Bay Area Premier of "Leni"

Today, I'm off to California's Bay Area for the opening weekend of my play Leni currently in production at Aurora Theatre Company. I began writing this play in 2002 and completed the current version in 2006. You can read more about the play HERE.

Director Jon Tracy was interviewed about Leni this week on KDFC's State of the Arts. You can listen HERE. Also, Oakland Magazine featured the production this week with an article HERE. I'll be away from the blog for a few days, but in the meantime, wish me luck! I'm so excited to see this new incarnation!



Martha Brigham (left) and Stacy Ross (right). Photo by David Allen.


Statera Foundation Kickstarter ART Giveaway

Hello dear readers! As you know, I'm the Creative Director of Statera Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to gender equity in the theatre arts. Our foundation is hosting a Kickstarter campaign through the month of June and we're already half way to our goal of $10,000. Please take a look at the campaign site to see our video and learn more about our efforts for gender balance in the arts.

Here's the exciting part. When you donate this this very grounded and worthy effort, your name will be entered to win an original art commission by me! Yes! When you win, you and I will collaborate on a piece of 16x20 or 18x18 inch artwork especially for you and your space! Donate today and help us make big national change for gender justice and equity for theatre artists everywhere!




Gender Equity is Possible

Here's a crazy statistic: The 1908-1909 Broadway season saw 12.8% of plays written by women. Fast forward 104 years to the 2012-13 Broadway season, which saw only 10% of plays by female playwrights. LESS representation over a century - not more.

Many of you know that I'm the Creative Director for Statera Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to gender equity in the theatre. Statera is working to change these dismal statistics. Today we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 for our upcoming conference on gender parity in Denver, Colorado. We're also raising money for our advocacy initiatives and programming.

Gender equity in the arts is possible. You can help by donating to our Kickstarter campaign and sharing on social media!‪ Check out the video below and please consider donating HERE.


Statera Conference | Gender Parity in the Arts



As many of you know, I'm the Creative Director for Statera Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving women in the theatre. We are hosting our first conference next week in Cedar City, Utah. If you are an actor, director, technician, stage manager, arts administrator, arts educator or women's advocate, please join me at conference. It's going to be life changing! You can get all of the details HERE and see our incredible line-up of speakers and facilitators HERE.

While regular registration is closed, there are still a few slots left and late registration is available right now! Register today by following the link below:





INAUGURAL STATERA CONFERENCE | JUL 31 - AUG 2, 2015 

Join us for the inaugural Statera Conference 2015 in Cedar City, Utah from July 31 to August 2, 2015. Meet with theater professionals from all over the country for three days of networking, socializing, experience-sharing, theatre-going and more! The Statera conference is all about gender balance and our goal is to take action to bring women into full and equal participation in the American theatre.

The goal of Statera Conference:

The goal of the Statera conference is to take action to bring women into full and equal participation in the American theatre. We will gather to initiate and support action by individuals, organizations and institutions whose stated goal is to work towards gender balance in the arts.

Why are we meeting in Cedar City, Utah? 

We have strategically chosen to meet in the center of the country as a way of engaging both coasts as well as the wide swath of regional theaters scattered across the states. Cedar City, nestled in the middle region of the country, is called Festival City for good reason. The rich arts community is in the midst of great growth with the building of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, which will include the Southern Utah Museum of Art as well as the new outdoor Engelstad Theatre at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Cedar City is also home to the Neil Simon Festival, Off the Cuff Improv Center and various art galleries, with access to Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in just a short drive. Cedar City's great artistic growth make it the perfect place for Statera's inaugural conference.

Who will be there? 

We're excited to announce that Mary McColl, Executive Director of Actors' Equity Association, will be giving our keynote address. You'll also have the opportunity to attend small group breakout sessions moderated by noted professionals, attend world class theater at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and network with people from every corner of the theater profession. The conference is open to men and women alike: administrators, designers, educators, technicians, advocates, spouses, etc. The goal of this conference is to initiate and support action by individuals, organizations and institutions whose stated goal is to work towards gender balance in the arts. All are welcome!

Closing Night at the Utah Shakespeare Festival

Last night saw the closing performance of "Sense and Sensibility". It was a tearful goodbye. I have absolutely loved every one of our 36 performances and could happily continue doing this show forever.

