The Birth of Broadway On The Side
Updated: Feb 12
Welcome to Broadway On The Side. A unique yet on-the-nose name for this relatively young nonprofit charitable organization. Our mission is to revitalize theatre in communities through education, cultural access, and building restoration and construction. But if you're here, you are probably wanting to know a little bit more about us than our mission statement. So let me give you a quick introduction.
WHO WE ARE
Broadway On The Side is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation funded by ticket sales and the support of volunteers and community contributors. We are led by a board of directors who are local patrons of the arts and members of the community. We focus on education for those who are interested in the arts, providing an accessible and user-friendly musical theatre experience for enthusiasts and newcomers alike, and showcasing professional as well as local and emerging talent. We have created a safe space where we aim to provide an environment that fosters ideas and creativity and allows us to grow as performers while simultaneously giving back to the community. We believe that in order to succeed, one needs to feel safe - safe enough to try something new, safe enough to make mistakes, and even safe enough to fall flat on one's face. We believe this because when it happens, that is when we can seize the opportunity to nurture one another and turn those experiences into successes.
HOW WE CAME TO BE
After having both great and less-than-great experiences in theatre ranging from community to professional, a couple of us took a long look at what the South Puget Sound area in Washington State had to offer regarding both theatre education as well as opportunities to perform. After taking it all in, we came up with the idea of a company that gives children and adults, local and visiting artists, and students and professionals a place to be creative and step out of the pigeonhole they may repeatedly find themselves in. We also wanted to provide exposure for performers and the community to music(als) that they might not otherwise get the chance to experience. So, we made the idea a reality and in the small town of Sumner, Washington in 2014, Broadway On The Side was born.
After a few years of what we liked to call success, Broadway On The Side was then re-established in Valencia, California with a home base in the mountains of North Ogden, Utah in December 2019. Then, all of our anticipation, excitement, and well-planned programs came to a screeching halt when the world shut down in 2020. Regardless, our Board of Directors persevered. Safely. The downtime allowed us to take inventory and plan for the unpredictable. So we re-examined ourselves as an organization. One of the things we found was that both Seattle and Salt Lake City are known for their quality theatre and talent. But we also found that when you move outside the metro-bubble of any big arts city, there is just as much quality and talent as well as unseen and untapped potential. We learned so much from our communities and our endeavors; and after much searching, we came to the conclusion that there is truly nothing like Broadway On The Side. We have studied, researched, and asked for feedback and came to a realization that we wanted to support, add to, and collaborate with the area's performing arts community instead of competing against it. In fact, one of the ways we show that support is by the fact that we try to plan and schedule our shows and rehearsals around the performing lives of cast members - whether students, teachers, directors, or professionals. We believe that everyone can learn something from anyone and that learning never stops.
WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT
We favor the cabaret style similar to a musical revue. We plan our shows so that all music is arranged to allow the music and performers - cast and live combo (when we have it) alike - to truly shine. Oftentimes, a performer is not cast in a role because they do not fit the director's vision which is understood and respected. This can mean that someone who may be cast as a Wicked Step-Sister may never get the chance to play Cinderella due to the constraints of casting a full-fledged musical. So what we decided to do is provide something a little bit different, something that allows us to cast against the standard and give performers a chance to do something they may otherwise not have the opportunity to do - maybe it's a role they are not the right race or gender for, maybe they direct shows but never get to be in them, or maybe there's a wonderful song that never gets performed because the show it's from is simply terrible. That is why we do what we do. But it's not just for the performers, it's for our community and the surrounding areas so we all can enjoy a little more Broadway... on the side.