Throwback Thursday

In the spirit of Easter, I present three extremely awkward kids from the early 90’s.

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And So It Begins...

Rob and I have made meager attempts at beginning the wedding planning process and let me just say, it’s daunting. It’s not overwhelming because of any of the reasons that I thought it would be, but simply because it seems like a lot of work for something that I kind of feel ‘eh’ about. Don’t get me wrong here! I love Rob and can’t wait to be married to him. We are going to be an awesome family, but dresses, flowers, and venues? Eh, not that interested.

I thought that maybe I was alone on this, but luckily I discovered an amazing book called “A Practical Wedding” and it has changed the way I view my upcoming nuptials. This book is a must read for anyone planning a wedding. It’s so, well, practical.


I love the idea of a wedding, but when it comes down to it, weddings are expensive, and for no good reason. And then there’s the expectations. The endless, mind numbing expectations. For me, it’s a celebration of love and commitment and I just don’t see where floral arrangements and $5,000 dresses come into the equation. I love weddings, but not for the decorations or matching bridesmaids dresses or three course dinner, but for that moment during the ceremony when even I (a total unromantic, unsappy person) feel a little choked up. I also love weddings for the reception where you get to dance and drink the night away with your family and friends in honor of this couple that you love.

In the book “A Practical Wedding,” Meg Keene says, “A whole industry is set up to sell you a beautiful wedding; it’s set up to sell you how things will look. But what matters on your wedding day, what you will remember until you are old and gray, is how it felt.” Yes! I want a wedding that feels good. I don’t want to spend money that I don’t have for expectations that I’ll never meet. I want us to craft a day that celebrates who we are and what we have accomplished, not a day that feels ordinary or uptight.

We may not know what we are doing when it comes to planning this shindig, but there are a few things that we do know. We want to be a room with friends and family on the day that we become an awesome, new family. We want to have a band because we are musicians and having our party feel like a rock concert is important to us. We want to eat lots of dessert and drink booze. We might even want a margarita machine and fajitas. We want to get sweaty from dancing. I want to laugh at him while he’s dancing on the dance floor. He wants to laugh at me because I don’t actually know the words to songs that I think I do. We want to dance with our friends and siblings. We want our friends from growing up to be in the same room with our friends from our life now. We want to be in a room filled with nothing but joy, laughter, and happiness as we celebrate something pretty awesome. We want to say nice things as we make a verbal commitment to each other in front of these awesome people. We want to celebrate the last 10 years of our lives that have led up to this moment. These are the things that are important to us and I think that’s a great place to start planning a wedding.


Throwback Thursday

I’m not sure when or where this picture was taken but I love all the faces. Bill is giving a cheesy smile, I’m over it, Rebecca doesn’t know what’s going on, and Adam is clearly angry about being in this picture. I have no idea where Matt was while this pic was being taken. Probably asleep in a baby swing somewhere.



My Love Story

I moved to New York City in the summer of 2003. I had spent the summer living with a friend in a dorm style apartment while I was attending a summer musical theatre program. I decided that NYC was the place for me so I found an apartment via craigslist and moved in on September 6, 2003. My new roommate Julie was lovely and she decided that I should meet her friend Rob who lived in the neighborhood but was also in musical theatre. Luckily Rob was singing in a concert the next weekend so Julie decided that we would go so she could introduce us.

We were late to the concert. I had no idea how long it would take us to get from Astoria to the York Theatre! We were about 15 minutes late and missed the first song that Rob sang that night. The concert was fun and I did get to see him sing a duet later in the show. Afterwards we met in the lobby in front of the now extinct pay phones. He was cute. And tall. I liked that.

Julie and I joined Rob and his cast for a drink afterwards and Rob was complaining about having to lug his guitar with him to a friends birthday party later that night. I offered to take his guitar back to Astoria since we lived near each other. I figured he could come by and get it at a later date. Believe it or not, this was actually just me being nice and not me masterminding a grand, romantic plan. I am from Texas after all where we are bred to be polite.

I saw Rob again the next week when we went to see some really terrible theatre together. It was supposed to be a group outing with friends but everyone cancelled so it suddenly became a date. Interesting how that happens. We walked around the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy and I kept making “Into The Woods” jokes. (bonus points if you know the joke I was making)

Rob eventually came over to get his guitar and I made him dinner. We flirted. We kept seeing each other over the next few weeks and eventually he swept in for a kiss when I wasn’t expecting it. He’s sneaky like that.

Those magical months were almost 10 years ago. We’ve managed to figure out this crazy life of being performers living in New York City. I think. Maybe we haven’t figured it out completely but we are trying together.

Last month Rob took me to The York Theatre where we met to see a show. Afterwards he said that he had a meeting with the company manager to talk about getting a show produced. We walked back into the theatre and this happened.

Flynn Says YES! from Mike Bradley on Vimeo.

I’m really excited about celebrating 10 years together with this amazing man and I can’t think of any better way than with an exchange of vows and a killer dance party. It’s gonna be awesome.

Throwback Thursday

I know I’m a day late. Get over it. GLAMOUR.

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Throwback Thursday

I have a really large head. It’s 2-3 inches larger than the average female head and for some reason this means that I get to wear dark wigs a lot. I don’t know what that means really but I reap the benefits of being seriously brunette from time to time. This is me in 2008, which I actually can’t believe was 5 years ago, doing “Of Thee I Sing” at Bard Summerscape.




Remember my New Year’s resolution? Blogging every week? Whoops.

In my defense, I started back to school three weeks ago and my schedule just went completely to hell. I also got engaged. So I’ve been preoccupied with life and such.

I know what you’re thinking: “Shame on you Amanda!!! You made a commitment to this blog and therefore you shall make yourself blog come hell or high water!” I know loyal reader, I know. I’m sorry I let you down.