Today is also my final matinee for "Into the Woods". The summer season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival is over today and most of the actors will return home to Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Washington DC, Dallas and beyond. The plays were marvelous, but the thing I will miss most is the spectacular company of actors and technicians. Never again will this wonderful group of people be reconstituted. I have nothing but love, gratitude and appreciation for the summer I'm leaving behind.





Here are some of my back stage snapshots as 
Lady Middleton from "Sense and Sensibility".




And here are some snapshots from my time as 
Granny (and the Giant and Cinderella's Mother) in "Into the Woods".




I will miss these two ladies.




Backstage at "Into the Woods"

Today, I wanted to share a little back stage look from the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  I took these photos during an intermission of "Into the Woods" this week. Since Utah Shakes is a repertory company, this backstage space also houses two other sets. This year it's "Twelfth Night" and "Sense & Sensibility".

I love being backstage and wanted some photos to remember this experience, as it is so different from the front-of-house experience. This dark, beautiful, transitional space is well known to technicians and actors, but less known to audiences. So today - a little peek at where I've been spending most of my summer hours.


















Blog Doldrums

Hi friends. I realized this week that working full time and odd hours while taking care of two small children does not mix well with regular blogging. My apologies for the gaps in posts. While it is always my full intention to every weekday, I have fallen short.

Life, however, has been full to the brim with wonderful work in the theater, auditions for upcoming seasons, time with my family, birthdays, visits from extended family and general summer-time merry making. Most of my free hours are spent on stage or in the room pictured below. I have four weeks left in my contract and then I'll be home in Dallas. Until then, I hope to get back to my beloved blog very soon.



Opening Day at the Utah Shakespeare Festival

Its finally here! This week, we open our shows at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Today will be the opening performances of "Into the Woods" and "The Comedy of Errors". My husband and I are both in "Into the Woods", he as Cinderella's semi-drunk, absent father and me as Red Riding Hood's Granny, the Giant and also Cinderella's Mother. I am over the moon to be a part of this beautiful production and this stellar cast. Here are some production shots of our show followed by my own back stage photos from Instagram. Here we go!


Production photos taken by Karl Hugh.


Actors pictured in the above photos: 
Tina Scariano, James Sanders, Bree Murphy, Brian Vaughn, Melinda Pfundstein, 
Bri Sudia, Natasha Harris, Molly Wetzel, Jack Greenman, Deanna Ott, Misty Cotton, 
Peter Saide, Samantha Allred, Kyle Eberlein, Jason Michael Spelbring.



Ready to take the stage during our last preview performance...




Granny, as designed and rendered by the very talented Bill Black...




Probably the coolest prop I've ever held onstage: the skull of the Big Bad Wolf...


Final Dress | Sense & Sensibility

Tonight is our final dress rehearsal for Sense & Sensibility at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. We begin preview performances for paying audiences at the beginning of next week! Here's a look at my costumes for the show:





I cannot tell you how much fun it is to have a beautiful period costume, created from the ground up, just for me. Even my wedding dress didn't fit this well! The designers, artisans and crafts-people in the costume shop at USF are mind-bogglingly talented. This show is going to be so beautiful. Wish us luck!


And here is a production shot from last night's rehearsal:

Pictured with me are Bri Sudia (center) and Cassandra Bissell.



Sense & Sensibility | First Dress

Tonight is our first dress for Sense & Sensibility at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I always love seeing the actors in costume for the first time. No matter how much you prepare for a role, it can never really be complete without the costume. And when the story takes place in another era, as does Sense & Sensibility, the transformation is usually even bigger. Tonight, the Regency Era will reign supreme in a parade of beautiful gowns and dapper waist coats. Wish us luck tonight. We rehearse today and again on Friday. This adaptation is a world premier and opens on June 24 - a week from today!











Here's a little bit about our production from director and adaptor, Joe Hanreddy.

Into the Woods | Utah Shakespeare Festival

I spent most of yesterday in a dark theater in technical rehearsals for "Sense & Sensibility". A tech rehearsal is when the producers, stage managers and directors collaborate to add all of the technical elements of a show: lights, sound, music (sometimes in the form of a live orchestra), props, scenery, costumes and storytellers. Today, I begin tech for my second show "Into the Woods", where I play Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother, the Giant from Jack and the Beanstalk and Cinderella's Mother (an apparition who appears at the base of a Hazel Tree).

