In 2018, I was deeply charged by Women’s Day On Broadway and wrote about it for OnStage Blog. I learned that nearly 70% of Broadway audiences are made up of female-identifying patrons but only 17% of those productions have women at the helm. This statistic shocked and ignited me. The Women’s Day symposium and more recently, Rachel Chavkin’s speech following her Best Director Tony win, are among the driving forces behind Changemakers: A Celebration of Women and StateraArts. I admire those who seek change and do not accept the status quo. Women who take action and use their platform to advocate for greater representation both on and off the stage are among those to be featured in this event on August 22 at The Green Room 42.
There will be never-told-before tales of sisterhood, mentorship, challenges, and overcoming adversity. These personal stories will lead into songs crossing various musical genres. We’ve got pop, folk, some musical theater, original songs, and even a Celtic trio! I’m also very jazzed that actor, activist, and mother Rachel Spencer Hewitt will lead a panel talk on the Parent Artist Advocacy League, an organization she founded that creates family-friendly practices in the theater. Ms. Hewitt will engage in dialogue with some surprise guests!
Tony-nominated Lyricist/Composer and award-winning performer Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody) will appear and three-time SAG Award winner Dale Soules, widely-known as inmate Frieda Berlin on Orange Is The New Black, will host. The diverse cast also includes: Lianah Sta. Ana (Miss Saigon), Gina Naomi Baez (She's Gotta Have It), Alison Lea Bender (We So Hapa), Emily Borromeo (Broadway Bounty Hunter), Galway Girls (feat. Meredith Beck, Janice Landry and Caitlin McKechney), Carly Kincannon (America's Sweethearts), Liisi LaFontaine (Dreamgirls), Kara Lindsay (Newsies), Jennifer Lorae (Hard Times), Andrea Prestinario (Side Show, Jeff Award), Kristine Reese (Finding Neverland), Hannah Rose (Olay Live!), Talia Suskauer (Be More Chill), America's Sweethearts (feat. Amanda Lea LaVergne, Annemarie Rosano and Sarah Stevens), and Aurelia Williams (Once On This Island)
I selected Statera Mentorship as the beneficiary of Changemakers for two reasons: I first met Executive Director Melinda Pfundstein at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 2005. She was a well-established leading lady, and I really looked up to her. Fast forward to 2016, when I joined Statera’s pilot mentorship program and found it so rewarding to mentor an early-career individual. The word Statera, stemming from balance, also resonates with me. There are so many women in the Statera community who thrive in their professional lives but also create and nurture families of their own. I aspire to be one of them.