There is something to be said about tenacity. I think the reason I am so effective in my craft is because I found the discipline to seek perfection during my years at The Duke Ellington School of the Arts. So much of the industry is a part of the lives of Ellington Alumni that we tend to lay low and stay in the eye of the storm where we remain unnoticed. Yet there we are, hidden out in the open watching and making the world go round. This is my contribution.
Who Does She Think She Is?
I am a woman of many hats. I try to take my time and indulge in developing my skill set. That means taking the time to develop each thing I love one thing at a time. I sat back for many; many years after a lifetime in the industry as what has affectionately been called my entire life “One of those Hollywood Babies.” I am sure the term has more meaning than I know and I come to understand myself more and more as I mature.
This REFLECTIONS project is here to celebrate the things I love.
This is the Ruby Annv of The Duke Ellington School of the Arts…That is 40 years of magic that would give even Hogwarts a run for its money. Everything about the entertainment industry has to be learned. In order to create things that stand the test of time we dedicate our lives to our artistry. Some like myself have spent our entire lives on stage, back stage, in the wings. We are able to just watch and learn. Its a blessing. We KNOW what we want to see. We KNOW what works through trial and era. We are sometimes quiet until called upon in order to allow ourselves growth. When the time comes however, we morph into show stoppers.
I was chosen to shadow founders Mike Malone and Peggy Cooper Cafritz freshman year and never looked back. Little known fact, I wanted to go to another school and study law. However at that age I tended to be heavily influenced by my bridge jumping friends who attended their own arts school. So, after a vote I decided to leave the world I knew behind and totally immerse myself in Ellington. The vote, three to one, I’m sure was fixed.
I had to work hard. I sacrifice everything for my craft. Some people want to make lots of money. Some people want fame. Some people want to write a best seller. I have very simple taste. I want to do all of the above and inspire, uplift, and even if only one sales quarter, outsell the Bible. Don’t judge me. I spent a significant amount of time studying Theology, I’m fully qualified.
When I tell this story I always leave out the first time I knew I wasn’t the only one who believes in magic, whatever that means to you. To some its surviving a war. To some its a snow day when they haven’t quite studied for a test. To me it was growing up on stage and thinking I’d seen it all until the day I saw the Mike Malone Production Once On This Island. I knew all about special effects, but to see this play staged the way it was took my breath away and I fell in love with the very industry I had always been apart of in that moment.
It would be many years after I saw that play before the infamous “letter” a’la Ellington would appear, sans owl of course. In this the first part of my own Ruby Celebration of what Ellington means to me I will collect and share the stories of the Alumni as well as offering a glimpse into my own world. I do hope you enjoy. Follow me on twitter. @Prototype3224 and please do remember I’m a soap opera writer so my timeline connects THAT world, not so much this one because I do try not to break character. Check out the first in the MaryLand serial available on amazon.com