Below are a few of the organizations that have made my life better as well as the lives of countless others.
Definitely worth checking out.
Balance Arts Center
As their website says, "is dedicated to teaching mindfulness and awareness in action through the principles and practices of the Alexander Technique." In my experience, is is one of the most zen, and inviting spaces to learn about how you can free your body, mind, and life from excess tension. Run by master Alexander Technique teacher Ann Rodiger, who also happens to be one of the kindest and most organized people I have ever met. She exudes light.
Resonant Bodies Festival
Run by my dear friend and the fearless, whip-smart, and cracker-jack singer Lucy Dhegrae, Resonant Bodies Festival supports the growth and evolution of contemporary vocal music and vocal artists. The Festival currently produces an annual series of new vocal music performances in New York City and maintains a database of vocal music. Their goals are:
- To catalyze creation of new vocal music
- To expand the audience for new vocal music
- To challenge and transform the role of the vocal recitalist
- To bring together a global network of new-music vocalists
- To create and archive media resources to better connect audiences, performers, and composers
Movement Theater Studio NYC
Lecoq's teachings and method have been a guiding light for me since I was first introduced to them by Marcello Magni during rehearsals for Peter Brook's Une Flûte Enchantée. The Movement Theater Studio is run by the brilliant and ebullient Richard Crawford (War Horse), and is the best place to study Lecoq's work in NYC. It's a magical method linking how to create characters out of movement and play. Check them out.
MTS believes that there is no separation between the psychological and the physical actor. The most exciting performer is one who can engage their imagination fully while having a rigorously trained physical instrument through which these impulses can be dynamically expressed.
The Juilliard School
Where I first learned what it meant to be an artist. An unthinkably ridiculously talented gathering of the greatest artists in dance, drama, and music both as teachers and fellow students.
Bard College Conservatory | Graduate Vocal Arts Program
Renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw and vocal coach Kayo Iwama have created the Hogwarts of upstate NY contemporary singer training. A holistic, nurturing, state-of-the-art environment where you can discover your own voice as an artist. Explore everything from producing your own concerts, performing opera, art song, international folk music, and songs still wet on the page, all in a beautiful setting with some of the most knowledgeable and genuine humans I've ever met.
A three week marathon-sprint of art song in Los Angeles, now in its 21st year and still run by the maelstrom hand-maiden of art song, Rosemary Hyler Ritter. I don't know another place where you can meet more extraordinary people (over 30 faculty and 100 students from the greatest international institutions) in a shorter amount of time (3 weeks). If you want to learn about art song, this is the place for you!
And Like the hair club for men advertisements, I was not only a student in 2010, but director of the young artist program from 2012-2017, and associate artistic director from 2013-2017. SongFest gave me the chance to work with an extraordinary faculty and student body while developing my own cross-genre way of working with singing-actors. I will forever be grateful to this remarkable institution.
After the election in November of 2016 (of he who shall not be named), my partner and I decided we wanted to a) empower women and young girls, b) refind joy in our lives apart from the media's election coverage, and c) grow our family with a new furry friend. Unleashed was the perfect find: a puppy rescue organization run by the brilliant and big-hearted Dr. Stacy Radin where adolescent girls learn self-empowerment as well as business and leadership skills helping to run the rescue. Want a puppy and to help create the next generation of powerful women? Contact Unleashed today!
One of the most beautiful, and clear prescriptions for how to build bridges among all our spiritual teachings rather than walls: "the society seeks to foster a spirit of greater understanding and goodwill among the diverse peoples and religions of our global family, and to help those of all cultures and nationalities to realize and express more fully in their lives the beauty, nobility, and divinity of the human spirit."
The Trevor Project
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. They've helped thousands including me. They can help you and someone you care about.
The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp
dedicated to providing 'a different kind of healing' to seriously ill children and their families, free of charge. A community that celebrates the spirit of childhood, the sound of laughter and the feeling of endless possibility. Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman to give every child – no matter their illness – the chance to “raise a little hell.” Including their summer Camp in Ashford, Conn, they run 9 programs that serve more than 20,000 kids and family members throughout the Northeast each year.
As a former cabin counselor, I can attest that it's heaven on earth for kids and counselors alike. Profits from Newman's Own products go directly to the camps. Consider buying Newman's Own, donating, or volunteering for this amazing organization. You could change a kid's life.
The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in NYC
What a gay Catholic wishes church could always be. Father Gil puts his money where his mouth is both preaching and living love and acceptance for all. The church has an OUT@ St. Paul LGBTQ ministry, and even hosted our benefit concert for the Trevor Project free of charge. They will always have my heart.
The Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College
This is the home base for all of my teaching: I run the opera workshop here and teach voice as well as singing-acting. Top notch teachers like Itzhak Pearlman, Mignon Dunn, Patricia McCaffrey, Tania León plus tuition that is under $4,000/semester for undergraduates and under $6000/semester for graduates have earned the conservatory the nickname "The Juilliard of Brooklyn". (Graduate student courses don't even start until after 4pm so you can work your way through school). Add to that a brand new, gorgeous performing arts facility and a short subway ride away from all the happenings of Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn, and you have a school that's pretty hard not to love.