BWW Blog: Libby Servais of Transcendence Theatre Company's 'Broadway Under the Stars' - WITNESS UGANDA and Community Events
Along with the wonderful Broadway Under the Stars concerts that we have at TTC, we also had a tremendous week of other special events including our third Guest Artist concert, Inspiration Initiative Day and our final Skits Under the Stars night. All of these events happened on our days off from the Music of the Night concerts and I feel tremendously inspired by it all. Looking at my calendar this past week made me slightly nervous that I wouldn't have enough time to fit everything in but actually it was all accomplished and enjoyed at the same time. For me, this was an excellent reminder that we are all capable of taking on SO much more than our minds might normally think. There is not a single second to waste with all of life's beauty at our fingertips. That's truly how every delicious day is at TTC. Satisfyingly full.
On Tuesday evening, TTC welcomed our third stellar artist series performance of "Witness Uganda." This award-winning and Broadway bound, new musical, shared a thrilling concert version of the musical at the amazing Atwood Ranch and TTC audiences loved them! The story of Witness Uganda and it's magnificent creators, Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews are beyond INCREDIBLE! The show documents Griffin's journey from NYC to Uganda, where he was planning to build village schools. Along his journey he met a wandering group of orphaned teenagers who would change his life forever. Through it all, he questions his life purpose and discovers the potential to change the world. The story is primal and heartfelt- I also believe that it's delivering an extremely important message for our world today. The score is absolutely amazing!!!! Griffin and Matt had a few of us TTC artists sing with them in their "Bella Musana" number which was such an honor. After leaping into standing ovations, our audiences were excited and grateful to gather for a talk-back after the concert with the two of them. Some fun facts about Witness Uganda include that they recently had their world premier at the American Repertory Theatre under the direction of Tony Winner, Diane Paulus. The show is also the recipient of the 2012 and 2014 Richard Rogers Award for Musical Theatre. I am so excited for them as they prepare to head to Broadway in the Spring of 2015....where I'll proudly be howling and clapping them on from the audience!
On Wednesday, the Transcendence Artists had another Inspiration Initiative community engagement day. We shared an unforgettable experience at the Adobe House, memory care center in Petaluma, CA where we put on a heartfelt show for the residents there. Many of the residents sang along with us, danced the YMCA with us, clapped along during the 50's medley and were equally as engaged with us as we were with them. Afterwards, we able to mingle with them and I overheard a woman say to Freddie Kimmel, "Thank you for loving me."....My heart nearly exploded with emotions-- this is why we do what we do! Many of the residents were wiping tears away as we approached them. A gentle, soft spoken elderly woman named Patricia held my hand as I kneeled next to her chair in the front row. She whispered that music is healing and thanked me for taking the time to heal her that morning. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "never stop healing, my dear." I could instantly feel tears swelling up in my eyes. Yes, we may have given those residents joy but what they shared with us is something that is deeply indescribable. Thank you, Adobe House!
The third event of the week was our community open mic night, "Skits Under the Stars." This was our final one of the season, held at the fabulous Muscardini Cellars. My fellow integrative artists, Rachel Louise Thomas, Eric Jackson and myself planned this one to be a Hawaiian Luau theme. We had quite a creatively silly time with this one...we even had a hula hoop contest with TTC merchandise and a Pineapple for the prize . We also translated and performed Kander and Ebb's "Willkommen" in Hawaiian. There was such a great number of community members eager to perform that we ended up going an hour and a half over the normal scheduled time. It was sort of an epic Skits Under the Stars evening. Community members performed a variety of acts including tap dance trios, juggling wine bottles, original songs on guitars, poetry readings and fantastic musical solo's. Many of our TTC artists sang together or with community members as well. One of my favorite moments was when Morgan Karr and community member Bob Skinner sang a beautiful duet together. I also loved turning pages for a young girl named Bella who sang Popular-- a future Glina perhaps! :) My ultimate favorite was when Nicolas Dromard played a classical concerto on his flute...I've been friends with Nic for several years now (we did Wicked together a few years back) and not once was I informed that he was such a skilled flutist. Watching this surprise talent made me extremely happy!
I'm so grateful that we have this weekend still to share the inspirational "Music of the Night" concert with audiences....AND my family will be here!!!! They're flying in from Ohio and I'm beyond excited to see them and for them to experience the magic here in Sonoma, California!
Happy community members after their Skits Under the Stars performance.
Five of our guys singing a Rat Pack medley at the Adobe House.
Witness Uganda at TTC
Witness Uganda at Atwood Ranch. Photo by Melania Mahoney.
From This Author Guest Blogger: Libby Servais