The photo above is so much more than getting to do a show to me. As we wrap up the run of ROUTES at Remy Bumppo Theatre in Chicago, I wanted to reflect on the journey here.
Getting to understudy this role, at this theatre, with a director and institution I truly respect and admire has been an unexpected gift, but one that comes from years of work to finally get to this point. I've been in Chicago for a little over 11 years, and during my time here I've been lucky enough to perform at a handful of storefront and suburban theaters, a company member of 2 now defunct theatre companies, an "almost junior board member" of another defunct theatre company, and part of countless readings and workshops at various theaters across the city. I've had some really lovely experiences and just as many less than pleasant ones that left me very jaded about the Chicago theatre scene. Chicago theatre can be so artistically rich, warm, and exciting. It can also be very cold, incredibly difficult to crack into at all levels, and exhausting with very little reward. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, I, like many artists, questioned if there was still a place for me in the theatre.
This show marks my first performances with an equity theatre in Chicago. Getting to be in the room with artists operating at this level was nothing short of exhilarating and has breathed life back into my love of doing theatre. What a joy to work with a company helmed by the incredible artistic director Marti Lyons, whose impact on Remy Bumppo is keenly felt. She's been nothing but warm, approachable, welcoming, and steadfast in her dedication to ensuring things are run professionally and to a high standard of safety, care, and artistic integrity. Reuniting with director Mikael Burke after appearing in his production of MEDEA back in our Butler University days was a special treat as well. His ability to lead actors in the creative process while creating cinematic unforgettable theatre while doing justice to this important story is really remarkable. I was never treated as "just an understudy" and felt so supported when I was called to perform not just once, but six times over the course of the production.
To get to be in the room with a collective of artists who are so deeply invested in their art, nerding out about every detail, picking apart and putting back together the character, story, and circumstances so that we might be able to show audiences something they haven't seen before - it was an honor. So thank you to Remy Bumppo and everyone involved in ROUTES for reminding me why I love theatre.
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