More than eight years ago now, I graduated from graduate school at the University of Florida armed with a master of fine arts degree. I sold my belongings and moved with two boxes and the clothes I could fit in a suitcase to New York City... a place I always wanted to live. A dream come true for me.
Two days later, I was stepping foot into the administrative offices of MCC Theater for the first time, ready to begin an unpaid internship. I knew not a soul there, the exception being the kind woman named Isabel Sinistore who had hired me after a phone interview. To this day, I am so grateful that she said "yes" to me.
In the four months of my internship, I learned so much, from her, from her colleague Ian Allen, and from the incredible team at MCC--namely Blake West, Bernie Telsey, Will Cantler and Bob LuPone. Sure, I learned about the inner-workings of a major nonprofit Off-Broadway theater... what it takes to put on a show, to start youth companies and educational programs, and to raise funds to support their important work.
But what I learned more than anything else was what it meant to dream big, to work hard, and to keep moving forward no matter the challenges that might be thrown in your way. As I watched Bernie, Bob, Will and Blake work together, I saw similar values and qualities in their relationship with one another that I found in my friends and colleagues.
I saw the meaning of the word "team."
And came to understand the importance of history--to work with people that you know so well because you've worked together so long that a rhythm develops and a trust can be reached to just go... and do... and work... so that a mission can be realized, and good work can happen.
Since the start of that internship, and the eventual beginning of Numad, we have continued to work with MCC--now for eight seasons. Personally, I have been both humbled and incredibly grateful to support the work they do, and as a result, grow our work in the theater community through collaborations with the likes of Primary Stages, Women's Project Theater, The York Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, LOCAL Theater Company, and so many others.
These theaters, in many ways, have become second and third and fourth homes to me.
On Tuesday morning, "home" took on an even bigger meaning for MCC as they smashed walls to kick of construction of their first real home--their own space to create new plays and musicals, engage youth through educational programs and performances, support playwrights, and so much more... all under one roof. It was a dream the team first had in their old New York apartments more than 30 years ago. (Learn more on their campaign website we designed here).
It was a dream that became an even bigger reality on Tuesday.
As I sat in the audience, listening to Bernie, Bob, Will and Blake talk about the journey, and Actor Zachary Quinto, Playright Matthew Lopez, New York Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, and others speak to the importance of this new home, I couldn't help but take a moment to quietly reflect on the past eight years with MCC, and our own journey at Numad.
How lucky we are to work with people who seek to make our world--whether in New York or Boston or Rapid City or Pine Ridge or Davenport or Boulder or someplace else--just a bit better. That's what theater can do. That's what the arts can do.
And I hope that is something that we can do at Numad.
Congrats, MCC. And thank you for enriching my life and the lives of so many you work with. I can't wait to see the new home take shape.