I've have loved working on this Sondheim musical. The cast is outstanding, the music is sublime and the direction is lovely. The show has also got me thinking about fairytales and their origins. Most of them come into being well before the Brother's Grimm decided to write them down. I love the dark undercurrent and the sense of real and gruesome danger that awaits the characters. Sondheim's telling is very entertaining, but it also strikes at the core of what it means to be human in a world that doesn't always end "happily ever after".







For information about this production and the many others on offer 
this summer at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, click HERE




Regency Era Fashion

I'm currently in rehearsals for a staged adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Yesterday, I had a fitting in the costume shop and had an opportunity to see the shape and feel of the dresses I'll be wearing in this production. I haven't had a dress built for me in decades. It's a luxury to stand in front of a skilled designer and a team of talented craftspeople who are creating a dress perfectly suited to your own size and shape. Dreamy.

For all of you Austen buffs out there, I am playing Lady Middleton - a small role largely unregarded by readers. She is the wife of Sir John and the daughter to the more lively Mrs. Jennings. While she wasn't a large enough presence to make it into the Ang Lee film version (1995), she is nevertheless, an important part of establishing the story's social order. I love her. And mostly, I can't wait to wear her dresses! The following regency era fashion plates are French rather than English, but you get the idea.







"Know your own happiness.
Want for nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name:
call it hope."

-Jane Austen, Sense & Sensibility


Balancing Act

If you've been reading in the past week, you know that my husband and I have just upended our family for the summer and taken acting jobs at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. It's a funny thing to leave your normal routine for the strange and wonderful undertaking of making theater.

Life has completely shifted in the past week. At home in Dallas I was packing lunches, tending my garden, attending PTA meetings, painting in my studio, completing art commissions and writing home tour articles for Houzz in the margins. Now in Cedar City I'm attending character meetings with my directors, sitting for wig fittings, memorizing lines and blocking, researching back story, learning new dialects, singing at and above my range and understudying multiple roles in addition to my own.

Most of the other actors are here for the summer alone. They've left their girlfriends and houses and husbands and home lives behind to immerse themselves in this world. I'm slightly jealous. The time is their own and they can do with it as they please. Their's is a more streamlined process. All the while, my children are with me, at my feet, in my lap, in my arms, wanting to read and play and cuddle and cry and eat and sleep and be mothered. I certainly don't wish to be separated from them. In fact, they bring their own special light to this process. But it's clear now that I must be patient with myself. My lines and lyrics might come a bit slower, my voice might be less warm, my mind a bit more scattered, my body a bit rounder, my energy a bit softer. But I'm confident that while my acting process has become a little more fluid than I'd like, my work as story teller will be solid and thoughtful and beautifully crafted. I just might need a little more coffee than my fellow actors.






All photos from Instagram. Follow along!

Music on the Mind

These past 8 days have been spent in rehearsals at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I have been feverishly learning music and lyrics for Sondheim's "Into the Woods". I've also been memorizing lines for a world premier of "Sense & Sensibility". Both shows are going to be filled with beautiful music. But last night, as I was singing with the cast and taking cues from our freakishly talented musical director, I realized what a gift it is to enjoy and make music. This morning, as I write this, I'm feeling grateful for the many ways that music fills my world.

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The Utah Shakespeare Festival

Hello dear readers. This weekend, my little family and I are headed to Cedar City, Utah. We make this annual pilgrimage to work at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Most years, my husband joins the artistic staff for the rehearsal process as voice and speech coach for the actors. Then we leave when the shows open. But this year, he and I are both joining the acting company for a full 14 week contract!

I guess this is my official return to professional theater. I've had a long break due to the complicated nature of having children. And when Charlie arrived in the summer of 2010 presenting a stroke and Craniosynostisis, I knew that my baby break was going to be much longer than I had anticipated.

I'm happy to say that Charlie is now stable enough for me to jump back in! And what better place to start than at the Tony Award winning Utah Shakespeare Festival? What shows are we doing? Take a look HERE for my casting line-up and HERE for my husband's.


One of the two theaters at USF.



While we are perched at the southern edge of Utah, we have the wonderful Moore family staying in our home. I'd like to tell you a little bit about them. Their son, Wyatt, has a rare genetic disorder called MECP2 Duplication Syndrome - a severe neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by low muscle tone, little or no speech, progressive muscle spasticity, recurrent respiratory infections and seizures.

