When the Circus Came to Broadway (Part One)

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Hey there, friends, Welcome back to the CreatiVisibility Podcast, with your host, Bret Shuford. Today, I'm thrilled to share a unique and captivating journey with you all. We're going to embark on a series of stories that trace back to 2015 when I was part of a truly extraordinary experience on Broadway. Strap in as I take you through the ups, downs, and unexpected twists that unfolded during this memorable chapter of my life.

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Back in Time to 2015: Amazing Grace

Okay, now let's turn back the clock to 2015. Picture this: I was doing a musical on Broadway called "Amazing Grace." This show revolved around the life of John Newton, the man who penned the iconic hymn, "Amazing Grace." He started off in the 18th century as a young man involved in the slave trade in England. The story delved deep into English law and the harrowing reality of the triangle slave trade. It was a powerful and disturbing narrative that made me question a lot of things.

A Troubled Production

The challenges of "Amazing Grace" went beyond its thematic content. Most of the creative team was white, which felt incongruent with the show's subject matter. From the director to the writer-composer, there were notable issues. The show had its merits, like stunning costumes and sets, but it had glaring problems.

I vividly remember our out-of-town tryout in Chicago. Doubts started to creep in, and I began looking for other work because I wasn't convinced that this show would make it to Broadway. You see, in the world of musical theater, you learn to be skeptical about shows making it big.

A Temporary Departure

So, I decided to take on another opportunity – a role as a director for Royal Caribbean's production of "We Will Rock You." I helped mount the first production of this musical on a brand-new cruise ship in Germany. It was an adventurous but challenging job, one that gave me a unique perspective on the entertainment industry, particularly the cruise ship sector.

A Surprising Return

But then, life threw me a curveball. While I was in Germany, I received a call – "Amazing Grace" was heading to Broadway. Talk about unexpected twists! I had to make a tough decision: continue with the cruise ship job or return to the bright lights of Broadway.

The Enigmatic Audition

And here's where the story takes another intriguing turn. I found myself auditioning for a musical produced by a major global circus company – not your typical Broadway production. The audition was unlike any I'd experienced before. There was no traditional music, minimal direction, and an odd atmosphere that left me wondering.

A Contract in Limbo

As I decided to return to Broadway, things got even more bizarre. I received a contract that lacked clarity, and the terms were unconventional. The production had its own language and terminology, which only added to the confusion. Equity's involvement in the situation added another layer of complexity.

Stay Tuned for More

So, here's the deal: I've got a lot more to share about this unforgettable journey, and I've decided to call it "Parallel: The Day the Circus Came to Broadway." I promise you, it's a story worth hearing, filled with unconventional methods, behind-the-scenes insights, and a Broadway production that defied all norms.

Thanks for joining me on this rollercoaster ride through my Broadway experience. Stay tuned for the next chapter in the series, where I'll dive deeper into this incredible journey. It's time to be courageously creative and share this story with the world.


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