Denver Artists Community

Having New York be my first artist community it was very hard to imagine setting roots down anywhere else. Or the hope of getting the opportunity to do so. Denver, Colorado and the beautiful people and artists here are just awesome. I feel so very proud to call both my artistic home. And looking forward to adding more creative homes to this new beginning. Despite the World hurt and trauma I still believe there is much good. And so much art to be made. I stand incredibly grateful for the freedom to create, love and celebrate the Good that’s happening in our Art world and beyond.

I am incredibly excited to work with these beautiful Denver Artists on Flame Broiled. or the ugly play. This reading presentation is open to ALL.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

peace

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LOVE

It’s been a bit since my last post. Much as transpired in our country. A plus is we now have over one hundred women in congress and my home state of Colorado elected our Country’s first openly gay Governor, Jared Polis. I was fortunate to get a quick picture with him right before he was named. So surreal. My dear friend got me a pass to his party. I do not consider myself political but it was a thrill to be around these people, former Mayors, Judges and the current Governor’s wife. It was great. But I am happy in the theatre or on set. Thank you. With that said, my latest play is getting a reading presentation on December 9, 2018 at the Dairy Arts Center and I am over the moon with excitement about this wonderful opportunity to not only hear the play with local Denver actors but to hear it with an audience will be thrilling. Grateful for everyday. LOVE.

  The sound of a crowd roars. The bell goes ding.    The great race has begun. But it’s been running and running for a very long time. When will it stop? When will we love? In a series of fifteen vignettes - Four actors. Two Black. Two White. Two Women. Two Men. Take on many roles in this satirical play that holds a mirror up to race and culture in America.    Email flamebroiledreading@gmail.com for more info or to request a seat. OPEN TO ALL. The theatre seats 70.

The sound of a crowd roars. The bell goes ding.

The great race has begun. But it’s been running and running for a very long time. When will it stop? When will we love? In a series of fifteen vignettes - Four actors. Two Black. Two White. Two Women. Two Men. Take on many roles in this satirical play that holds a mirror up to race and culture in America.

Email flamebroiledreading@gmail.com for more info or to request a seat. OPEN TO ALL. The theatre seats 70.

Love

My husband Chris and I just got back from a really wonderful vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It had been two years since our last and given all of the change that has occurred in both of our lives this time away was needed. The joy is that we were ready for it. Embraced it and enjoyed every moment. When I look back on what my health state was like this time last year not knowing if I’d have a “normal” speaking voice again and knowing I could no longer sing in the way I knew I was absolutely devastated. I didn’t know what depression was until then. Not really. There were indeed days where I couldn’t get out of bed. Believe me I wanted to but I just couldn’t. On those days I would say to Chris that I can’t get out of bed and his simple reply was always, “Then don’t.” Eventually, I immersed myself back in reading books by Pema Chodron, among others, on healing. Listening to lectures and dear dear friends lending their compassionate ear to listen to a friend who was going through a storm. I will always be grateful. When my father transitioned in March it felt as if I was ready for the grief that would come. I know you are never ready for grief, and I was not even though I thought that I was. Once I allowed myself to acknowledge the passing of my father’s energy from this earth and released the pain, anger and weight of it I began being able to breathe through it and simply allow the feelings to come and eventually go.

This is why I wake up and go to bed thankful each day. What I learned is our time here cannot be taken for granted. Love while you can. Be there for others and let them be there for you. I am so glad that I did.

I hope you have a wonderful day.

peace and love to us all

Life

What a journey we are on. All of us. With all that’s in our world I still do believe that Love is stronger than hate. Togetherness is stronger than divide. We is much greater than I.

So on this ride we go.

Staying inspired by the millions of extraordinary human beings who help to lift many out of a state of darkness.

I do believe that there is enough learned love, light and beauty to outshine the hurt and pain in this world.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Just Press Save

I am very pleased to write that I have changed the title for the final time of my first play. Since I began writing the play it went from being called Youth to HOMEROOM to PWP perfect works in progress to FREE to PWP to NC-17. and now JUST PRESS SAVE. (Yes that is a lot of title changes).

