BWW Blog: Shannon O'Bryan of Transcendence Theatre's 'Broadway Under the Stars' - Oh, What a Life!

Transcendence Theatre Company

Oh, What A Night!!

Oh, What A Night!

Oh, What A Week!

"Oh, What A Life!!"

Wow... I don't even know how to begin to wrap this week into a tiny little package of a blog entry?!? Here at Transcendence Theatre Company, we strive always to live fully in the moment with passion and purpose in order to make every moment the Best Moment EVER! This means that every day is beyond epic and sometimes a challenge to always remain completely present in order to suck every ounce of nectar out of life.

This week we, for the first time, took Transcendence inside at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa. Oh, What A Theatre! We spent all day Tuesday acclimating to the indoors during our technical rehearsal ... it was a bewildering experience for me honestly. I have been performing inside theatre's my whole life, the theatre is my number one love (besides you, honey, of course! ---#manfriendnickdalton #loveofmylife #theluckiest), but I have recently felt incredibly spoiled by Jack London State Park. It is such a gift to be able to fully connect myself as an artist with my deeply rooted love for nature, see the faces of all of the people I am sharing space/ruins with light up in this incredible Broadway Under the Stars experience, to feel that sunset warm on my face while Jack London's words soar in the beautiful nightly breeze cooling me down from all of the excitement of the pre-show picnic and the high-energy dance numbers we do in this show:) Needless to say, it took me all day Tuesday to get used to the inside of a theatre again.

We hear stories every day at Transcendence about how this tribe has saved the park or saved a life or has helped people to heal and smile and feel inspired again or for the first time. Hearing these stories builds a wildfire in us day after day that seems as if it will burst if it isn't let loose in that park, on that stage and in this community. Transcendence is an energy and it is the greatest gift of all to be able to share in that energy with so many magical unicorn people.

Skip ahead to Wednesday, after the most effortless tech process EVER, when our seats were filled by some of the most beautiful souls I have EVER come across. On Wednesday afternoon we did a show for the youth and mentors of our community and the specially abled angels of Sonoma County. This show was beyond special and I loved connecting with all of those Superheroes of Sonoma during and after the show. Perhaps my favorite part of the day was our "Transcendence Connects" event where we worked with kids and their families to create a brand new musical in 30 minutes. Dan "The Man" Mertzlufft lead an amazing activity and simultaneously showed off his incredible musical talents. We first broke up into groups and chose an emotion that we wanted to focus on exploring. We then wrote down what a possible reason for feeling that emotion would be and then shared what we created with the rest of the group. After sharing, Dan gave us the basics of our storyline by marrying all of the different scenarios together and we were given a few minutes to come up with 3 lines of dialogue using our emotion in conjunction with the part of the plot we were assigned. In no time, like magic, we were turning in our new scenes and they were put together in order by our other Transcendence Integrative Artists. And just like that, our 3 sentenced scenes were turned into a full musical. Dan "The Man" hopped on the keys and married his genius musical talents with the given emotions for each scene and Meggie, Nick, and Rachel performed the brand new musical about love, summer days, and Play Station playing talking dogs that have an uncontrollable desire to sing Beach Boys tunes. It was the most fun day EVER and we all left with huge smiles on our faces and freshly painted handprints on our hearts.

The following day, Nick Dalton and I spearheaded a brand new initiative called "Transcendence Salon" based on the old French and Italian Artists Salons of the 17th and 18th Centuries. While mingling out and about in Sonoma over the past few weeks with our Oh, What A Night! cast, we discovered that there was a common thread amongst our artists, and I suppose you could say in the universe as a whole ... the desire to Create. Everyone seemed as though they were working on creating a new work of some kind, and We are certainly always working on creating new shows or dances or programming for arts integration in schools or company culture development programs based in the arts or developing complete utopias for arts and wellness based on giftivism or writing what we hope will one day turn into a book, a movie, etc. (#nickandshannon/Transcendencedreambig). With a definite New Works program on the not-so-distant horizon, we began to reminisce about how artists used to gather together and create pieces or discuss things they had created as individuals and give friendly feedback and assistance in helping the bud of creativity become a reality and touch as many people as possible. Well, this past Thursday we all gathered in a living room and shared and had a magical evening. Dan "The Man" shared selections from his new musical and we all participated in learning some of the music (PS: it was beyond amazing and inspiring); Jessica Lee Coffman shared a song she had written lyrics too, but when turning the lyrics over to one of our other master musical genius', Matt Smart, magic was made as they created a song together seemingly on the spot; Val Salgado shared a video of a beautiful contemporary dance piece she had created; Natalie Fritz and Luis Figueroa each separately shared ideas and dialogue for new Television Series they are developing; Brian Boyce, our drummer, shared a visualization that keeps coming up for him in meditation that we are going to look into creating something based on and then Nick shared a few ideas he has in the works that we will explore more next week. Nick has written an incredible play, a cartoon, and we are working to develop a new work with all of our transcendent company members over the next year that is a bit more hush hush at this point. More on that later...Stay tuned;)

The rest of the week was filled with company wine tastings at Kunde Vineyards (http://www.kunde.com), group meditations overlooking Sonoma Valley, a morning spent at the haven of peace that is the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center (http://www.smzc.net), an afternoon at the incredibly special Sebastiani Theatre (http://www.sebastianitheatre.com) experiencing feelings down my face while watching Inside Out with some of our cast members and musicians, planning for next weeks "Connects" project at the Boys and Girls Club, creating "21 Days of Transcendence" journals to promote a Transcendence Way of Life for our company members and volunteers, getting ready for all of our 4th of July adventures with Sonoma Market, the Ed Foundation, the Stompers and our beloved Impact 100 ladies, and, finally, preparing to start "double duty" with Fantastical Family Night rehearsals beginning this week. We are literally experiencing the "Best Life EVER" (as one of our patrons so perfectly put it) with all of these epic days at Transcendence. I am so grateful for our family here in Sonoma and to be able to call this Valley of the Moon my Home.

Love. Light. Shanti. And, a Happy 4th of July to you All!!

~Shannon O'Bryan (Tink)

PS: The definite best part of the WHOLE WEEK, WHOLE YEAR and perhaps one of the very BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE, also took place this past week on June 26, 2015. We finally, as a nation, decided that from now on, we will experience equality amongst every citizen of our country. I have never felt so proud and relieved. My very best friends, members of my family, and our entire tribe can now truly know that they never have to "Walk Alone" and that they do not have to hide or remain quiet or invisible. We are all Equal. We are all One. We All have an equally important voice. We All Stand together. Grateful beyond the multiverse.


Best Day EVER!! June 26, 2015


Another ugly Sonoma Sunset from Jack London State Park for Gay Pride Day:)


Our awesome kids from the Boys and Girls Club having the BEST DAY EVER at the Wells Fargo Center on June 24, 2015.


Our awesome kids from the Boys and Girls Club having the BEST DAY EVER at the Wells Fargo Center on June 24, 2015.


Best Night Ever


A theatre starting to fill up with super excited kiddos for our matinee in ​the Wells Fargo Center.


Julie Craig and Myself creating our scene with our "Transcendence Connects" group


Dan "The Man" Mertzlufft directing our musical in 30 minutes activity for "Transcendence Connects"


"Transcendence Connects" at the Wells Fargo Center


Nick Dalton and Shannon O'Bryan skipping through the vineyards on our way to the show.

Sing, Sing, Sing in the ruins of Jack London State Park in our first show of the season Oh, What A Night!

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