June 23. 2019
There are no words....my experience coming back to the stage playing Amneris in AIDA directed by Luis Salgado was everything my soul needed. This experience was written in the stars. My cast and creative team were the best team I’ve had in a long, long time...we all became family. I am so grateful. I am also so sad that it’s over....but I’m grateful to have caught the theatre bug again. I’ve missed it. This experience goes to show that with the right people, theatre truly can be transformative. Luis Salgado is a visionary....I truly believe that his work as a director can transform and evolve the future of Broadway. He is my absolute favorite director to work with...this is our third time working together and hopefully not our last. I am also so grateful to his team, Valeria Cossu and Heather Hogan. He surrounds himself with strong, brilliant female artists as his team. I respect that so much.
Thank you to everyone involved in AIDA, and to everyone who came to support me.
I'm back in the theatre, baby. I have work to do; I'm on a mission to make theatre a more inclusive place. <3
January 12, 2018
You may or may not have noticed a new tab on my site...
Maybe one day I'll write about the specifics of how this came to be. I've always had melodies swimming around in my head though, on my iphone voice recorder....never imagined sharing with a soul. It was for my own pleasure.
Until 2017 broke me open....and it all came pouring out in the form of music and lyrics that are my whole truth.
I can finally say that I am grateful for the pain....because it resulted in my most honest work to date. It is vulnerable as hell, but I am proud to share this music. And now I am embarking on a TOTALLY NEW journey into
the world of songwriting and the music industry.
I hope you will check out my new "SONGWRITER" tab, as well as my first single and music video: "72 Hours".
And I hope you will please join me and my awesome new band for our FIRST CONCERT of my original rock/pop tunes. It will be a fun, intimate evening of music about connection, heart ache, jumping off the edge--and rediscovering one's inner strength.
Your support in this new musical endevour means the world to me.
I hope you will come. ♥
Introducing the music of ERIN MAYA
Thurs. February 1st at 8:00 pm (DOORS OPEN AT 7:00)
at Rockwood Music Hall NYC
December 13, 2016
November 9th felt like the worst day ever.
I was heart-sick, scared, angry, sad, disappointed...I felt so many negative feelings about the election results. I was absolutely horrified....and shocked. I truly believed that we would finally have a female president. I truly believed that no matter how people felt about Hillary Clinton, the other choice (he who shall not be named) was such a disgusting representation of all things evil that common sense would prevail. Surely an openly misogynistic, racist, greedy, selfish, narcissistic bigot couldn't become our president? Surely people wouldn't actually vote for a person like this?
Well, a lot of people did. And even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, that evil man won the electoral votes and the election. It was the most shocking thing I have ever witnessed. I felt the most harsh reality check: The fact that this misogynist was elected president made me feel completely devalued by our country, as a woman.
Like so many people out there, I went through stages of grief.
...And then a few days later, as I was listening to the "Hamilton" Original Cast Album, I thought: "How perfect would it be if Lin-Manuel Miranda cast a female as one of the founding fathers in 'Hamilton', as a response to the election?" This hopeful thought remained on my mind as I was listening to "My Shot". And then, just like that, this instantly came to me:
"I am the F-U-T-U-R-E-P R-E-S-I-DENT..."
The whole idea for what became the passion project that saved me.
So here's the thing: Bad shit happens in life. Good things happen too, of course....But more often than not, it's the bad shit that inspires us to take action. And if you can manage to stop spiraling and listen---you can find something beautiful out of something really ugly. I decided to take all of my negative feelings about the election results, recognize that they came from a passionate good place, and refocus them into a positive message of hope, empowerment, and unity for women.
I learned so much from writing and making the video for "We Birth The Nation".
I learned about my own judgemental-shortcomings and faced them: I had very strong, harsh, negative feelings about Melania Trump. But in order to bring women together, I realized how important it was for Melania to be in this video as an equal part of the crew. I realized that some of my negative feelings/reactions to her stemmed from an insecurity; an insecurity that society instills in all women which pits us against one another. An insecurity that causes us to judge one another. Well, this video made me come to terms with that, and I found empathy for Mrs. Trump. Even if I completely disagree with her silence on many subjects, I cannot judge her for her husband's behavior. She has her own separate identity, and it is often overlooked because people are too busy slut-shaming her. Slut-shaming is never okay. Never. I made my peace with Melania in making this video, and she actually ended up being one of my favorite characters in it because I love what our Melania character stands for. I like to think that the real Melania is wearing a "Nasty Woman t-shirt under that designer dress, and if you look hard enough there's a wink in her eye... ;)
I learned a lot about the power of humor when you are trying to talk about serious issues. Getting on your soapbox and preaching isn't cute (haha, is that what I'm doing now? she ponders...) But comedy puts everyone at ease. The truth is: not everyone likes Hillary Clinton, Melania Trump, Elizabeth Warren, and Michelle obama (okay, that's a lie---everyone loves Michelle, and if you don't well you're lying to yourself.) But each of these women is a caricature of themselves in this video, and because they are able to be goofy and laugh at themselves while remaining sincere and connected to the same goal---I like to believe and hope that it makes them all likeable and relatable.