I should also add that I did completely redo my website and I couldn’t upload anything for about a week, so there’s that. And speaking of new website,

Do you like my new site????

I worked really hard on it. I think it’s pretty snazzy. My pics by the amazing Billy Bustamante are nailing it. I’m still trying to fix a few kinks so if you see anything that doesn’t work or doesn’t load properly, let me know. I want to make sure it works everywhere.

Now that I’ve apologized profusely I promise to get to blogging.


Throwback Thursday

I’m having new photos taken this weekend with my friend Billy. He’s fabulous and I can’t wait to get some new shots. It’s been a while. So, in the tradition of #ThrowbackThursday, I decided to share with you my first real headshots!! I took these before moving to NYC from a fancy Dallas photographer. It was 2003 and I was 21. (Yes, I am 31 now. Le sigh.) I am obsessed with my jean jacket in this photo. And the fact that the pics are identical except for the facial expression. And what is up with my perfectly shaped mushroom hair? And the weird lighting that gave me roots? I’ve never dyed my hair and never had roots! However, I’d kill for the blonde hair color again. My hair seems to get darker everyday.

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Another JTF in the Books

I returned to NYC Monday after a jam packed weekend in Atlanta with 4,000 of my closest middle school aged friends. The Junior Theatre Festival is such a wonderful experience and I’m so honored that I get to be a part of it every year. JTF is organized by the good people of iTheatrics and Atlanta TUTS. Sponsors include Disney and MTI and the festival is the largest of its kind celebrating both musical theatre and kids.

The weekend kicks off on Friday with all the groups from around the country arriving and registering. After a Friday night reception where all the directors, workshop leaders, staff, and adjudicators get to mingle with each other, the festival officially gets started on Saturday morning with the adjudication process.

The festival is not about competition. Groups don’t come there to compete, but simply to present 15 minutes of their Broadway JR. work and receive feedback from Broadway and theatre professionals. It’s such a great opportunity to present a smattering of the show you’ve been working so hard on and get real feedback that will help celebrate your successes and help you improve where you need it. It’s such a rewarding experience for the kids and directors. It’s also great to see students who excel singled out. Kids that are great dancers are invited to audition for the Choreography DVD’s that are included with every Broadway JR. Director’s Guide. Kids that stand out as being a great part of their team get to be All Stars and learn a number just for them to present at the final awards ceremony. There are even awards for stand outs in acting, dancing, music, and ensemble work. The groups that receive the highest adjudication marks are also presented with the opportunity to perform in the final awards ceremony.

I like the label this weekend “Stop Crying You’re Just Making A Fool Of Yourself” weekend. Seriously. From the second I walked into the theater on Friday morning and saw a group rehearsing Hairspray JR. for the New Works Showcase, I was done. I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps all down my arm and spine. I’m a sucker for kids who can perform well, and I’m even more of a sucker for kids who can’t perform well but are living their life on stage like there is no tomorrow. Needless to say, there was tons of both categories everywhere this weekend.

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I was lucky enough to be a discussion group leader, which is the person that takes a group into a discussion right after they finish their adjudication. It was such a rewarding experience. It was amazing getting to lead the kids in a discussion about how they were feeling about the whole process, why they felt that way, and how they were going to implement the adjudicators notes into their show. Kids are smart and sometimes I think we don’t give them enough credit. They can handle constructive criticism and they can handle pressure. All the kids that I got to chat with were lovely and well rounded. I also taught Advanced Acting classes on Saturday afternoon and had a blast. These kids are really special.

The kids at JTF are given so many fabulous opportunities. They had a Q&A with cast members from Newsies as well as the Pathways to Success chat where former JTF students who now have successful performing careers come back to talk about their success. Alan Menken was given the JTF Award and was so honored. Afterwards he was placed on a chair and given a surprise performance of “Be Our Guest” by a huge group of kids. I wish everyone in the world could have been there to see the look of surprise and tears on Alan’s face. I cried too, not that that was anything new by this point.

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We were even introduced to 9 year old Eli from Marietta, GA who spearheaded a fundraising effort at his school for Sandy victims in East Rockaway. Eli’s school raised $12,000 for the schools and was the cutest little peanut I’ve ever seen. And yes, I cried when they showed the video that he made about raising money. And don’t forget when he said that his favorite fundraising activity was making Origami. Yep. He raised $98 by making and selling Origami. SOMEBODY BRING ME THIS CHILD!!

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The Junior Theatre Festival is so special and I’m so honored to be a part of it every year. There is no way to accurately capture what it’s like in that giant convention center turned theatre when everyone is there. The festival ended with “Seasons of Love” sung by everyone. (click to watch) It was a spectacular way to end the weekend. I’m looking forward to next year!!


The Junior Theatre Festival

This weekend I am headed to The Junior Theatre Festival. JTF is the largest gathering of musical theatre students and educators in the world. The Festival is run by iTheatrics and Atlanta Theatre of the Stars and is a fabulous time for the almost 4,000 students who attend as well as their teachers. The student prepare their abbreviated versions of any Broadway JR title and have the opportunity to present their work for a panel of professionals who give them constructive feedback on their performance to help the students grow as performers. The weekend is also filled with workshops and awards and is something that these students look forward to all year long.

I’ll be working with the kids with their adjudication performances and then teaching Advanced Acting Workshops. There are no words to describe how magical this weekend is not only for the students, but also for the adults that attend as well. I look forward to spending my birthday weekend in Atlanta with the future of musical theatre every year. I wish I could blog everyday of the festival, but there just won’t be time! I will be tweeting though, so stay tuned for pics from the jam packed weekend!