Hi lovelies!! 🙂 Hope everyone’s feeling amazing this week! I’ve been living on cloud9 with all things Fit for Broadway Apparel. Your support has been everything!! Thank you for all of your sweet notes…I’m feeling, living, breathing the love love love from the FFB tribe! I will be back on track with regular posting next week- yummy recipes, tips & tricks… the whole shebang! Maybe even a Vlog?! Any topic ideas or questions? (click the comment button at the top of this post to let me know) 🙂
I received an email a few weeks ago from a super stellar human, Tyler McKenzie, who is performing a concert next week that I want to share with y’all! I’m so inspired by Tyler’s story and determination to shake off his fears and create something seriously inspiring! Apart from his concert being a total roar of courage, it’s fundraising for an amazing foundation called The Trevor Project, which we’ll dive into in the Q&A. Tyler is a beautiful example of courage and dream chasing which I love to celebrate here on FFB!! 🙂
Hope to see some of you there! If you live outside of NYC, you can still donate to The Trevor Project HERE.
A: I’m horrible at this but of course! Well, I grew up on Long Island, so native New Yorker here! But after moving to North Carolina, I was quickly immersed in the theatre scene in high school. I saw people moving in such beautiful ways on stage and NEEDED to be a part of that art so I immediately started my dance training (I got a pretty late start!). I competed and took class daily. College was where I truly started blending it all together where I was training to be a triple threat. After graduation (Go Western Carolina U Class of 13!), I hit the road with MAMMA MIA! for an almost 9 month US/Canada tour. That led to joining the Broadway company the following summer as a Vacation Swing where I learned all of the male ensemble tracks and made my Broadway debut. I ended my MAMMA MIA story in Bogotà, Colombia. It was a year and a half of ABBA tunes :-). I recently completed a rewarding 8 months singing & dancing at sea.
Q: What’s the creation story behind this show?
A: It began with me on the floor of my little cabin on a massive ship feeling like I wasn’t doing anything creatively fulfilling. I’ve always had dreams and thoughts about doing a solo concert but I didn’t feel “famous” or “good” enough. I was letting my assumptions that other people wouldn’t approve of this idea get in the way. I think we all have our fair share of negative energy and experiences with other people that we can’t seem to let go of – AND IT TRULY GETS IN THE WAY OF OUR PROGRESSIVE WORK. I decided then and there on that floor, rocking back and forth with the ocean, that I wasn’t going to let things like that stop me anymore. I started writing down song ideas, messaging people I was hoping to be part of it, doing my research, contacting friends who have done it before, asking questions, and just sitting and envisioning what I would consider to be my dream debut concert. And every time any internal or external negative thoughts or energy occurred, I just flooded myself with quotes and affirmations that I could FREAKIN’ do this!
Q: A portion of the proceeds from the concert go towards The Trevor Project. Can you explain their mission and why it’s close to your heart?
A: I have actually worked with The Trevor Project a few times. On tour, we did cabarets in a few cities and raised money that benefitted this incredible organization. It was an easy decision to choose an organization that serves as a hotline for troubled LGBTQ youth. They have saved so many lives with crisis intervention & suicide prevention. I respect what they do so much and I thought, well I can’t possibly do something as big as this organization, but I can serve as an example of someone who is guilty of letting other people’s thoughts get in the way of me being a total badass. The Trevor Project, in their own way, definitely tells youth “forget the cool kids, and turn to us if you need a hand, because you’re not alone.”
Q: I’m so inspired by you… you wanted to express your creativity in a new way and you created such a beautiful way to integrate a foundation that is doing amazing work! What’s your advice for performers who want to express their talent in a non-conventional approach?
A: Oooh. Good word! I think a majority of performers who move to the major market cities (i.e NYC, Chicago, LA, ATL, etc.) discover very quickly that if you try to be anyone but yourself, it never works. But even when we make that discovery, we are still so obsessed with what other people are thinking from the sidelines. Being artistically vulnerable – is so scary sometimes. You HAVE to let that go. Obviously, I’m still learning and training myself. This concert is only the first step for me. And that’s coming from someone who has performed on a stage in front thousands of ABBA fans. As I get closer to the date, there is probably one thing each day that happens and I think “what I am doing? who do I think I am? I shouldn’t do this concert!”. But then the light shines through whether it’s a fantastic first rehearsal with a kick-ass band, my guest vocalists just happen to blend with me so beautifully, or Jane Jourdan from #FitForBroadway calls. Like… You ALL are supposed to be out there kicking your face, no matter what anyone thinks. So go do it – you got this! Forget them!
Q: Quote to live by….
A: I have an entire file folder of them but… “If you do the absolute best you possibly can, and come from a place of integrity, then you can be proud of yourself and say Bye Felicia to what anyone else thinks.” Also “You are the only YOU that will ever be.” I get a lot of my quotes and affirmations from a fantastic book You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero – Changed my life and still does!
Q: What’s your favorite song of the show and why?
A: “Advice to Young Firefly” written by the sensational contemporary musical theatre duo Carner & Gregor. The message is so strong and sometimes we need an imaginative picture, like a firefly who is afraid of shining his light, to truly believe that we are indeed good enough.
LOVE THIS!! 🙂 Let’s all be fireflies!! – J.
Q: Ok, so I’m definitely coming, where can readers buy tickets to the show?!
A: I’m so excited to see you there! 🙂 The show is actually at The West End Lounge and there are no advanced ticket sales. You pay a $10 cover charge (or more for donation!) at the door which goes to The Trevor Project. There is a $15 food/beverage minimum which supports the awesome venue. It’s going to be a fun and intimate night. I’m excited to talk, sing, (and maybe dance) with you guys!
Q: Finish the hashtag.
A: Forget the Cool Kids will be… #conversation.