From the land of misfit toys

The crazies are the ones that change the world. ūüôčūüŹľ

Land of Misfit Toys

So thankful for a much needed holiday break from digital connectivity to spend a few days connecting with real people. Faith, family, food and football are at the top of the list this week (not that they aren’t always).

Knowing the email was stacking up, I snuck into the office for a bit to keep the snowball at a reasonable size. Amidst the post-Christmas sales assault was a post from my friend Tony Howell that caused me to settle into my chair instead of slipping away to my own post-Christmas ping-pong assault on daughter #2.

Nestled in his blog post¬†“2017: Make History” is a quote from creative behemoth Apple, Inc. in their 1997 advertising campaign “Think different.”

‚ÄúHere‚Äôs to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They‚Äôre not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can‚Äôt do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.‚ÄĚ

Read it again. Relate? Me too.

Ignorance is bliss.

Growing up I was a little different. Being¬†blessed with an extremely stable family to¬†tether me and provide¬†unshakeable¬†security,¬†I¬†enjoyed¬†a personal….or¬†personality¬†freedom that made growing up a blast. Examples (and these were all done in my single-digit years):

  • First solo performance in church at age 2
  • Created and DJ’d a radio station (aka mix-tape) with weather, news and the best¬†hits from Elvis, Alabama and¬†the¬†Sesame Street sing-a-long.
  • Sang¬†Michael Jackson’s¬†“Beat It”¬†for my 4th grade talent show accompanied by¬†myself on the guitar
  • Grew up on a farm with no neighbors, so found an imaginary friend in the woods
  • Wrote a rap song about RV-ing in Arkansas:¬†“We Be Camping”¬†(still sung by extended family 25¬†years later)
  • Best recess football wide receiver on the Bel Air Elementary campus
  • Set¬†record for most consecutive performances¬†of¬†“Elvira”¬†for dinner guests
  • Was a straight-A student with perfect attendance
  • Wore a¬†Dallas Cowboy¬†football uniform every chance I¬†got
  • Designed the cover of our school yearbook
  • Hated wearing dresses or anything that looked like a girl
  • Wrote a song for my mother for Mother’s Day

As you can see, I was a little artsy-fartsy and had some possible gender-identity issues but was ultimately secure in all of it. Looking back, I sometimes wonder what on earth my parents were thinking letting me do some of the things I did. As strict as they were with values, attitude, character and performance, they were very free with personality and expression. And I am so thankful for that.

Reality is torture.

Then comes adolescence and the journey to adulthood. The wild imagination and freedom of self expression surrenders to the practicality of maturity. The restrictions¬†of conformity in¬†middle school. The pressure academically in high school. The stakes¬†of the future¬†in college. The compromises¬†of identity in early marriage and the sacrifices of time in parenthood. It’s the real world baby. And bit by bit¬†that real world was covering me, layer by layer, with a mask that didn’t resemble much of who I really was.

Because you’re a musical theatre person reading this, most likely you will relate or even have the same story I have. So please forgive me for writing the overused¬†following statement….

And then I saw Wicked. 

You may have seen that coming. But that green girl personified my life on stage. And since you know the story, I don’t have to draw the parallels. You already feel them. And my life changed. From that moment. The facade cracked and my heart started beating at 100% again. The world looked new and exciting and even more‚ÄĒI looked new and exciting.¬†

Crazies unite!

I was still married, still a mom to three beautiful children, still the owner of a thriving design studio. But something was unleashed within me that day.¬†Don’t worry, no lyrics inserted here…you’re already thinking them ūüėȬ†The dreams I had to be more, to do more, to express new and imaginative things, to be a pioneer not a settler, to reach for the stars, to¬†do¬†and not¬†try, do let my crazy loose, to challenge the status quo, to ask the hard questions, to challenge the tradition, to seek the truth, to¬†chase the lion¬†and to inspire others to do the same were set on fire. Newsflash‚ÄĒIt was OK to be me‚ÄĒALL of me! Black sheep (or green) as I may be….that’s how my Creator made me and the only way to feel fulfilled was to be honest with who I am and authentic in all I do.

