My thoughts along the way

This Could Be Our Final Chance so, We’ll make it Beautiful

image

Its officially October 13, 2017 which makes it officially opening day of Main Stage Heathers 101. Today marks my last opening night. After six years and over 25 productions today marks the beginning of the end for my time at SoLuna Studio.  While I will be staying with SoLuna for as long as the doors stay open, this is my last show as director/choreographer. Pippin was suppose to be my final show, but when we got approved for the rights for Heathers 101, I took it as a sign to stay on for one more show. I get to close out these next few weeks surrounded by people and artists who have meant the world to me,  and to me there is no better conclusion than that. 

A lot of people have been asking me “Is it really the last show?” “What will you do now?” Will you come back?”  So to answer all those questions my answers are as follows. Yes, this is really my last show. I have no plans to do any other main stage or teen productions. However, I would love to teach some intensives and workshops over the next several months since I love teaching. As far as my plans for the future only time will tell. I plan to apply for fellowships and director/choreographer positions that will hopefully bring my back to New York City on more professional, original and creative projects. Where will end up? I have no clue, none of us do. So let me take this time to put the future aside for a moment and talk about the past and ultimately the present. 

These last six years have been the most stressful, chaotic, amazing, and artistic times of my life. I have literally had every emotion possible on this journey and if you’ve been with me on this ride you know its time for me to say goodbye. However, I wouldn’t change a single moment of it. Megan and I opened SoLuna and I was 23 years old… 23… no one should have let me think I could run a theater at 23 but if you know one thing about me its that I’m stubborn as hell.  I thought owning my own business would be a breeze and that all I’d do is create a bunch of art and live a rich and stress free life. I now look back and laugh at 23 year old Karen, she was far off the mark on almost everything. I’ve made a zillion mistakes but among the mistakes and burned bridges I found myself along the way. I stand here six years later and I have never felt more certain in who I am, and what I want for myself.  I can’t take back the things I’ve done but I can learn from them.  Its taken me six years and many hard looks in the mirror to be where I am now.  So now, I put the mistakes behind me and i look at the positives, and there are so many positives. I have worked with some of the most amazing and creative artists Long Island has to offer. I got to live and breathe theater for six years and take pieces of musical theater that I love and make them fresh and innovative. I’ve worked with  teens and adults who trusted my process and together we made beautiful art that will forever stay with me. It is thanks to every single person who worked with me that I’m the director/choreographer I am today. There are no words than can ever express that type of gratitude. Every person I’ve worked with has made an imprint on me on a personal and creative level.  I’ve been lucky enough to have sent so many students off to college, watched them graduate and start to book jobs.  The students who once were my kids, and now some of my truest friends because we grew together. My heart is full of so much love and thanks.

I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned throughout my time is how to work as a team. My first few shows, I needed to feel like Super-Woman and do everything myself. I truly thought that only I could things the best way possible.  I was so far off, my best work has been with the collaboration of others.  Thank you to Dan, Nick, Haley and Greg who always brought out the best artist in me. Thank you for teaching me what it meant to truly collaborate with someone and making some of my favorite projects along side of me. Its because of you that I have the confidence that I do and that I can to work with and train brilliant creative young minds like Serena who worked with me on Heathers. Thank you to Danny for literally being the best musical director a girl could ask for, for sticking by me through tough times, and for taking so many crazy leaps with me. Thank you to my amazing dance captains who have remembered my work better than I have over the years. A special dance captain shout out has to go to Alyssa, my dance captain MVP who has been with me since day one. We made it girlie, I don’t know how but we did and I love you. 

Thank you to my mom, who has been my  biggest lifeline and best friend through the years. She taught me what it meant to be a strong woman and business owner. Im eternally grateful that she believed in Megan and I when we were so young and helped make our dreams a reality. Thank you for dealing with me, all the chaos and drama, because there was enough to last a lifetime. Thank you doesn’t seem like a big enough statement, but thank you for making our dreams come true. Love you mama.

My biggest thank you goes to my work-wife Megan who I drive insane on a regular basis, but I’m pretty sure she loves me anyway because thats what marriage is. Thank you for seeing this through with me, for being my partner, and for loving and supporting me through our most difficult times.  I’d like to think that we made our teenage selves proud at all we accomplished. We dreamed big, maybe too big but we did it and we did it damn well. I could go on  and on with a laundry list of thank you and love but it still wouldn’t be everything I want to say. So I’ll just say thank you for holding my hand and looking into my eyes and telling me I could do it when I thought I couldn’t. You are the best friend, business partner, and work-wife I could have asked for. I love you and your stuck with me till death do us part (sorry).

So Heathers is it for me, this is the end of the chapter. While its sad and I know i’ll be a wreck on closing, I’m going out on my terms and going out on top. I’ve done pretty much every show I’ve wanted to, I’m with an amazing group of artists and friends, and I’ve seen all my original kids off to college; the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Plus, my main stage Heathers cast has members both new and old, some of whom have been with me since the beginning and they are all beyond stellar and of Broadway caliber.  If this is how I go out, then I did it right. Its been one hell of ride but I plan to cherish these next three weeks and try to drag it out as much as possible. Its my hope that everyone comes back to see Heathers from now till Oct 29, I’d love to be surrounded by nothing but pure love during my final few weeks.  The biggest of thanks to my main stage Heathers cast who made this process a dream for me. I’ve collaborated on so much of this show with you and we all created a show that we could be so insanely proud of. Thank you for making this an epic ending for me. 

So I suppose this is one long letter of thanks and love… but mostly COME SEE HEATHERS since its officially the last time you’ll see a Karen Braun original at SoLuna! I promise it’ll be one of the most amazing things you’ll see this year.  


Oh, and if you read this far I guess I can also promise you that we’ll have one final concert in December where we can all cry together. The concert will be: “The Sky’s the Limit Concert” where it’ll be a gender swap/miscast concert and I’ll have more details to come in the next few weeks!!! <3 

Posted 154 weeks ago