The Azure Sky in Oz is showing May 19-28, 2023 here at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre!
The true stories of two women whose lives are changed by the neurodiverse. Starring MHU Theatre Arts Graduate and long-time SART company member, Amanda Ladd.
We reached out to Amanda Ladd to find out more about her and this upcoming production.
Tell us a bit about the creation of this show.
Bill Leavengood, the playwright, has known Michelle Fuelner-Castro and Mary Tilford for decades. He wrote this play about two good friends who he has seen struggle and triumph in their own life experiences with neurodiversity. Michelle, as an artist and mother, and Mary as an educator and champion for those with special needs.
Bill & Amanda met at New Circle Theatre Company in New York City. They have been long-term collaborators and friends. Bill asked Amanda to collaborate on this project in December 2021 with a successful run of the show at Studio Grand Central in St. Pete, FL.
Amanda then took the production to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in August 2022 for 28 performances. It was a hit with reviewers and audiences at the Fringe. The Scotsman newspaper called the show, “genuinely inspirational.”
Azure was also an official selection of the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row in NYC in October 2022 where it sold out and extended for an encore performance.
In what ways is this show so important?
THE AZURE SKY IN OZ is important because they are true stories about topics that don't get discussed enough. This show shines a light on neurodiversity and the teachers and caretakers of those who are differently abled. In short, it seeks to make the invisible visible.
What about this show do you think will stick with audiences?
The truth of these women's stories. The honesty of how hard it can be, but also how rewarding it is to be an artist, mother, and teacher to those with neurodiversity. These stories inspire and connect the community.
How did you get into theatre?
I have been performing professionally since I was 16 years old. I got my BFA in musical theatre from Mars Hill in 2002. From there I worked on cruise lines, toured the country, and moved to NYC where I have been for over 20 years now pursuing my life as an artist in the theatre.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the area?
Perform at SART! And hike. My husband & I recently bought a home in Wolf Laurel and love spending part of the year here in the mountains.
What have you loved about working on this production?
The collaboration with Bill, Mary, & Michelle. Playing real-life women who have touched so many people's lives & been a personal inspiration in my work. Connecting with audiences across the world and hearing how common these stories are and how connected our human experience continues to be.
What have you loved so far about working with Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre?
It is home. It has been a genesis for so much of who I am and I love SART more than any other company in the world.
Amanda Ladd is a NYC-based actor where she is a member of New Circle Repertory Theatre (NCTC). Amanda is a graduate of Mars Hill & has been a part of the SART history since 1999. She has appeared in 13 SART productions over the years. She was most recently seen in I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE at the Player's Circle Theatre. THE AZURE SKY IN OZ was an official selection at the United Solo Festival at Theatre Row in NYC. She also had a successful run of the show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2022. Other recent credits: NCTC's production of MRS HANK by Randy Noojin, THE SISTER-MOTHERS OF GULFPORT, and THE AZURE SKY IN OZ by Bill Leavengood at Studio Grand Central in her hometown of St. Pete, FL. Other favorite credits include NO EXIT at SoHo Rep, GREATER TUNA at Okoboji Summer Theatre, and THE HANS PROJECT with NY Theatre Ensemble. Favorite SART productions: NOISES OFF, THE SPITFIRE GRILL, KISS ME KATE, TRADIN' PAINT, and THE MIRACLE WORKER. She is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association. Amanda lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband Brian & little dog Lou.
The Azure Sky in Oz is showing May 19-28, 2023 here at Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre. Grab your tickets here: https://www.sartplays.com/49