A Case of Kismet, Girl Power, and the THEATRUH! How I Met Kimberly Eaton, Producetress Extraordinaire
Everyone should work in the hospitality industry so that we can all share the common experience of how much it sucks. Almost three years ago, I started working at a restaurant in Jersey where I met a girl who told me that her cousin worked at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Of course, me being the theatre nerd that I am, I was so familiar with the festival (#festivrr “You wish to go to the festival, the festival, the Kiiiing’s festival?”) and I immediately chatted up this new co-worker about her cousin.
At the time, I wasn’t really writing, I was more-so trying to pursue acting as an art form. My new co-worker was chatting me up about all things musical theatre and I became the kid making fresh flour tortillas and singing “Fantine’s Arrest”: “You let your foreman SEHHHHNNNNDD me away. Yes, you were there, and turned aside…”
Two and a Half Men/Women and a Producetress
Wendy’s Shadow was featured at NYMF in the summer of 2015. I will endorse the New York Musical Theatre Festival until the day I die. Which I hope is not for another million years because I want to be The Bicentennial Man. (Literally, every time that movie comes on, I’m crying.) Regardless, NYMF is amazing. It was life-changing. I will never speak a bad word about it. We had opening night parties where I got to chat up Michael Cerveris, run into my boy Joey Contreras (#contrertrias, sorry, Joey, you’re welcome), and party it up with the other cool kids. Then, NYMF asked all of the pieces to present two songs in a cabaret night at The Laurie Beechman. Well, our Tinkerbell was wrapped up in another show but thank god for UNDERSTUDIES, who delivered. (Natalie Sannes was the belle of the ball that evening, and she even got a full performance as Nibs when our show was extended.)
While my singers were killing it, this young woman sat right next to me and introduced herself as Kimberly Eaton, a Broadway Producer currently working as the General Manager for NYMF’s big show: Tonya and Nancy, which seemed pretty funny and starred #JennaLeighGreent. Kimberly was very sweet to me that night and by the end of it exclaimed that we were gonna be ‘best friends.’ That’s a lot for a person to take in on their first encounter. Especially with a real producer. I’m a real person, a real writer, and I produce my own work because I have no other choice, but to be with a young, producer (#producetress) who wants to be your best friend, was a lot.
… And she wanted to see my show and have a meeting because the music was soooyyy beautiful. I’m sweating.
Post NYMF Convo At the #NYBC
Wendy’s Shadow gets extended a performance, it’s published in Playbill.com’s “Top 10 Shows Not to Miss At NYMF,” and I was sitting at New York Beer Company with Kimberly by myself and we were drinking Stellas and sharing a pizza. We spoke about a million subjects – we talked about producing, she talked about her husband, and I talked about my boyfriend at the time. It was friendly and casual. And then she started to ask questions about the show – when Jane was dying, and it was still a bit messy.
“I don’t know,” I said, “We’ve gotten a lot of notes, the show’s in a really great spot time-wise, but I know there are some holes. We both do. We’ve gotta keep working the show. What do you think?”
Kimberly said something that changed my life: “I guess, it’s not really about what I think. I can ask questions about things not making sense to me. I can say the things I liked and the things that I didn’t understand. Will it change anything? I don’t know. I don’t really think it’s my job to tell a writer what to write.”
That was love. That was answers. That was also more questions. That was reassuring. And that was the reason why I took Kimberly with me to go see the Opening Night Preview of First Daughter Suite at The Public. Well, also because Dave had a rehearsal, but if anything, Kimberly was always my second choice.
The Public Anxietryery #ExcitedandScared
“Am I underdressed?” Her answer was no. “Can I cry?” Her answer was ‘duh.’ And that’s how I spent my night, enjoying First Daughter Suite, which I knew was directed by my college director, Kirsten Sanderson. Business cards were at the ready. I was ready for this. I was immensely grateful to have found a girlfriend who loved theatre as much as I do in addition to being a normal human being. There are so many theatre aficionados out there. Everyone has an opinion. Why can’t we just be people? I never had to worry about being introduced at the reception – Kimberly made sure to take care of me.
Kimberly Eaton is my hero. If I had half the balls as her, half her wisdom, half the genuine care and charm as she has, I could take over the world. Kimberly Eaton makes me want to be a better producer, a better writer, a better human being. I will always cherish my friendship with Kimberly, all the free tickets she’s gotten me, and all of the free advice she’s given me. All of the friendship.
It’s so important to remember the people who believed in you first.
Kiss Me Kismet, On #duh #Facebook
I bet you were wondering where does this ‘kismet’ bullshit come in? Well, turns out that Kimberly also told me about some great public bathrooms in midtown that were always fun to hit up when you needed to pop a quick squat. I posted on her wall to say thank you! My CO-WORKER of TWO YEARS now posts in the same thread. HI-JACK! Turns out, my co-worker is Kimberly’s cousin! The same co-worker who told me she had a cousin that worked for NYMF.
I mean, Kimberly is more than a producer. She’s an actor, director, producer, multi-talented extraordinaire. I’m obsessed with her. I wish there were more women like her, unafraid to stand up for their voices in theatre.