BEN STILLER MEETS OUR KIDS

BEN STILLER WAS SUPER KIND AND TOOK PHOTOS WITH SOME OF OUR KIDS!

When Jackie Bell invited many, many children over many nights in February of 2020 (yes right before the Pandemic) we jumped at the chance and got as many kids there as we could. One night, Ben Stiller was there visiting a cast member who was a friend. Jackie was kind enough to ask if he would take pictures of just our kids after taking cast photos with him. He obliged and was super duper kind! THANKS SO MUCH. The kids are still talking about meeting you. Memories will travel wherever our kids go! It meant the world to us!

AND THE CAST TOOK AMAZING CARE OF OUR VISITING GIRLS!

EMOJILAND INVITES FOSTER YOUR DREAM

2 OF OUR PRE-TEEN BOYS WAIT FOR THE SHOW TO START WEARING SWAG! 🙂

When Jackie Bell fell in love with our kids, she made sure we got to visit the AMAZING MUSICAL EMOJILAND! We had the best time ever. She spoke with our group at the beginning and treated us to a VIP ending. The kids loved it so much! You know we can’t show their faces but here is some audio during intermission when we asked a few of the boys how they liked the show:

LISTEN TO THE CHILDREN’S REVIEW OF EMOJILAND!

We get to go again next week! Jackie said the entire company felt honored to have our kids visit the show that they work so hard to perform!

The drummer of the show fell in love with one of our very bouncy boys and has given him a drum practice-kit to take to his new foster home. The drummer remembers being a bouncy, rhythmic child and wanted to encourage our little guy to try the drums. Can you believe it?

What an AMAZING outcome for all of us. Not only does a group of children get a bonding super-fun experience, but one of them will have a surprise gift sent to his new foster home. But also, a whole show-biz family now knows how special our children are and will most likely encourage more opportunities for foster children everywhere! How magical is that?

Thank you to Jackie Bell and all the folks at EMOJILAND! GO SEE THIS SHOW. It’s a winner.

FOLLOWUP REPORT: One of our younger boys was jumping around excitedly TO the music the entire show. The drummer, who could see our little guy, stopped me and asked if he could give him a set of drum sticks because he related to the boy’s energy. Giancarlo De Trizio saw himself in our little boy and wrote him a note and gave it to our guy! (who btw is the one on the audio file above!) Here’s our hero:

FYD Brings Theatre to ACS!

YOU SOUND LIKE A GIRL started by our dear friend from the Signature Theatre Days, Colleen Hughes, brought her amazing show to the ACS Theatre! There was a cast of 5 amazing she/her/hers identifying actors who shared very personal stories for an hour at the Children’s Center.

Thanks to all the amazing performers.

YOU SOUND LIKE A GIRL CAST!

You Sound Like a Girl
Created and directed by: Colleen E. Hughes
Written and performed by: Sara Jane Munford, Alessandra Ruiz, Alexandria Smalls, and Rev. Yolanda
Produced by: Emily Rose Prats
Dramaturgy by: Rachel Levens

Colleen E. Hughes(she/her/hers) is a Brooklyn based director and arts administrator, and creator of You Sound Like a Girl. Her select directing credits include, What Screams I Hear are Mine by Annalise Cain (reading, The Tribe Theatre Company), The Shapes We Make With Our Bodies by Meg Whiteford (The Hive), Jelly Bean Junkyard by Sean Pollock (Under St. Marks), Chatroom by Enda Walsh (The Hive), Let Them Eat Cake by Ted Malawer (TinyRhino), and Disco Pigs by Enda Walsh (A.R.T.’s Oberon). Her assisting credits include 12th Night by William Shakespeare, directed by Shira Millikowsky (A.R.T. Institute) and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, directed by Phil Soltanoff (Skidmore College). Colleen studied directing at the National Theatre Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and theater at Skidmore College. www.colleenehughes.com

Sara Jane Munford(she/her/hers) is a multimedia performance artist, designer and puppeteer based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the resident set designer and puppet captain of Little Did Productions. Currently, Sara Jane is working on birth/control/project, a community based art making process and art installation intended to create a space to empower female identifying participants in the pursuit of autonomy over their bodies. For more information please email sarajane.munford@gmail.com.

Alessandra Ruiz(she/her/hers) is a NY Latina actress who moved from Los Angeles this January. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Devised/Physical Theatre. She begun her NYC debuts working with projects performed at the Gene Frankel Theatre and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. She wants to use theatre to open up minds and hearts for a better understanding society. Alessandra believes theatre is a powerful art form that can truly help make a change. Alessandra is very excited to be creating with the “”You Sound Like a Girl”” cast and crew and hopes to empower women everywhere. www.alessandraruiz.com

Alexandria Joesica Smalls(she/her/hers) is an actor, writer and director who hails from Brooklyn, NY. She has an AS in theater from BMCC and a BA in Drama and Africana Studies with a focus on Prison Studies. She is an activist with a passion for social justice issues and uses her creative work to explore difficult conversations on topics such as race, economic inequality, and education. 

