These first weeks of 2018 have been busy with a project that is very near and dear to my heart. Every year, La Jolla Playhouse commissions a creative team to create a brand new play for young audiences. This year, in partnership with Honolulu Theatre for Youth, a creative team led by director Eric Johnson have created a new play that focuses on the lives of children in military families. Over 500 military families from all the different branches of service were interviewed to gather true stories that make up the different scenes of the play.
For some who know, I am a proud military brat. My father served in the Navy and Army for 24 years. His service took us to places like Philadelphia, Orlando, Georgia, Alabama and Erlangen, Germany. In total, I went to 13 different schools in 12 years. I have many fond memories of those times, especially when we lived on base in Germany.
In hopes of honoring the community represented in this play, the director wanted to cast actors not only good for the role, but could bring this type of first hand knowledge of being a military brat. Because of this, I was offered the opportunity to be a part of the cast. Throughout the process, he has encouraged us to bring our experiences to the table and allow those experiences to inform how we portray the young people in the play. Not only have I enjoyed bringing a new piece of theatre to life, but it has allowed me to look closer at how my childhood experiences have shaped who I am as an adult. I am ever grateful for this opportunity to connect the dots of my youth, so to speak, to my life now in such a celebrated way.
We will be opening the show next week and will be touring the show to over 20,000 students across San Diego over the next few months. I hope our play brings new understanding to those students about what it's like being in a military family. Sometimes it is really hard. Sometimes it is really easy. Nevertheless, I have always felt immense pride for my father's service and the gift he gave me - the title of military brat.
If you interested to read more about this production and the creative team, here is the link to the recent Broadway World article: