This Summer I got the honor and privilege of directing a musical for youth ages 8-17. I had a fantastic artistic team. I have to give my high praises to my vocal director, Andrew Mondello, as the musical I chose was mostly music and everything ended up sounding so beautiful. What I enjoy most about working with youth in the arts is exposing them to new material, taking them through an artistic process, and helping them to create and tell a story. I believe if I commit to these things our work will be that much stronger and we will have a great product to showcase. My main focus was definitely the process and I had such an honor of working with such talented and willing group of young actors. I chose to do Once on This Island Jr., which is one of those great musicals you've never heard of. It deals with heavy material such as poverty, race, culture, love, and death. The maturity and willingness of these young actors was truly inspiring. I am beyond grateful for all their work and dedication. The audience feedback was incredible!
"This was an amazing experience for my daughter. I so admire that Salim found a musical that is not widely known, is mostly singing, has a complicated message and a variety of challenging parts -- and he did an incredible job!! My daughter already wants to sign up for whatever musical Salim directs next summer!"
In addition to directing, I got myself back into performing this Summer and have traveled the bay area monkeying around in the production of Five Little Monkey's. From our first table read it was such a gleeful experience sitting on the other side of table as a performer again, since I've recently got more into being a part of the production team. The cast has been such a pleasure to work with. Director Karen Altree Piemme has brought together an ensemble of actors who not only takes their art with respect, but also who cares so much of their cast-mates and their production quality. It truly has been an honor working with this cast.
Finally, I spent the past two-weeks assistant directing a production of Doctor Dolittle Jr., and what a fantastic experience it has been. Once again, these kids truly have a passion for their work and have shared so many inspiring stories and moments with us. They even wrote paragraphs and shared their experiences of injustice, cruelty, and discrimination to show their dedication to truly be vulnerable on stage. Their presentations were so humbling and uplifting. I can't wait to see what comes of their final product on opening night!
I have spent my entire summer working approximately 40 hours week with evening rehearsals and performing on the weekends. People constantly ask me how I can work so much, but it truly doesn't feel like work. It's more like I got to play all summer long with people who share the same interests.
I am blessed to say that the happiness continues and will go beyond 100 days.
This is has truly been an inspiring, amazing, fun-filled summer, and one I will never forget.
How was your summer? :)
I challenge you share something positive you did.