I want the artists to feel they have a safe, supportive environment to develop their craft, and I want the audience to be able to experience quality, affordable theatre that they can share with everyone they know…
So, next time you’ll hear about my Next to Normal experience, but I wanted to give you a taste of why our company is being formed and what we’re all about.
SEE YOU IN A FEW DAYS!