Rev. Yolanda(she/her/hers) is a singer/songwriter/trans-femme genderqueer performance artist and interfaith minister, originally from Muscle Shoals Alabama- The Hit Recording Capital Of The World. Rev. Yolanda and husband Rev. Glen Ganaway are the founders of the monthly “spiritual happening” Church With A 2 Drink Minimum. Rev. Yolanda’s ministry and body of musical work has been captured on film by Avaiya Media with the movie “”Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour”” (available on Amazon), and has been honored with induction into the The GLBT Hall Of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and two MAC Awards. (MAC-Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs). Rev. Yolanda is currently working on a full length, autobiographical musical theater piece entitled “The Church Of The Alien Love Child Presents: The Passion of Rev. Yolanda.”

Emily Rose Prats(she/her/hers) came to NY more than a decade ago to get her BFA in Drama from NYU/Tisch. Since then, she’s produced an EP, performed Shakespeare, voiced commercials, taught music to children, and now works in marketing for startups. She believes in theatre as a teaching tool and hopes You Sound Like a Girl can empower women and girls to stop internalizing misogyny and make themselves heard. Follow her adventures on insta @the_gremily and/or offer to publish her children’s book.Rachel Levens(she/her/hers) is a Brooklyn based new play director, dramaturg, and applied theater artist. Rachel’s directing has been seen at La MaMa, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, United Solo, The Tank, Dixon Place, Hudson Guild, and The International Human Rights Festival at The Wild Project. Her dramaturgy work has ranged from production dramaturgy, new play development, literature performance, and dance dramaturgy. She is the resident dramaturg for The Holding Project, a dance company based in Portland, Oregon. Rachel holds a BFA in Theater with an emphasis in Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA.

COLLEEN HUGHES PREPARES CAST TO PERFORM AT THE CHILDREN’S CENTER FOR ACS

Foster Your Dream meets Gloria Steinem!

Thanks to the Hope-a-holics we were able to send 38 young people to see GLORIA: A life!

As usual, these are not our foster kids (we can not show their faces due to legal reasons) but we are joining 4 different audiences and they all look somewhat similar to this.  I promise!  🙂 It’s an amazing fast paced play about Gloria Steinem and it wowed everyone to see how far we’ve come in such a short time and how little we’ve come in such a short time!

Every show invites a celebrity or two and Gloria herself has been known to show up!  One of our matinee groups got to see Karlie Klaus the super-model.  She’s super tall and was super kind in talking to everyone in the audience who wanted to!  She even allowed some selfies.  Obviously those two women below are not foster kids!  But you get the picture!  🙂

Foster Your Dream goes Backstage on Broadway

SpongeBob SquarePants, Head Over Heels and Choir Boy invited us to join them for their shows and then for a magical backstage tour!

Lou Castro shows us backstage!

Lou Castro, Choreographer of SpongeBob Square Pants.

Technology!

 

 

Brooke Smith arranged for Lou Castro the assistant Choreographer of Sponge Bob Square Pants to give us an in depth look at all the amazing things backstage at the Palace Theatre! He showed up props, wardrobe and al the fantastical technology!

 

 

 

Julie Boardman & Sarahbeth Grossman welcome us to the Green Room!

 

  HEAD OVER HEELS producers Sarahbeth Grossman, who has been a supporter of Foster Your Dream kids for the past 10 years, took us to their green room and introduced us to producer Julie Boardman.  We were allowed to ask questions and feel like a VIP!

 

 

 

As usual, I can only show emancipated foster children who are OK with our taking their photo or with guardian consent.  That’s why you tend to see the same few kids … they are the ones who are enamored by all things THEATRE!  The one below has a particular connection to theatre and FYD’s mentorship has been sort of like a rag-tag theatre fellowship.  So enjoy her joy!

 

Choir Boy’s Austin Pendleton

Hey World … Here I Am!

When Saint Joan Looks Like a Foster Child

When a young budding actress who has lived most of her life in foster care sees St. Joan on Broadway starring Condola Rashad and says “Oh!  She looks like me! I could do that!” it gives us another reason for urgency to have full representation in entertainment!Not only was Ms. Rashad brilliant but she was kind and generous with her time after the show.

waiting for autograph

getting autograph

gondola rashad supporting a dream

I’m going to keep this young actress’ name private here but some day you will see her in the arts, either on stage or behind the scenes.

believing the dream

She went to see Ms. Rashad perform twice with two different FYD mentors because it is rare that we see people who represent our #fostercare population in such a unique and inspiring way on Broadway. Thank you, Ms. Rashad from all of us at Foster Your Dream! 🙂  A wonderful time was had by all! 🙂