What a joy to have a title that really speaks to the energy of the play, the young people who inhabit it and the hope they carry in simply wanting their lives to be better than the day before.

Very happy to share the new title here.

Peace and Love to us all

  *contains strong language, drug use and gun play

*contains strong language, drug use and gun play

Love

Twenty two years ago I was incredibly fortunate to have been a part of the Original Cast of RENT. I remember when we first learned ‘Seasons of Love’ and then hearing all of our voices blending together as one. It was truly a magical moment. We all felt it. It was special. Then when Gwen and Byron sang, so from their hearts and life experience, both hitting notes we had not yet known they could hit. Byron always spoke with such a deep voice so when he hit that high note before Gwen’s ultra high note we all smiled so big; then glowed from the joy and beauty that was being created in the room. So many great memories of being a part of the process of creating some pretty extraordinary pieces of art. I wake up with a renewed sense of gratitude every day for having the opportunity to learn from all of those very special and magical moments.

Making a new musical or play is a lot of hard work but it’s also a tremendous amount of heart, passion and love from everyone involved. To be in a rehearsal room of any new work is a thrilling and one of a kind experience. Every rehearsal room is different and unique and I am honored to have worked and learned from such amazing artists in every rehearsal room I have been fortunate to be a part of.

Sending love and peace of heart to everyone.

xxRodney

 with Byron Utley and Gwen Stewart at the 10th Anniversary celebration RENT  circa 2006

with Byron Utley and Gwen Stewart at the 10th Anniversary celebration RENT circa 2006

Mom.

This weekend was exactly what I needed. My stepmother came to visit us and what a JOY it was. We took her to see Chris’ sensational production of Oklahoma! on Saturday and had a ball. Before I go on I need to say that the food in Denver is exquisite. Every restaurant I’ve eaten in has been absolutely delicious. We all ate at a wonderful restaurant in downtown Denver called TAG. Soooo good. Highly recommend. I took her to the Outlets in Castle Rock. We loved it. We found out that we love shopping together. We caught up and just spent time together. It was wonderful.

I’ve known my stepmother since I was three. Thankfully my father finally settled down in his later years and married this beautiful angel of a human being.

Being conditioned, growing up, to call her Miss Karen, I was always a bit trepidatious to call her mom until it just made sense. My biological mother did not raise my brother and me and was not in the picture growing up in any positive way. Karen was always there even when my father wasn’t. I love this woman as if she birthed me.

Having these few days to spend with her provided us with this new beginning we both dreamed of. She is family and will always be.

I am proud to call her Mom.

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:)

“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is!” -Mandy Hale

Have a great day!

Good Morning

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be” - Oprah Winfrey

Today is a very special day.

This evening HBO will air the documentary: You are Here: A Come From Away Story.

The documentary chronicles the actual events experienced by passengers and Newfoundlanders whose lives were changed on that fateful day of September 11, 2001 and how their stories inspired Irene Sankoff and David Hein to write their award winning musical, Come From Away.

The brave and beautiful women and men who are featured in this documentary are extraordinary people. Their kindness helped so many. I am proud to call them friends.

Looking forward to watching.

May today be one that brings some joy to you. Even in the smallest of ways.

Waking up is a gift. We’re breathing. We’re alive.

Peace and Love to us all

Measure in Love

Yesterday was another beautiful reminder of friendship, laughter and joy. 

I was invited to read a role in a screen play reading that two dear friends wrote, 'I'm Jane'. What a great time. Congratulations Analesa Fisher and Bryce Earhart! They wrote the script and are brilliant young artists who now reside in Los Angeles. I couldn't be more proud of them both. 

After the reading I was able to spend some wonderful quality time with my longtime friend and another extraordinary artist, Karla Mosley, her boyfriend John Rogers and their newborn baby. What JOY it was to sit and spend such great quality time with beautiful friends. Tracie Thoms stopped by, as always, it's so great to see her. Family. 

I then realized I needed to see the new musical by Dominique Morisseau, 'Ain't too Proud' playing at the Ahmanson Theatre. It was absolutely Spectacular. Every part of it.

