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November 20, 2017

#ThankfulForTheatre: Our Staff Shares Their Stories


We’re thankful for theatre all year round, but this November we took a moment to ask our staff just why they are grateful for this art form we love so dearly. Check out the below to hear from a few of our staffers about how theatre has changed their life – and be sure to add your #thankfulfortheatre story in the comments.

Becca Schlossberg, Licensing Representative
Because it saved me. It gave me a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life. Before finding theatre, I didn’t know where I belonged. Being a part of a show gave me a means to express myself, be seen and heard, and connect with others in my community. Theatre was a landmark where I could always return. Whether I was watching a show or a part of a show, I found that theatre brought me together with other people in unique and profound ways. For me, it is a true guiding force.

Carly Erickson, Licensing Administrator
As a human being, I have always struggled with empathy. Sometimes I can’t understand why people can’t see the right answer or make the choice to do the right thing when it seems to be staring them right in the face. I am thankful for theatre because it has been my greatest teacher of empathy. It holds me a to a higher standard – it shows me how to trust, sympathize, understand, and accept. It introduces me to people I’ve never met in circumstances I will never face and it expects – demands – compassion in return. The more I love theatre, the more it loves me back by showing me just how many opportunities there are to embrace each other and live, every day, with empathy.

David Kimple, Licensing Manager
Despite guffawing at the idea of being able to pull off the “old” age of 35 (BAH!) when I was just a bright 23 years old, playing Hannay in The 39 Steps still lives on as a tentpole of my personal theatrical past. Working on a show like this with the brilliant company at Bristol Valley Theater helped me to realize some of the things I love and appreciate most about theatre: playfulness, quality over quantity, good people (the best people), Wild Turkey Rare Breed, and laughter strong enough to take us away from it all. This one will forever have a special place in my heart and every time we license it I beam with excitement for those who are getting the same opportunity.

Coryn Carson, Marketing Associate – Products
I’m thankful for theatre because it is nice to see your feelings and thoughts expressed on stage, and to know you aren’t the only person on earth who has thought this way, felt this feeling, or wanted to talk about it. It’s like a giant hug from the Universe, letting you know there are people on this journey with you.

Samantha Cooper, Licensing Representative
Ever since I donned my first “costume” (a white dress slip) at a very young age and danced around my living room with reckless abandon, I knew the arts would be a sanctuary for me. Throughout my life, in moments major and minor, theatre has been my home away from home. It’s the place where I’ve met the best people, built the best friendships, been comforted, been challenged, and been loved. It’s a place where I’ve sobbed heavy tears, laughed until my gut hurt, interrogated my own beliefs, and learned to raise our voices loud. Theatre is magical; it’s a place of many worlds, stories, and different people. It is a place that offers so much room to grow. And theatre, certainly, is the place where I’ve done the most growing up. I am ever thankful for theatre because it teaches me something new about myself, about others, and about the world every single day.

Jonah Rosen, Royalty Administration
I am grateful for Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods.  It wasn’t the first piece of musical theatre I ever saw or heard, but it was my first theatrical obsession.  I listened to the cassette tape and watched the VHS until I memorized every song, every line of dialogue…every moment in the woods.  I think I could still perform a one-man version today. This show gave me a sort of musical home, and entry into a world I’ve been exploring for 30 years.

Courtney Kochuba, Marketing Manager – Social Media & Community
For many of us, theatre is an outlet. A place where we feel welcomed, a place where we belong, a place where we find our family. But as the years go by, and my experience with theatre deepens, I’ve found that it’s more than all of that. Theatre, for me, is a lifeline. It provides an experience that cannot truly be captured by words on a page. Where else can you experience emotions at their fullest level, or be introduced to a completely new perspective on life, or better yet, utilize this art form to better the world? It’s magical and enriching. It’s life-changing and beautiful. It’s, simply, theatre.

Nikki Przasnyski, Professional Licensing Representative
I sat down to Will Eno’s Wakey, Wakey this spring not knowing anything about the play, and I left laughing, sobbing and (spoiler) popping bubbles. Wakey, Wakey did something that art rarely does, but that (in my opinion) only art can do: it touched me personally while making me feel inextricably connected to everyone and everything else.

In Wakey, Wakey, Eno’s “Guy” sits in a wheelchair, affably trying to sum up life in its entirety before he dies. What sounds like a depressing, or worse, cliché, way to spend 90 minutes is, in Eno’s piece funny, joyful, universal and utterly personal.

Ten years ago, I was in the room when my father died. Before Wakey, Wakey, I had never seen the simultaneously mundane and transcendent experience of witnessing the end of someone’s life captured so completely. Walking out into the lobby, I cracked open the fortune cookie I got of the show’s finale and read the words “Go easy on yourself.” My dad was speaking directly to me via cookie. It didn’t make sense, but it was happening.

This is why I’m thankful for theatre: it reminds us that, in Eno’s words, “Certain feelings are not to be answered with thoughts.”