Official screening details have been released for the Chicago premiere of I Married Black - for the newly initiated, that's the indie film I just wrapped, playing the character of Jill - a well-meaning support group organizer trying to guide our lead protagonist to a better understanding of black culture....you'll have to check out the film to see how successful I actually am!
Chicago Premiere of I Married Black
Sunday, Sept 23rd at 6:00pm
Studio Movie Grill
210 West 87th Street
Chicago, IL 60620
Tickets available online ($12.00)
Hang around after to meet the cast!
Hard to believe, but we've wrapped filming for I Married Black, my film project this summer. It's been a really fun ride working with this dedicated and talented cast and crew, helmed by the unmatchable Elliot "El" Porter. The script is super fun and I had a blast jumping into the role of "Jill" they well-meaning leader of the IMB support group. Our leads totally crushed their scenes as well, and we were all pleasantly surprised on the final day of filming when the role of Officer O'Malley was filled by none other than Ryan Chiaverini, co-host of Windy City Live! He did a great job "serving and protecting" as a Chicago cop on our set and I can't wait to see the final product. We'll have an official screening in Chicago on September 23rd, and the film will be submitted to festivals including Sundance.
Check out some on set photos below!
How is it mid July already?
Summer is in full swing and there's plenty to get excited about beyond the street fests and beach days.
First and foremost.....new headshots and a totally revamped website! While the site structure is essentially the same, I wanted to update the visuals and theme to be a bit cleaner and more consistent, and flow better on mobile. I also moved the Reviews section under Media to help declutter the navigation a bit. Take a look around! Check out my new headshots by PopioStumpf photography below and on my Headshots page.
I recently wrapped up my stint as backstage manager for the Congresses for Future Medical, Science, and Technology Leaders. The event went super smoothly this year and I loved working with the pros over at Royster Productions again. I don't do backstage work super often, but if I'm going to do it this is truly an amazing opportunity I'm honored to return to year after year. It's incredibly inspiring to watch these speakers, who range from genius teens and young adults who invented things like advanced robotic life-like prosthetics for kids to Nobel Prize laureates in Physics and Medicine, to inspiring individuals who help these high-achieving high schoolers unlock their potential, drive, compassion, and creativity in amazing ways. Definite highlights this year were Richard Browning, "the real Iron Man" demonstrating what was essentially a jetpack, the live-streamed robotic surgery of a hysterectomy (fun fact, the lead surgeon and the doctor on site at the Congress were both women of color, the operating room was 80% female, and student delegates at the congress were between 60-65% female.... the future is female!!), and getting to hear from Dr. Sylvia Earle speak about her journey and the vitality of our oceans. I didn't know who she was at first, and now that I do, I am in awe of her achievements and she is truly a living legend (and a great speaker). Look her up, she's worth a quick Google!
Meanwhile, if you're a follower of my husband's career, be sure to check out Avenue Q at the Mercury Theater in Chicago, running through September (but shhh it's extending to Nov 4). Jonah plays Trekkie Monster and it's...hysterical. After that he'll return to the Goodman Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol as Mr. Fezziwig. So proud of his accomplishments and booking some amazing work in his first year as a member of Actor's Equity.
Onwards & upwards!
The last month or so have been super interesting in Amanda land! It's been an exercise in adjusting my expectations and examining my goals as an actor. As you may know, the majority of my acting training and experience lies in the theatre world. I've generally considered myself a theatre actor first and felt that was the path I would find the most success. What I've been finding lately is that the theatre community of Chicago can be a real tough nut to crack - it's a beautiful, vibrant, and diverse community of actors that I love and continue to support through patronizing the groundbreaking work that happens all over this city -- I recently had my mind BLOWN by a ridiculously excellent production of Round Heads and Pointed Heads by Bertolt Brecht - who even does Brecht anymore, and well? It was killer. Major props to Red Tape Theatre. (PS if you get a chance, check out Jesus Christ Superstar at they Lyric Opera of Chicago, opening April 27th - my husband Jonah is part of the singing ensemble and understudy for Caiaphas, and it's going to be out of this world - this is the US premiere of the 2017 Olivier Award winning production from London and will be doing a US national tour later this year)
But recently I just haven't been able to make a whole lot click for myself in the the theatre world - I've been auditioning and putting myself out there, getting a few callbacks here and there, but nothing really working out lately. And that's okay! These things come and go in waves, and rejection is part of the game. I'm not "quitting theatre". But what I HAVE noticed is that I seem to be booking more voiceover, and slowly but surely more on-camera gigs than ever. It's a super different audition/submission/preparation process, but for the moment that seems to be where my art wants to take me. So I'm forging ahead with gusto! One door closes, you open a window (or something like that). I'll still continue to audition for theatre projects that interest me but I'm really excited about further diving into the VO and on-camera side of acting.
One of the big things I'm jazzed about right now (aside from bookings for the summer and my new demo reel) is my plan to chop off a bunch of hair and get new headshots and a comp card that I can shop around to agents. Once I get those shots back, get ready to see a bunch of new photos around the site!
So what's on the books right now? Here's a quick breakdown:
Oh yeah, and I'm joining the beach volleyball recreational league again this summer ;)
We'll see where all this takes me, but it's exciting territory to discover for sure. Sometimes you have to circumvent traditional paths to success and forge your own trail. Onwards!
With many many thanks to Kevin Andrew Rivera for cutting together my reel, and my lovely friend Mikala Francini for making the introduction - I finally have a professionally produced actor reel! Please check out the finished product below - as time goes on and I obtain more footage, we'll continue to grow and update the final set. Enjoy!
