It's Christmas Eve and I'm sitting in Portland, OR almost exactly a year to the day from when I arrived in Portland last year. It's snowing. And since it's snowing - a teeny tiny flurry - everyone in Portland is freaking out. Seems like the perfect time to do my annual RaeRoShow "Year in Review!"
This year, more than any, has been a memorable one. In many moments – we all wish it'd be less memorable. But I'll save you the details of the horrid "political" year we all had, filled with social injustice and hate... and instead, focus on the positive! And there has been a lot of positives. First off...
Stats: I performed in 83 shows in 2017.
- Doing a one month Artist's Residency with Siren Theater in Portland, OR – did workshops and shows including my solo show, RITES!
- The North Coast Europe Tour!! (#NoCoEuroTo) – performing and teaching in both London and in Reykjavik at the Iceland Improv Festival. An unforgettable trip.
- North Coast spent the day and night at the historic Town Hall on Broadway doing a show with Talking Heads' David Byrne!! WHAT??
- I got cast in Blank! The Musical! - an improvised Off Broadway musical show.
- North Coast brought its Historical Hip Hop'era, Anybody, to the next level with a run of shows at the Connelly Theater in the lower east side.
- Headlining Pittsburgh Comedy Festival doing two incredible Anybody shows with North Coast: Abraham Lincoln and Gloria Steinem
- The epic North Coast 8th Anniversary Show and Party at Littlefield. (Get ready for this years annual celebration!)
- Countless amounts of fun w/ teams, Nemesis and North Coast
- Teaching North Coast Classes - especially some epic 101's
- Co-hosting Couple’s Skate at UCB with the incomparable, Leslie Meisel
- North Coast trips to Baltimore, Providence, Western MA (Happier Valley), and of course doing DCM
- Stumptown Improv Fest with Big Bang! (And some fun press in the Portland Mercury!)
- Being a Panelist at the NYU Gallatin Comedy Festival 2017! “How to Take Back the Stereotypes Used Against Us in Comedic Spaces.”
- You're the Expert live show and podcast recording – Butterflies (Boston)
- Getting my Corporate Improv Training program to the next level... doing workshops for HBO and Finish Line PT, among others!
- Returning to William Alexander Middle School in Park Slope to work with 7th & 8th graders on writing hip hop songs!
How about some Non-Comedy?
I am a person and stuff.
- Oh I dunno... how about meeting the love of my life while I was out in Portland? And he happens to live in NYC? Score 1 huge one for Raero. I met an incredible guy who has changed my life for the better.
- Incredible trip to Ithaca NY and Syracuse with said love of my life.
- Spending time with the Rosenthal family in Pennsylvania
- Awesome road trip to the coast of Oregon and Washington with my NYC Pal, Sam Jackel
- I had a lot of fun getting back into Web Development – doing freelance websites for lots of business, friends, and organizations such as Culinary Art Therapy, Hometown Project, Clyde Media, and BeerProv.
Lastly, I sort of don't know how to write about the past year in comedy without mentioning the, now defunct, Reckless Theatre. I feel like I've kind of been pretending that it never was - or that it never happened. And that seems wrong. The truth is that although the theater is no longer – and it shut down for awful awful reasons (WHAT ELSE IS NEW)... – I personally gained a lot from my short stint there. I gained creative inspiration. I grew as a performer, as a coach, and as an instructor. I discovered a slew of incredible talent in the city I hadn't known about before - and now I am lucky enough to call those talented folks my creative partners and friends.
As for next year, my goal is to increase focus on my Corporate Improv Training biz and see where that takes me! I also have been working on being grateful: grateful for the friends and family who carry me through day to day.
Thank you to North Coast, Nemesis teammates, Reckless collaborators, my Stamford girls, students, theaters, festivals, and every one who has worked with me and inspired me this last year. It's so funny... when I sat down to write this thing, all I could think about was the bad 2017 stuff that we are inundated with on a daily basis. Not only has the world gone to shit, and there is a creepy sexual harasser around every freakin' corner - but I also had my own share of health problems this year. But, after looking through the career moments this past year and compiling this post - I realized just how much amazing work I got to do! And how many talented and loving people I get to interact with on a daily basis! There may be a lot of hate in the world, but my life is full of a lot of love. And I am grateful for that.
Happy New Year!
Header photo credit: Kevin McNair