Derrick Baskin, Ephraim Sykes, James Harkness, Jeremy Pope, Rashidra Scott and everyone in the cast are BRILLIANT ARTISTS. 

I sat there not only beaming for my friends and colleagues on the stage but acknowledging the wonderful accomplishment of all this new musical achieves. The music of course is fantastic. The Temptations. How can it not. But you are not just going for the music and great performances.

The story that has been created and executed so brilliantly by Dominique, Des McAnuff, Sergio Trujillo and every actor on that stage be it through Acting, Singing or Dancing (in no order). I was blown away. And proud for all of these Black men and women making history on that stage. And proud for this brilliant diverse creative team, musicians and company that make up the whole. 

What a time for Art and bringing people together.

Before heading to the airport I stopped off at Tracie's house and, once again, had the time of my life and left inpsired. We all laughed, listened to 90's music in the background, caught up and ate some real good food that Tracie made. I mean. It was Good. 

Tracie then had the idea to do an impromptu photo shoot with her RENT poster. Friday was the 10th Anniversary of our Broadway closing. What an extraordinary full circle experience. I realize I rarely post about Rent, maybe I will start doing that more. I am not on social media so Tracie showed me all of the comments from people. It brought such a smile to my heart hearing all of your stories on how RENT changed your life. It changed mine as well. To go from being a 21 year old making his Broadway debut and our composer friend passes was a lot to take in for all of us but the gratitude is knowing all of the lives Jonathan's show has touched. All for many reasons but Jonathan's work is visceral and I am so glad to know it's been speaking to each new Generation.

Thank you for the love.

I flew home on a 5am red eye and now back home here in beautiful Denver. 

Last week I had the wonderful fortune to see my husband's new production of Oklahoma! set in one of the 50 all Black towns during that time. It's playing at the Denver Center where he is the Artistic Director and director of the show. 

I was blown away by it.  If you are in the Denver area or like to travel to see theatre the show officially opens this Friday September 14 and closes October 14. You won't want to miss it. 

It's stunning. 

Although I won't be returning to musical theatre due to having spasmodic dysphonia, life has moved me in a new direction and I am grateful. I am thankful I can speak clearly again and I feel hopeful about this new life transition.

I'll keep you posted.

Peace and love to us all 

 Tracie Thoms, Me and some of our RENT on Broadway family.  Photo by Eugene Byrd

Tracie Thoms, Me and some of our RENT on Broadway family.

Photo by Eugene Byrd

A beautiful day

I was fortunate to attend two opening nights this weekend. Went with Chris to see the opening of a sensational Vietgone and the following night I took in the very fun opening night performance of The Cake at Curious Theatre. I'm looking forward to seeing more great Denver theatre! 

Today I took a walk along Pearl St. in Boulder. It's such a pleasant city. I'm always there for early morning hiking but today I wanted to window shop. They have great stores. I bought a really cool Black Tourmaline crystal. 

I hope today was a good day for you too.

 

beauty

Much in our world today is pretty ugly but there is still beauty to be found in the smallest of things. We just have to take a moment to breathe, look and feel. Sending thoughts of beauty and love to all. 

peace

 on a walk with Logan and Trevor

on a walk with Logan and Trevor

strength

Even when you think you can't. Know that you can. Each day. Get out of bed and start your day. Grateful and appreciative for your Breath.  Love. Kindness. Compassion. Strength.

Even with all around us in the world today. There still is much to be thankful for.

peace and love to us all.

"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment." -Pema Chodron

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the Denver sunshine

When the sun's out the open air gives it room to spread it's glow. Flowers sing as its rays rain down for it to grow. The Denver sunshine is beautiful. Feels good to call it home. 

Have a wonderful day everyone.

peace and love to us all

a good time

Last night I met up with the enormously talented artist Marshall Pailet who was here in Denver directing a really fun immersive show at the Newman Center called, 'The Reunion Experience'. I attended the 1985 experience. There is also a 1969 which I look forward to going back to see. You receive a name tag of the person who you basically will be for the two hour show. It's all great fun and I enjoyed it very much. Laughing and remembering all of the songs, tv commercials, dance moves and clothes. Oh, the clothes of the 80's. 

