Thoughts on this week

It’s been a terrible week for me, as I know it has for many of us across the country. I have had a difficult time focusing my attention on work, on my family, on anything except this terrible election outcome. It is a dangerous time to be female, gay, Jewish, brown, black, disabled, an immigrant, a Muslim, or anything but a cisgendered straight white male. All of us in my office fit into one or more of those categories. And most of our fellow Americans do as well. We’re scared, we’re confused, we’re stunned and we’re pissed. And we’re each of us a target.

On the other hand… we are so lucky that we have this job to come to every day. Our mission has never been more successful than it has in 2016, nor more essential than it will be in 2017. We have fought for inclusion and representation on the stages that bear our casting credit and we have won many of those battles, and we will KEEP winning. Every day we get to come to the greatest city in the world and direct our energies toward creating art that will spread the message of love and hope and inclusion and kindness across ALL of the country.

I spoke to a colleague about this last night who shared with me her fear and sadness about the cast of RENT traveling to a deep red state. “These beautiful souls, spreading a message of love, people of color, queer people of color, in the middle of a state that hates people like them and loves guns.” The thing my colleague is holding onto right now is that we in the arts get to be a beacon of love and kindness and tolerance around the country. “And there,” they went on, “in the audience in West Virginia, are all these little blue dots.” I know some of those blue dots — I went to college in Winchester, VA, just 15 minutes from the WV border. Many of the kids in my school were from there. Little queer boys and girls in the middle of nowhere, singing and dancing and hiding from bullies, some in their own immediate family. Finally in college they were able to open up and be themselves, and all because of the arts.

Hold on to that thought as you wake up every work day. We are the beacon. We will be driven and inspired by the themes of our shows: optimism, kindness, empowerment, family & friends, and love. And We Shall Overcome.

Let’s get back to work!

With love and hope,

Joy Dewing CSA