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SHERYL LEE RALPH as Mrs. Claus at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
28.5 million viewers | 7.2 rating in 19-49 demographic

I led the creative ideation, deck and pitch for a historic first - the first Black Mrs. Claus, Sheryl Lee Ralph. She was my #1 pick. As Broadway and Hollywood’s mother, aunt and principal her warmth and kindness made her THE choice. When the agency started to reach out to talent, they warned me that with a short timeline, we might burn through my list. Like magic, she accepted. 


To dream up the creative and its integration is one thing, but to see it actually come to life (in the eleventh hour of a parade that lives under a microscope) was life-changing. For 96 years, the parade has been a tradition for millions, but I still believe that we have a social responsibility to our audience.  I was insistent that the choice to have Mrs. Claus be a Black woman was the right one. It emphasized what we’ve known all along: the Clauses are magic. They may look different on or at any given day, location, or mall. That’s how magic works, it doesn’t make logical sense.  Sometimes she might have an uncanny ability to look like Emmy award winner Sheryl Lee Ralph.

Broadway debut at 20!

It was the summer after I had my big break in NYC as a WICKED Intern. I was certain that that would catapult me into a dream internship - maybe at The Muny or at Disney. 


I humbly found myself at a theatre in country Missouri, selling peach cobbler at intermission and teaching during the day. I had interviewed for an internship at Broadway producing office TBD Theatricals, and though I didn’t get it, before I left NYC, they offered me a spot in their cohort designed to help provide underrepresented artists opportunities into commercial producing. It gave me rare face time with prominent producers Hunter Arnold and Kayla Greenspan, so on lunch breaks from the cobbler, I would hide in my kitchen as I took calls with them to learn how to find and pitch a show to investors I found (for the record, my family did not just write a check!). I had to raise upwards of $50,000, and fast: to receive billing and continue to learn a side of the industry that has historically shut people like me out. At 20 years old, my name appeared in a Broadway Playbill for the first time (and I did it again on Little Shop!). I missed opening night - I didn’t want to break my cobbler contract, and rest on my laurels just for one fleeting evening. The whole experience was an incredible lesson in how our industry can lift you up and keep you grounded in the same season - and that your passion for it has to be for the love, not the flowers.

NYU'S Musical Theatre Collective
Co-founding NYU's first tuition-free musical theatre education program for young people

While obtaining my undergraduate degree at NYU in Educational Theatre, I was disheartened to see universally high tuition prices for middle and high schoolers to have access to diverse & high-quality musical theatre arts education. I was similarly shocked by my alma mater’s ability to grant me a degree in education without ever requiring me to appear in front of a group of students.  To solve both problems, in partnership with my best friend Sabeen Shalwani, we leveraged NYU’s facility, campus, and teaching artists in training, and invited young people in to receive free training and be part of a musical. It was an unprecedented huge feat - the liability, having no pathway to follow.


We spread the word (with no support from the university), and families flocked. Even though the program was unfounded, guardians trusted us implicitly with the lives of their children. But, as the saying goes, if you build it, they will come.

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