The Moore's home was built in the 50's and is not equipped to handle Wyatt's 24/7 medical needs. This summer, the Moore Family's home is undergoing a huge remodel. But a big remodel costs money. Please visit Wyatt's "Give Forward" site and help this family re-tool their home! What a great way to pay it forward and drastically improve the day-to-day life of the Moore Family! Go HERE to learn more and support Wyatt.


Thank you all and I'll check back in when I hit Cedar City, UT.


I'm in a play.

Back in the days of dinosaurs I was a stage actor. Then I had babies and moved across the country and lost touch with this prehistoric art form.  But this week, I'm returning to the stage as Rosemary in William Inge's "Picnic".  Its being produced by the Stolen Shakespeare Guild at the Sanders Theater in Fort Worth, Texas.  If you're a DFW area reader interested in attending, you can find information about times and tickets HERE. For those of you who don't know the play, here is the original 1955 trailer of the movie version just for fun.





Nicholas Ross (Hal ) and Connie Kegg (Madge)


Me (Rosemary) and Mark Winter (Howard)



Theater Company Dreams Big

I am of the opinion that you can't call yourself a Bohemian unless you support avant-garde art. If you've been bereft of crazy-amazing art and would like an opportunity to rebel against cookie-cutter entertainment, then here's your chance!

The innovative Barcelona based theater group, "La Pell", has created a passionate and dynamic production of "Tis Pity She's A Whore" by John Ford.  The play was first published in 1633. "La Pell" has created the first EVER Catalan translation for their modern and visceral production. And now they're trying to bring "Tis Pity She's a Whore" to North America! 


"La Pell" has launched a funding campaign (HERE) to bring their entire troupe to Vancouver for an International Theater and Voicework Conference this August. They have been invited to share their techniques, their rehearsal methods and their fully mounted production of "Tis Pity She's A Whore" at the conference!


"La Pell" has set an incredible all-or-nothing goal of raising 16,000 dollars in 30 days! And there are LOTS of way you can support this exciting venture. You can "like" their facebook page HERE.  You can contribute funds in any amount HERE.  You can leave a comment in support for their efforts HERE, which will push their exposure on the fund raising site.  And you can share their fundraising link on Facebook and Twitter. 


Would you like to see some moments from their production?  
Check out the video below:




Inspired? I am. 
 Donate HERE

Do you want to attend the conference? 
Click HERE.

Come to the Cabaret!

What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play. 
Life is a Cabaret, old friend.
Come to the Cabaret.












Tonight at 11pm in Cedar City, Utah at "The Grind"
a group of amazing actors will take to the stage. 

Who are these people? 
They are friends and colleagues of my husband's
who are all working at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
They are doing a cabaret to benefit Help Charlie Heal


Come to the Cabaret!

Sarah Saw Something

Time for another weekly installment of Sarah Saw Something, where I share little bits and bobs that I found interesting in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy!


 I want THIS rug from Modern Chic Design.  It has my favorite colors in a beautiful organic peacock pattern.  Perfect for any room in my abode! 




Brilliant blogger and thrift store expert, Mr. Goodwill Hunting, was on the Nate Berkus Show!  He did a living room makeover in one day with a 300 dollar budget.  Congrats Rashon! I watched a video of the show HERE.
 




La La Lovely has a new site.  Time to update your blogrolls.  See it HERE.






I was blown away by this amazing video of Nina Simone singing and playing piano live.  What an artist!  What a force of nature!  (Watch the whole thing, its really worth it.)





And on the local scene:  If you are in or near the Dallas area, you only have one more week to see Dallas Theater Center's haunting and beautiful production of Cabaret.  Its a stunner.  I went to see my friend, Wade McCollum, who was brought in from NYC to play the roll of the Emcee.  His performance is spectacular, sinister and deeply moving.  Click HERE for details.

Theater is Not Dead

I am mesmerized by the photography work of Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.  They are masters at capturing a bygone era by photographing cultural landmarks in a state of ruin.  I am particularly awed by their theater series.  I've peppered this post with photos of theater performances in the era at which these theaters were at their zenith.

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Sarah Bernhardt


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King Lear and his daughters

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The Desperate Hours 1955


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Ethel Barrymore in her dressing room.


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Stage version of A Street Car Named Desire 1947.


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