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Nashville Bound

Updated: Apr 24, 2022

My show will be at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville, February 10-12, 2023, yes that’s NEXT year. Things get booked way ahead of time. I’ve never been to Nashville, a vibrant and happening place, and I am really looking forward to being there. Since booking this show, I’ve started doing research on Nashville (population 700,000 +/-) and the Latino community which is currently estimated to be between 10-14%. When it comes to public schools 20% of Nashville’s students are Latino. And Latinos are both immigrants (Mexican, Columbian, Cuban, but not just) and native-born people who have moved from other states seeking jobs, education, and what everyone wants: opportunity.

According to my preliminary research: “Nashville has become a trendy destination for immigrants due to a healthy job market and relatively low cost of living. The city is home to large populations of Mexicans, Kurds, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Arabs, and Bantus. There are also small communities of Pashtuns from Pakistan and Afghanistan, mostly concentrated in Antioch. Nashville is home to the largest population of Kurdish people in the country, while many of around 60,000 Bhutanese refugees admitted to the country settled in the area. There is also an active American Jewish community here with a history dating back more than 150 years.”

Wow. I can’t want to see this place and check out the variety of food, and of course, the great music venues.

I’m looking forward to reaching out to people and am pleased to know that Nashville has a Hispanic Bar Association, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Family Foundation, Latino Health Coalition, and many other organizations serving our community. If you know folks in Nashville, I’d love to connect with them. I plan to do outreach to the African American community and other communities as well. TPAC staff and I are already brainstorming some post-show talkbacks with Latino and African American lawyers to discuss civil rights and the importance of collaboration and having each other’s backs.

Here’s what TPAC’s press materials had to say about our shows:

“The theater series includes three powerful solo shows, including LeLand Gantt’s Rhapsody in Black and Irma Herrera’s Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name? — both of which explore themes of race and power structures in America. And Thaddeus Phillips’ 17 Border Crossings takes an “engrossing look at the imaginary lines that divide up the world and the very real barriers they create.”

So how, you might wonder, did my show get booked by this amazingly beautiful theater in Tennessee?

In January 2020, I attended APAP’s annual conference in NYC. APAP is the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and the world's leading convening for the performing arts industry. Thousands of people descend upon several hotels in NYC and there are workshops and hundreds of short preview shows at hotels, as well as numerous theaters around the City. I was part of a contingent of solo performers from The Marsh Theater in San Francisco. APAP Conference attracts bands, dance troupes, solo performers, musicians playing classical music, clowns, puppeteers, you name it. I had a field day watching solo performers from around the country. I performed one 15-minute preview show at APAP and the hope for any performer is that someone out there will see your show and engage you.

Six weeks after APAP, COVID-19 wreaked havoc and upended all our lives, with theaters and so many other places closing down for the better part of two years.

Fast forward to January 2022, and APAP holds a hybrid conference both online and in person. I didn’t go. But the agent for The Marsh was there and TPAC inquired about my show. And voilà three years later, I get to perform at the beautiful Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville. So you just never know . . .

Not planning to travel to Nashville to see my updated show the weekend of February 10-12, 2023? Fair enough. If you live in the SF Bay Area you can see my FIRST LIVE performance since March 2020 on May 19th at Stage Werx Theater. Tickets here.

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