BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their Pets

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BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their PetsWelcome to BACKSTAGE PETS, where upstate SC theatre artists share photos of their most loyal fans - their pets.

Theatre Artist: Christian and Jenna Elser

Featured Roles: Respectively, the Executive Director and Artistic Director of Glow Lyric Theatre, a professional vocal arts company in Greenville that produces works of opera and musical theatre


Tell us about your pets.

We have two fur babies, Bubbers, our rescue papillon, and Kiko, our rescue American short hair.

Bubbers was rescued from a hoarder house (they were hoarding animals and objects). BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their PetsHe's 11, and just recovered from a major back surgery (hooray!). Our vet definitely seems to think that Bubbers is a little "special" - that's a euphemism for the weirdest dog she's ever met. He's introverted, makes monkey sounds, is anxious about everything (especially ceiling fans- he thinks they are spiders), he loves Indian food (but his butt doesn't), his favorite snacks are potato chips, cat poop and dried up sidewalk worms (we call them worm chips), he's afraid of small children, paper bags, and silverware, he prefers to be friends with cats over other dogs, he loves routine, walkies, his mombie, licking daddy's toes, and constantly wants you to know that he has a belly. He has memorized the sound of the oven timer and goes crazy when it beeps. He secretly loves warm baths. If you are upset or crying, he will go pee in the kitchen. He knows two tricks: sit and shake, and will do them constantly whenever there is food around, whether you've commanded him to or not. And, HE SINGS. SERIOUSLY!

BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their PetsKiko the cat was abandoned by one of our neighbors. He started joining us and Bubbers on our nightly walks, and decided to adopt us 6 years ago (aka he just walked into our house one day and curled up on the couch). He and Bubbers were best friends until Bubs decided to become a jealous freak. Before Kiko became a fully indoor kitty, he was a crazy hunter and used to bring his mother a lizard every morning, and then graduated to mice, birds and baby bunnies, which he would display at his mothers' feet. Unfortunately his outdoor life was cut short when he got side swiped by a car, and now he's "in jail" (his words, not ours), as an indoor kitty. While he claims his life is ruined, he pays no rent, eats out of a self-feeder, drinks out of a running faucet, has a special MEMORY FOAM window seat with a view of our bird feeder, and gets his poop scooped on the daily. He has an entire basket of toys (all of them noisy) and a $150 cat tree that he thinks is boring. When dinner time comes, he'll sit at an empty chair as if waiting to be served. He loves water and wants to take showers with you. He insists on cat treats every night at 11pm. He thinks the garage is outside. He will "inCATpacitate" you by sitting on your legs for hours on end. He "biscuits" us for hours while we are sleeping (kneads on our arms). He likes under-the-chin scratches, curling up near the fire, trying to eat feet, and licking sticks of butter.

What are you doing to stay sane and engaged during quarantine?BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their Pets

We are still working our jobs from home currently. Christian is teaching voice lessons online for Presbyterian College, and I'm still full time for Glow, keeping things afloat. We've been taking lots of walks, sitting on our porch drinking cocktails, catching up on Netflix, doing lots of spring cleaning, and learning how to play new games (we just conquered dominoes). Jenna is burning through tons of books, baking yummy things, and working on some creative writing projects. Christian is having fun playing with his Roland DS88 synthesizer, cooking every meal, and watching documentaries about things that bore Jenna (war or auto-racing).

Any quarantine self-care tips you can share?

BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their PetsWe've been in a competition to see how long both of us can go without putting on real pants, and right now, quarantine calories don't count. In all seriousness, we are using this time to log what's really important to us, and what we are doing that is making us happy and fulfilled, because we want to give more space in our lives to those things when the quarantine passes.

What theatre work are you most looking forward to returning to once this is all over?

Well, right now, we are still in the midst of preparing for Glow's 10th Anniversary Season for this July 11-August 2. We are taking things day by day, as updates on this virus change hour by hour. One thing that has really kept us positive are the Couch Concerts that we're doing with Glow, which are mini-concerts sung by past Glow performers on BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their Petstheir couches. It's a nice reminder that we are all still connected even though we are isolated from each other. In general, we take a lot of hope from the fact that people are turning to the arts to help them cope and ease the pain, grief and confusion this pandemic is causing. We can't wait to get back out there and support all the amazing arts organizations in the Upstate, but for now, we are counting on the power of the arts (even if they are digital) to keep us empathetic and uplifted.

How are your pets helping you cope?BWW Backstage Pets: Glow Lyric Theatre's CHRISTIAN AND JENNA ELSER and Their Pets

Quite honestly, it's nice to be around other beings who are completely unaware of the crises we are undergoing. They are so in the moment and find joy in small things. The fact that they need routine and we have to care for them, keeps us going when it seems really hopeless. Spending this much time with them, we have discovered even more things that we love about them...it's like we are seeing them with fresh eyes. Also, they are GREAT napping buddies.


You can support Glow by making a donation on their website.

Couch Concerts are posted Tues/Thurs at 12 EDT on their Facebook page.


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From This Author Neil Shurley