My creative philosophy was influenced, in large part, by three people in my life: my mother, Josephine Cavanaugh; my playwriting professor, Romulus Linney; and the dean of my graduate school, James Lipton, who produced and hosts INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO.
As I was growing up in Edison, New Jersey, a block from the site where Thomas Alva Edison invented the light bulb, my mother was deeply involved in local politics. She registered new voters and worked with community support organizations to make life better for those living around her.
I learned from her to always look forward, to be active in creating and carrying out the design of my own life as I wished it to be. She always supported my creative endeavors, whether acting, singing and dancing professionally, directing, and earning my master’s degree in fine arts.
My creative philosophy is my life philosophy. I use my freedom to create events, and then bring them to fruition on stage. I direct my own life with a purpose, and that is to exercise my own creativity as a writer/performer/director, and also to expand my skills as thoroughly and rapidly as I am able.
This process has allowed me to start my creative life in New Jersey, and then spread it all across the country, from New York City, to Kentucky, to Utah, and all the way to the west coast.
I learned to be practical from Romulus Linney, the great novelist and playwright. He asked simple questions to keep me on track in graduate school: Are the stakes high enough? Is this story interesting? Is it authentic? Do I care about the characters?
And from James Lipton, I saw a great example of how to follow my dreams. After years as a stage and television producer, James saw that the legendary Actors Studio in New York City had a great deal to teach to theatre professionals. He created the professional training and academic program with the also legendary New School University.
He conceived of a television show where master actors would come and speak about their processes and careers to the students. And so INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO was born. James has been continually and expansively creative. And I like to think that we share that desire and that quality.
I have always had what a friend called, “a nose for story”, but in this modern age, the story cannot be limited to “our own backyard. Theatre changes lives, but now as modern storytellers, the story demands to be more original and told in unconventional methods.
Stories must be diversified and at the same time, must be unique to the storyteller’s point of view. My shows explore subject matters that are in the headlines, but I make sure they are told in a tangible level that not only touches the audience, but also causes the audience to think about their life and life choices.
I believe the future of theatre will depend on tangible stories with world themes. I believe that not only will theatre reach more audience members in the near future, but it will be theatre that isn’t afraid to say “This is what’s wrong in the world, and this is how you can fix it!”