I learned about technology---'cause I am BAD AT IT! Anyone who knows me well knows that I am kind of a grandma when it comes to technology and social media. I know how to use Facebook, texting on my phone, and basic Microsoft Word. Everything else is super frustrating for me....but this experience taught me patience and A LOT about different social media apps, algorithms, editing, etc. I had to be willing to learn for this project to succeed. Now I'm a tech genius. Just kidding ;)
In the end, this video was meant to bring women's spirits up and empower them to keep speaking up. To keep looking towards that goal----that one day we will be paid the same as men, have rights to our own bodies, be respected in the workplace, on the street, and just in general.....that we can be beautiful in many different ways, AND we can still be seen as three-dimensional, complicated beings beyond our looks. That someday we WILL have a female president....and that if we keep our chins up and not let this moment in history bring us down, our Future President just may be inspired by this election to rise up. <3
August 7th, 2016
Sometimes all you need is a reminder.
A reminder from the Universe about what really matters most to you.
A wake-up call, per se.
That is exactly what I received this summer when I got a message from Transcendence Theatre Company, asking if I was available to be a last-minute replacement for their show "This Magic Moment".
Transcendence Theatre Company is located in what is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in the world....Sonoma, California. That's right...WINE COUNTRY! I was to fly out and begin rehearsal in two weeks.
I love a good adventure.
And I was so grateful to get away for a while because I had been kind of down-in-the-dumps lately in New York....which "made no sense". Good stuff was slowly happening. I had just signed with a great agency that believed in me, and a project I loved and had been with for years possibly had a future on the horizon....and yet, I felt down-in-the-dumps. I couldn't really put my finger on it as to why.
So I accepted the invitation to TTC, and I was off to Sonoma!
Before I left, my mom looked up the website and told me: "The theatre is in Jack London State Park. Jack London was your Dad's favorite author in the world."
I do remember seeing Sea Wolf around the house when I was little.
That was when I knew this experience was definitely meant to be.
I cannot even put into words the magical experience I had working at Transcendence Theatre Company.
I found a tribe of like-minded artists who work in total collaboration with THE MOST SUPPORTIVE community I have ever come across. It is a truly unique and remarkable story, how this company came to be. The very short version of it is this: About five or six years ago, the Artistic Director Amy Miller was seeking a space to start a theatre company with her friends. At the same time, California had just passed this bill, cutting funding for several of California's state parks. Jack London State Park in Sonoma was one of those parks that would close. When Amy and her crew went to Jack London State Park, they simply knew: This was their theatre space. When you look at these pictures, you can see why...It looks like it was made for theatre! And actually, in a way it sort of was....the famous author Jack London built the space as a safe place for his artist friends. (Hmm...coincidental that I was coming here? I think not.) This was the perfect spot for Amy's theatre company. Fast-forward through all of the writing to the state etc etc.....They had two days to put on a concert and convince the state to keep the park open and let them use it for their theatre company, on the agreement that Transcendence's profits would help maintain the park. They didn't know anyone in Sonoma, yet. This was a total leap of faith. They put flyers up around the town, and hoped that at least 100-200 people would show up...that would give them a chance at the very least.
900 people showed up that night for the concert.
From the perspective of the Sonoma community: Transcendence Theatre Company saved their park.
From the TTC artists' perspective: The Sonoma community gave them a home, and made their dream a reality.
It is the most beautiful exchange I have ever witnessed.
TTC works hand-in-hand with the Sonoma community through EVERYTHING. The board is made up of generous local residents, the costumes are donated by the owner of a shop called Bella Vita in town, and here's the best part: Before every single show, there is a picnic in the park where local restaurants and wineries set up shop. There is a mini-stage, and each picnic a different local music act plays. Transcendence brings the entire community together, and business begets business. One art form supports other art forms. Everyone wins. This community exchange is the most important part of TTC's mission. Every decision is made in service to the community.
Can you IMAGINE: If this was the model used in producing/creating theatre everywhere?
In New York City?
If the wealthy 1% of New Yorkers came together with artists and made decisions entirely based in service to the whole New York community? Instead of just caring about making profit? Instead of choosing to focus on what appears to be "competition"? Instead of only choosing stories that seem "safe"....god forbid it rattles ticket sales? Instead of judging one another? Instead of only producing stories that resemble one group of people and deeming that the "American default" or "normal"?
None of that is in service to the New York community. Or the community of tourists that come from all over the country/world to see "the best professional theatre in the world".
Some of the best professional theatre in the world was happening right there, in Sonoma, California. Yes, the talent was top-notch and my fierce cast came from several Broadway shows and National Tours. The shows TTC puts on are super entertaining, and the talent blows your mind. But that isn't even what makes TTC some of the best professional theatre in the world. It was that exchange; the service to the community that made it so magical. It is the TRUST that everyone will be there for each other; the theatre will be there for the local business that will be there for the theatre that will be there for the residents etc etc. It is a circle effect there. TTC trusts that the audience will show up after they put all of their time and money in....and the audience trusts that they will get a great show, and their park will be here to stay.