UPDATE: If you are new to Audible, you can now sign up for a free trial AND get the the Whispers from the Cove audiobook for free by signing up at this link: https://www.audible.com/t2/title?asin=B07B3GFRYP
I also have a limited number of free book codes available for reviewers, industry pros, agents, friends, and family members who are already members of Audible. Feel free to reach out via email to inquire about a free code!
I am so excited to reveal that the audiobook for Whispers from the Cove is finally available at Amazon and Audible! (You can always sign up for a free 30 day trial of Audible on Amazon's website)
This has been a major undertaking to record, starting all the way back in October of 2017.
11+ hours of audio later..... not to mention some rapid-fire self-education on sound editing, making goofy mistakes requiring rerecords of several chapters (always save your raw audio & back it up in .wav), and the typical trials of recording at home where I can only do so much to dampen the sound of noisy neighbors, airplanes overhead, and street noise... we've got ourselves a full length professional audiobook!
I'm really proud of this and if you choose to download and give it a listen I hope you enjoy it. Jeanne is a wonderful writer and I found the book so engaging and heartfelt. There are two more books in the series, and if all goes well, who knows, maybe I'll end up narrating those too!
I'd best categorize this book as historical fiction drama/romance and it takes place at the end of the civil war in rural Tennessee.
Many thanks to my husband for being patient while I recorded in our apartment!!
Fall is quickly getting colder and the days getting shorter (yuck) but I still have to find ways to get out of my apartment! Recording the audiobook for Whispers from the Cove has kept me pretty busy, but I have picked up two quick little projects.
The first happens Friday 11/3, with Circulations: Honoring Cultural Stewardship, an event for Chicago Parks to celebrate the Re:Center Process that Fury is a part of through Art Happenings at Indian Boundary Park. This is from 6-8pm. We'll presenting the Pyramus and Thisby play within a play from A Midsummer Night's Dream, where I'll be playing Peter Quince aka the prologue.
The next event is This by Caridad Svich, Directed by Iris Sowlat, presented at Climate Change Theatre Action: A Curated Conversation, hosted by the Pride Arts Center. I'll be appearing as the character "D" This is a multi-disciplinary international event with artists from across the world takes place November 14-16, 2017, 6:30pm at The Pride Arts Center, 4147 N. Broadway, Chicago
Performances are pay what you can, and will have general admission and re-seating all evening.
Featuring virtual reality, dance, puppetry, live performances, and a call to activism.
Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented biennially in support of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP meetings). I met our director Iris through work with Fury Theatre and am excited to work with her as a director after seeing some of her incredible work.
I've cooled off on auditions for the time-being as I focus on other parts of my life, but will get back to pounding the pavement soon! In the meantime, I'll be working on my audio projects and working with Fury Theatre.
I am excited to announce that I have been contracted to produce the full length audiobook for the new historical fiction novel, Whispers from the Cove (Smoky Mountain Secrets Saga, Book 1) by Jeanne Hardt! The book is already available on Amazon, and once the audiobook is complete (in time for the holiday season!) it will also be available on Audible. I'm excited to help tell this story and bring it to life for audiobook listeners everywhere.
Look for updates once the book is complete!
Here's a quick synopsis:
Lily Larsen has never been afraid of anything, yet the effects of the war are wearing her down.
You'll see these details updated in my Voiceover and Current Projects pages as well. However, it's time for me to unplug, as my husband and I (finally) head off on our 10 day honeymoon cruise! See you in mid-October!
Act quick to catch Amanda is this one weekend only short play festival, at the Skokie Theatre with MadKap Productions. She'll be appearing as "Visitor" in the Visiting Hours by Mikala Francini, and directed by Raphael Schwartzman. The play centers around several prison encounters between a woman and the man who murdered her husband. Amanda's co-star playing "Prisoner" will be Jordy Williams, who played Mordrake in last summer's The Curse on Mordrake House which Raphael also directed and Amanda also appeared in.
MadKap Productions presents its 3rd Annual Short Play Festival which features plays produced by Chicago-area theatre artists. There's a $100 prize for the "Best of Fest" as decided by YOU, the audience, so come on out and vote!
Amanda Winston - Visitor
Jordy Williams - Prisoner
Saturday August 26th at 7:30pm
Sunday August 27th at 2:00pm
Skokie Theatre - 7924 Lincoln Ave, Skokie IL
Tickets cost $12 and can be purchased on this website or at the door.
I've been slow on the update - but as you may have noticed I am now officially Amanda Winston! All areas of my site and resumés should be updated, and if you try to go to my old web address or email you should be automatically redirected to the new website or email address.
My first gig as Amanda Winston was as a backstage manager for the Congresses for Future Medical, Science, and Technology Leaders in Lowell, MA during the last week of June. I was in charge of running all of the backstage action of these two 3 day events (6 days in total) with various speakers, workshops, and demos. The events cater to high achieving high-schoolers looking to get a leg up in the medical, science, and technology fields, and I must say I was truly inspired and impressed by the speakers and these kids' enthusiasm. It was a treat to put on my stage manager hat again and do something a little different - and it's fun when my day job can lead into opportunities in my creative life (the folks who run the Congresses are one of my project management clients). I hope to return next year and do it all again!
Coming up next, Amanda will be playing the lead role, Liz, in a full-length staged reading of The Box Office, a new play by Matthew Fowler. This is part of the HARVEST: Festival of New Works at the Side Project Theatre Company in Roger's Park. This will be directed by my lovely friend and colleague Raphael Schwartzman, and will co-star Janet Magnuson, Sarah Patin, Andrew Pond, and Wesley Whitaker. The reading will take place on Saturday, July 29th at 7:30pm and tickets are free! Get all the details on my Current Projects page.
Here's a photo I snuck of the Boston Dynamics robotics demo at the Congress for Future Science & Technology Leaders!
Come here for the latest on Amanda's projects, reviews, photos, and more!