From toddlerhood, making people laugh and belting out tunes have been my greatest joys. But, growing up in Sugar Land, the path to the stage or screen seemed like a distant fantasy. That all changed during my teenage years when I landed a role in my high school musical, earning a nomination for Best Featured Performer at the very first Tommy Tune Awards! That was the game-changer.
Rozie Curtis, our adjudicator, saw potential where I had only seen impossibility and shared her enthusiasm with my dad, setting me on a path to Theatre Under The Stars and the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre. HSMT became my artistic home – where the dream of being an actor took root and blossomed into a reality. Those classrooms, studios, and performances gave me the building blocks and professional tools early on that let me shape my passion into a profession.
Without a doubt, TUTS changed my life. As an adult, I’ve had the privilege of being part of a dozen TUTS productions as a professional, and countless others across the country. Yet, it’s my time at TUTS that feels like a return home— the impossible made possible every time I step onto that stage. Hosting the 2019 Tommy Tune Awards was a surreal full-circle moment, marking the journey from dreamer to performer.
I could go on and on about the amazing experience I’ve had at every single Theatre Under The Stars production, but the one that stands out the most for me personally and professionally is Seussical. Sharing the Miller Outdoor Theatre stage with peers, students of all abilities, and community members from all walks of life reminded me why I do what I do—the joy we can bring to the community against all odds.
And now, with Cinderella, I find myself in yet another full circle moment. Interacting with teen ensemble members, some of whom I knew from Seussical, brings the journey back to its roots. Even new faces bring the mission and impact of TUTS into focus. When we met, one of the teen ensemble members shared that his journey into musical theatre was guided by none other than Rozie Curtis – TUTS teaching artist and the same person who saw potential in me all those years ago.
Though generations apart, every person on the stage and in the audience is united by the common thread of TUTS and the hope and future it brings. TUTS is still inspiring and training the next generation of artists and arts lovers, making a home for them right here in Houston. It makes me well up with pride. Pride for my city, pride for the students that are still to come, and truly proud of my time here at TUTS.