Sadly, these days, Broadway shows close pretty quickly....especially if it's an original story. You want to know what I think? I think *most of the time*, Trust is missing. Not trusting your audience. Not trusting the artists (actors, creative team, designers.) Not trusting the story or subject matter. When there's a lot of money involved, people get afraid. And Trust requires risk. So....people choose to go the safe route. And no one has ever transcended from "safe".
Transcendence: Existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level.
THAT IS WHY PEOPLE PAY $150 FOR A THEATRE TICKET. Not for "safe". They want to experience transcendence. They want to break from their reality and THINK AND FEEL...or they DON'T want to think and want to witness OTHERS THINKING and soak it in. Some go to the theatre in the hopes that the energy-vibrations of music or spoken word will move them in some new way, shape, or form. They want to see themselves reflected in the theatre. They want to see people different than them reflected in the theatre, and then...OMG WAIT FOR IT....see THEMSELVES reflected in people that are different than THEM. Guess what that gives you? Perspective. And perspective makes this world a better place. It doesn't have to be a totally cerebral experience like I'm depicting here. It's a feeling. It's....Transcendence. I can't think of another word for it. People want to transcend. Even if they don't know it. It's what makes us human beings.
And you have to Trust in order to achieve this.
The Public Theatre in New York gets this whole concept; their mission statement is similar to Transcendence. And The Public is a leader in producing shows that go to Broadway. What does that tell us?
This isn't a generalization about all Broadway Theatre, by the way. I know a lot of awesome things are happening in New York theatre (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off, etc.) Last season especially was monumental for Broadway in terms of diversity and storytelling. It was evident that people trusted the material, artists, and its audience. There was a lot of theatre in service to community.
Transcendence Theatre Company just took that mission/idea to another level that really inspired me. And I wish the very best for New York theatre. I want to help be a part of positive change within it.. I still want to be on Broadway someday; this summer just helped me articulate why I want that and for what purpose.
So this is what I learned from my experience working at Transcendence:
I remembered why I want to be an artist, and that it's not a solo-journey. I am not a lone soldier, trying to run past other soldiers and "make it". No, this is not a battle....though it feels like it is sometimes. It is a choice, whether you see this lifestyle as a battle or not. No, this is a lifetime journey of creating an Exchange and Trust. It's about the bigger picture, not me. This is a *vocation*. When I choose to be an artist, I choose to be open and seek perspective. I choose to COLLABORATE. I choose to be my honest, beautiful, flawed self in the hopes that "as I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." (Marianne Williamson) It is scary. In this day and age, with the internet and socia media....people can be very nasty and judgemental.
I realized on this Sonoma trip that my fear of being judged was crippling me; it was stopping me from putting my whole true self out there. Sure, I dip my foot in the water. People who know me well think I'm fearless...but why? It's because those people I allow to see my whole self. But what about those people who don't know me? Why do I care what they think? What would those people think if they really saw me? They'll say mean things about all of my flaws, I thought. They'll see that I'm not perfect....yes, no one is perfect, but with Perfect 365 and iMovie you can sure make yourself look it! (I know...how dare you.)
But really....I've been scared of being thought of as weird. Which is ironic, because when I was a child I was super "weird" (wild and free)....but I was happy because I was expressive of my thoughts and self. I embraced it. I was very open about the fact that I loved Cinnamon Raisin Bread, singing, pandas, and overalls. I was very scared of being buried alive, and not looking like the girls in the magazines. I was scared of what life would look like if my sick Dad passed away; what was a "normal life"? I wrote about these things, and showed my writing to family, friends, teachers, classmates. I sang songs by myself about them. But then, around 7th grade, I became hyper-aware that some people thought I was weird or "too open" about myself. "Don't overshare", "Don't make people uncomfortable". These were things I started to listen to. But when I think about it, the people and things I love and connect with most in life DO "overshare" and make me feel uncomfortable! Because what I'm talking about is not oversharing; it's being vulnerable and authentic with the purpose of connecting with others. It's not following. It's leading. Being uncomfortable means trying or feeling something out of the ordinary. I almost always learn when I'm uncomfortable....I transcend when I'm uncomfortable.
So why have I been stifling myself?
Why have I been hiding?
Why have I not sat in my full power and light?
It's a disservice to all, to not be my whole self.
Some people may not like it, or judge it.
But I will love them so much anyway. It's okay.
In Sonoma, I spent a lot of time witnessing people in their true element. Being fearless. Being happy. and free. I loved it so much. This time around, I was an Observer. I needed this experience to reawaken, and realize that just like in Jack's Credo: I've been just existing lately, not living.
And "the function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my day trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time."
Since I've returned from Sonoma, it's been an adjustment. Let's be real; a hard adjustment. But I have been in deep thought about all of this, as you can see, and all I can say is this:
I want to live.
I want to trust.
I want to transcend.
And I want to collaborate with others in service of community.
Our world needs it right now. Badly.
I'm in. *