Hope you have a good day. :)

"If you love what you have then you have everything you need."

Walking my dogs this morning I saw a sign that read, "If you love what you have then you have everything you need." I paused. Inhaled and exhaled. Then smiled. That isn't something I would have seen or even smiled about years ago. I am grateful to be able to look at that sign now and smile for the beautiful truth of it. 

I may not be where I thought I would career wise but in this time away from performing and being inactive on social media, I am finding another level of being. Whether it's playwriting, time at home with my husband and our dogs, connecting with new friends here in Colorado, taking classes or simply enjoying a really good hike and meditation; I am in a good place in my life. The internal peace I had been seeking is found. Sometimes things happen and what may first seem tragic eventually becomes a learned blessing in our lives. I am believing that. 

Despite the world's pain or maybe because of the world's pain, I often times pause and look up at the beauty around us. The sky. The trees. The wind. The ever changing wind. This of course isn't something I had thought to do years ago before making the move to the Pacific Northwest and beginning the journey of learning to love, accept and live. Denver, CO is where I feel the Universe has led us to call home. There is a beautiful majesty to it. And the mountains. One word. Wow. 

I find myself pausing more, looking up and around more, being aware of my breath more and even taking more moments to smell a beautiful flower.  

The other day I saw a very large boulder along one of the hiking trails. I climbed it. Sat and meditated. It was beautiful. My ears and heart tuned to all of nature's life around me. 

May your day be a good one. 

peace and love to us all. 

 

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The joy of learning

Back home from a fruitful trip to New York for the Dramatists Guild Conference. My first. It was absolutely wonderful. The highlight for me, of course, was having the great opportunity to be a part of Paula Vogel’s four hour Master class.

What an enormous thrill it was to be in that room. If it were an eight hour class I would have taken it. Any writers out there if you have the chance to be in any of Paula’s classes Take it. It was truly mind blowing.

Towards the end of the class we put into practice what was learned by doing a bake off. She gave us a half an hour to write a play on various themes she came up with. It was at once terrifying and thrilling. The writer geek in me couldn’t wait to get started. To create a world that before she gave us this assignment didn’t exist. It was true bliss.

I came back from the bathroom break, picked up my laptop from the table I was sitting at for her lecture and moved towards the back of the room and began to breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

The energy in the room was electrifying. Everyone internally creating at once. It was magical.

I then began to write.

Before I knew it the half hour was up. I went back to my seat at the table and listened.

Paula said we’d only have time for 3 or 4 playwrights to read their play. Immediately I could feel everyone brace. I breathed.

The first play was read. We applauded. I then raised my hand. Connected with Paula. She smiled. I stood up and read what will now be my fourth writing project. I was encouraged by the class and Paula to make it a full length.

There are no words for the joy I felt in my heart that Pulitzer Prize winning Paula Vogel loved my writing. As she puts it, my voice. I am humbled and moved.

I also had the great opportunity to connect and re-connect with colleagues who I have long admired -Charlayne Woodard, Dael Orlandersmith, Lynn Ahrens; and to see and hear other greats I love, Lynn Nottage, Lydia Diamond, Doug Wright, Christine Toy Johnson, Kristen Childs, Kirsten Anderson Lopez and Bobby Lopez. This was a week I will not soon forget.

At present I have been regularly auditioning for tv actor work, which has been intense but in a very good way. Living in Denver, I put myself on tape when it’s requested. So that’s been fun too. Getting to enjoy the process of creating a character, even if only for an audition, is always great and it’s nice to keep that muscle active.

I’m at a place in my life where whatever is meant will be. Be it my plays finding a home for a production or readings to a hopeful booking of a series regular role to simply living life at its present moment here at home with my husband, our dogs and friends. I am at peace.

Looking forward to being a part of this beautiful Denver theatre arts community.

Sending love and peace to everyone and hoping your day is good.

 with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel. 

with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel.