Is This What Pride Feels Like?

Last night was our last rehearsal for “The Vagina Monologues” before we moved into the theatre. I’ve been getting told by my friends and family how proud they are of me for pulling this off and putting it together. Most people know how I feel about compliments, and I’ll keep the tradition going. This production was so much bigger than me! It was a massive puzzle that had to be put together, and every person involved has been a piece of that puzzle. Without them, this production wouldn’t have happened.

16836217_1356874697702905_7586359801460349449_oI’ve been crying a bit for the past day, but for once it’s because of a good thing! I’m so proud of this show! I can’t even explain in words how much my heart is bursting! It’s been a journey, but it has been SO POSITIVE!

This was honestly a crazy idea that I had back in December. This means that this production was a last minute decision that was pulled together in less than 3 months. I honestly could not have done it without Loni Price, Pimpila Violette, Emily Hamm, Ashley Jones, Alissa Alba, and Sarah Gendron. They were the first to answer the call when I put it out on social media that I wanted to do “The Vagina Monologues.” They kept me grounded, went along with the crazy ideas, and put their whole hearts into this project. I owe you ladies so much, and I don’t know how I will ever repay you.

Not only that, but I got so lucky with this cast.

For example, Kelly McConkey dove in even before she auditioned and was getting donation items, gave out of her own pocket and spread the word about the show like a true leader. She boosted me up when I felt hopeless and ready to give up on everything in my life, even on the paranormal side!

Joanna Herath is such a joy in my life. She was in the staged reading of my play, “Japanese Eyes/American Heart”, and she is amazing in Vagina Monologues. She has also done tremendous work on our fundraising end and made it possible for us to have a counselor present for our show.

I hadn’t met a few of the women before this show. Like Arin Dickson…holy cow! She is so passionate, and can own a stage like no one’s business! I am so glad she is with us!

Arrissia Blanton is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She brings so much to her monologue, and you don’t want to stop watching her!

Chelsey Winstead is not only a sweetheart, but she makes me laugh so hard that I’m in near tears. I have enjoyed getting to know her, and I look forward to working with her in the future!

Speaking of tears, Maribeth McCarthy made me cry last night with her reading of “The Vagina Workshop.” I hadn’t worked with Maribeth before, and I’m so glad she wanted to be a part of this!

Amani Mckenzie brought new life to “My Vagina Was My Village” and her sweetness just made her portrayal of the devastation that much more heartbreaking.

Every day, Nicole Graziano inspires me to do more, live better, and be a fighter. She is someone who I feel honored to be in the show with.

I knew of Lauren Bamford but I hadn’t had the chance to see her perform until now. She brings “Hair” a new life that I have never seen before.

I can watch Lynnette Barber perform all day. She brings about a sense of calm and control that is so fascinating to watch, and she has one of the longest pieces in the show. And you know what? She rocks it and does it justice!

Sharon Moyer…where do I begin? What a talent and such a joy to work with. She is so dedicated to the cause that she drove from Fayetteville to be a part of this cast. She saw the cause as THAT important, and she makes me weep during “I Was There in the Room.”

Nan L. Stephenson has the challenge of bringing the annual Spotlight monologue to life. Let me tell you all, it’s a doozy. But Nan takes it on flawlessly and brings Eve’s words to life in such a way that I want to stand up and rise for the cause.

Seema Kukreja is one of the most passionate people I have ever met! She has put her whole heart into this production, and she has given so much of herself! Having her in this show is truly a blessing.

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As I watched the cast run through the show on Thursday night, I thought, “Wow…we have a show.” I felt so proud of these amazing women!

I have to give major kudos to Michelle Johnson. When we needed someone to wear the Pinky costume…aka dress as a giant vagina, she volunteered and has owned the role!

Kelly Buynitzky has been a tremendous helper since day one by spreading the word. Even at auditions, she was helping us sort papers, and she has helped promote the show.

I have to say how grateful I am to Jennifer Torres of Wake Health Medical Group. I met her at Friday Free for All at “Bob and the Showgram” and when I learned she did vaginal rejuvenation sessions, I knew I had to tell her about Vagina Monologues! Not only did she help promote, but also donated a rejuvenation session for our silent auction that’s worth $750! You can check out V-Day Raleigh’s silent auction here.

Finally, I have to give kudos to our show night volunteers! Ann Haigler, Heather Curry, Janice Blevins Hillanbrand, Julia Fair, Elizabeth Breakey, Marianne Ayers, Ciaran Cavanaugh, Juanita Velázquez, and Chris Yarborough will be on the front lines during the show to make sure the patrons have a great experience. And we also have Sheri Leider coming as our counselor in case anyone is triggered by the content.

I hope you will be able to join me on Monday February 27th and Tuesday February 28th at Sonorous Road Productions and see all of this hard work come to fruition as we raise money for InterAct of Wake County!

To get tickets, please click here. To donate to V-Day Raleigh’s Generosity page, click here.

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