Now I’m still a wife, mom, and designer with the same amazing guy, three beautiful children, and growing¬†marketing firm, but I’m proud to say¬†they all would claim that¬†I’ve changed. I’m letting my misfit side manifest and life is certainly more fun and fulfilling. I don’t mind showing the boys up at the family skeet shoot. You’ll catch me standing on the coffee table with a broom belting a ballad quite often. My daughters’ friends think I’m cool because I take tap lessons. And I’m experiencing performance, writing and directing opportunities that would blow my mind 20 years ago.¬†I’ve found my personality home in musical theatre and while it’s a tough industry in a lot of¬†areas, creatively it is the most fulfilling place for me to be.

Don’t forget:

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

I’m working on changing the world. Feeling crazy? Join me.

And go Cowboys!¬†ūüíô

Question: I’m guessing there was a show that changed your life…which one? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Productivity + Personal Care

by Backstage Expert Tony Howell

New York is a city of people running around‚ÄĒsome chasing dreams, some getting lost in the shuffle. Regardless of where you live, productivity is a hot topic and something I felt compelled to write about this morning.

Today, I want to share the steps I take to increase productivity, while also balancing self-care.

1. Make Time

The first step is scheduling time for important tasks. This is often called time blocking.

One of the biggest and best changes I’ve ever made was putting my work/clients from 10-5 Monday through Friday. This is batching mixed with self-care.¬†I devote my nights and weekends to my partner and friends. Sundays are my day for development‚ÄĒchurch, writing my book, recording training for courses, planning for the week ahead, etc.

I certainly¬†can¬†work nights and weekends, but I’m not setting the expectation.¬†I also work to batch (or group) similar tasks. Batching similar tasks helps your mind know exactly what to do…¬†all research, emails, personal errands, etc.¬†You’re not having to react to so much!

In terms of other personal insight, I highly recommend following a consistent gym schedule or workout plan.¬†¬†has some great workouts/apps. (I’m currently doing the¬†Big Man on Campus… HA!) You can also get a personal workout and nutrition plan with¬†Buckley Body Solutions.


2. Eliminate Distractions

I don’t allow texting from clients. I shut down email. I put my computer on “do not disturb” mode. I flip my phone over so it’s face down. Sometimes, I’ll even set a one-hour timer for specific tasks.

If needed, I’ll turn on ambient noise. My favorite’s are¬†Pandora’s Spa Radio¬†or¬†Issa Bagayogo on Spotify.

Sometimes,¬†I even get dressed up and light candles for extra motivation. For me, it’s important to feel like a professional while also inviting inspiration. These two ideas come from Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book,¬†Big Magic.


3. Revive and Rejuvenate

Life is more than a to-do list, so make sure you schedule time for personal care, as well as friends and family.

I’m experimenting with using my mornings to create. Too often, we start our days consuming‚ÄĒsocial media, email, news and more.

Audiences consume. Artists create.

I seem to be the most creative and productive in the mornings.¬†Lately, I’ve found such great joy in using the website¬†¬†to write Morning Pages (a practice from¬†The Artist’s Way¬†and¬†Create a Life Worth Living). I’ve also found great clarity in a new ritual of taking my dog for long walks before bed.

Make sure you’re filling up your creative tank. Productivity is important,¬†but so is your personal health.

You are your business… so take great care of yourself!

What’s one way you increase productivity or practice self-care?¬†Leave a comment below.

Tony Howell¬†(@TonyHowell) is a New York based digital strategist. ¬†Read more of Tony’s articles at¬†

Results of 2016 Relaunch Survey

For one week before and one week after the launch of the new, we conducted a survey to learn more about you, the rockin’ singers of the musical world. Part of the purpose of this site is to build community. To find encouragement in knowing you’re not alone in this journey to accomplish your dreams! So here’s a cross section of you, our readers, where you’re from, what your struggles are, and who you’d like to hear from most.

If we boiled the results down into a “reader profile,” it would look like this: Our average reader is a either in college or holding an advanced degree and working in regional theatre across the United States.

Your Challenges

As far as challenges facing musical singers, here’s how you weighed in with the topics presented:survey_struggle_results

Finding audition music, auditions, and marketing yourself were at the top of the list. For audition topics, be sure to check frequently the “auditions” tab in our category list above. To find audition music, there are great sites such as,, and If you need help picking a song that fits your range, the show, and the character you’re auditioning for, or just have general auditions questions, post a question in¬†our Auditions Forums¬†here¬†and our MusicalSingers tribe will rally to help you out!

Another hot topic (more…)