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When Jesus Divorced Me, a year long partnership

n 2011, I married an actor. He got a job playing Jesus at a religious theme park in Orlando, FL. Five months into our marriage, he left me for the woman playing Mary Magdalene. The next few years would be full of mental health struggles and turmoil. Once healing had happened, in 2019, I wrote a one woman show for Pittsburgh Fringe. This show, When Jesus Divorced Me, won Best New Script that year. After that win, I thought I may do one or two more fringe festivals. Then, I met the Artistic Director, Virginia Wall Gruenert, and the amazing team at Off the wall Productions. They offered me an amazing opportunity that was followed by another AMAZING opportunity, and then followed by an EXTRAORDINARY opportunity. This is the story of When Jesus Divorced Me and its partnership with Off the wall Productions.  


In the summer of 2023, I met with Ginny and the direction was clear, I was going to take my thirty-five-minute one person show that was just my ukulele and myself and turn it into a seven-five minute journey that could entertain audiences in Pittsburgh and then travel to New York City for a short off-Broadway run. I couldn’t say no but I would be lying if my past self was terrified to say yes. Questions swarmed through my head:  

·         Is the show good enough?  

·         How can I extend the show to 75 minutes and it still be entertaining?  

·         Would I be able to handle that many performances? Would it be too emotional?  

·         Would I not be able to bring any emotion to the performance? My divorce was over a decade old, maybe I could not act through the emotion at all.  

·         I will be working with a director, would I be comfortable talking through these moments with another person, allowing them to see my story in an objective manner?  


Despite all the questions, I said YES. I am glad I did. Off the wall Productions paired me with an amazing creative team. Allison Weakland as my director who held my story and show, bringing humor to the show in places I did not think of and an amazing lighting designer, sound designer, stage mamnager, and projection designer.


Throughout the rewrites and updates, I felt secure with my story being told. The creative team chosen for me had moments of the story that resonated with them and I felt that in their designs. Once the show became solid in Carnegie, we transferred to New York City. After the New York City run, I did not know what was next for my show. However, Off the wall offered one more opportunity I could not refuse, to take the show to Iceland for a week. Allison, my director, and I flew to Iceland to the beautiful Tjarnarbio theater in Reykjavik. We met up with Juliette Louste who would transfer the production and update it for that theater.  


To keep this blogpost short, I will not go into the tiny details, lessons learned, or heartwarming moments from these experiences. I will finish this blogpost with what I felt during most of this journey, gratitude. I am grateful that I was given these opportunities. I am grateful that I was partnered with an amazing director and creative team. My show may have run its course, as great stories do, but I am excited what is next for me as an artist and Off the wall productions as theater company. What lucky show and artist is next?


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