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Happy summer! Ring of Keys is growing fast: we now have over 300 members in 40 cities across the United States, the UK, and Canada. It’s still hard to believe we’re only 18 months old! Our new website redesign is still underway - look out for a launch in early fall.

  I am excited about our developing partnerships with Theatre Communications Group, NYMF, and more to be announced soon!

 Thanks, as always, for your support of Ring of Keys and helping to ensure we queer the stage.

Andrea Prestinario

Executive Director / Co-founder
Introducing a new section featuring KEY PROJECTS that need a little help!
Need help financing a new project? Looking to fill a position? Have a space you can offer? Searching for a running buddy? Submit your asks and offers to info@ringofkeys.org for inclusion in the September newsletter!
 
EMAIL NOW
NYC:
Mixer with Broad Views on Broadway
BVOB is a music and theatre company in NYC that strives to provide an enriching, nurturing environment for LGBTQIA+ and POC artists.

DATE: Thursday, August 22nd
TIME: 7—10pm
LOCATION: Lucky Jack's

129 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
CHICAGO:
The Coffee Studio

DATE: Sunday, August 25th
TIME: 10am
LOCATION: The Coffee Studio

5628 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

KEY / PROJECT SPOTLIGHT:
Donnie Cianciotto & Trans Voices Cabaret

Trans Voices Cabaret's mission is to raise the visibility of trans and nonbinary performers, to build relationships and foster a community with casting directors and theater companies, and to highlight the talents of marginalized performers who are often overlooked by the entertainment business. New York City is the home of the original Trans Voices Cabaret show, created in 2017 by transgender actor and performer, Donnie Cianciotto. Since its creation, Trans Voices Cabaret has been featured on Playbill.com, BroadwayWorld.com, appeared in the Broadway Blue Wave Concert directed by Rachel Chavkin, is featured in the upcoming documentary DONNIE by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Ania Augustowska, performs regularly at the Edie Windsor SAGE Center as well as The Duplex Cabaret and Piano Bar, and can be seen performing in fundraisers and concerts throughout the five boroughs. Trans Voices Cabaret was thrilled to add a Chicago branch in 2018, and our newest branch in London earlier this year.

What inspired you to create Trans Voices Cabaret?

I kept running into the same group of TGNB performers every time there was an audition in NY for a transgender or nonbinary character. Each audition was a reunion of sorts with all of us, as different as we were, going for the same single role. I thought it would be refreshing to see us all onstage together, highlighting our talents and diversity without competing for a part - just celebrating TGNB performers. I created Trans Voices Cabaret in 2017 as a way to spotlight members of theTGNB community, and also to show (cis) casting directors, talent agents, producers, etc., that not only are there plenty of talented trans and nonbinary actors ready and able to work, but that there is a lot more to all of us than merely our "transness."
How have you seen the theatre community change since creating TVC and establishing your mission?
For a long time I would see casting notices that specified only that a character was "transgender" and nothing else. There'd be little to no more information regarding that character's personality, appearance, age - nothing. It was as if their entire identity was reduced to being transgender. This is why that same group of us kept running into one another at auditions despite being different ages, sizes, races, vocal types, gender identities, etc. It always felt as though casting had no real clue who they were actually looking for. Recently I've started to see casting notices for trans and nonbinary characters that are more specific and in-depth - the way notices for cis characters tend to be. This could just be a coincidence, but I think that since TGNB performers have started to have more exposure, the entertainment community is starting to realize that if you just put out a call for a "trans" person, you're going to get an entire spectrum of individuals and types because there is no one way to be trans. We aren't "one size fits all." We are complex, diverse, multi-faceted people and the characters we play should be as well.

TVC now has branches in London and Chicago. How are they similar or different to the NYC “flagship” production? Have you been able to see either city’s production in person?

I have not yet been able to attend a show in either Chicago or London, but I certainly hope to in the future! I have watched many of the live-streams and videos from the events and the talent is just remarkable! London joined the family most recently and although they did have a special kick-off event in July that included some performances, their first official TVC show will be at the end of August. Chicago has been with us since 2018 and consistently turns out stellar, sold-out productions. NYC's Trans Voices Cabaret tends to do more shows per year than either Chicago or London (plans to), although we did slow down a bit from our 8 shows in 2018 to 4 shows in 2019. Much of that was in part to my own scheduling conflicts this year, and trying to develop a more healthy balance of that whole life/work thing which is hard for me when I'm really passionate about something. Each company also has its own mission statement, although they all share the same tenets. These are all large cities but vastly different when it comes to opportunities for TGNB performers, politics, acceptance and support, etc. I have absolute faith in the folks who helm the TVC branches (Lars Ebsworth in Chicago and Amy Ann Kemp and Harrison Knight in London) to know what will work the best for their respective branches and to implement things as they see fit.

How has Ring of Keys helped amplify TVC and your career?

Ring of Keys is amazing and has put me in touch with so many TGNB entertainers and theater artists across the country that I otherwise may not have met. It's also been a great resource for TGNB artists to find out about Trans Voices Cabaret, and several people have reached out because they "found me" through Ring of Keys. I know it's also been a wonderful resource for TVC cast members who have met collaborators and been booked through ROK members who have attended TVC shows. One of my favorite things about ROK is it's inclusion of not just TGNB people, but specifically of transmasculine folks like myself. I didn't come out until I was older and had by that point lived most of my life as a queer woman, and I would have loved to have had access to a group like this back then. I'm grateful that this group is as inclusive as it is and a transmasc friendly place - I often say "I grew up a lesbian" (cause it's true) and have had a hard time finding welcoming spaces since my transition. Ring of Keys has helped me feel like I still have a place in this community.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to share, personally or with TVC?

I will be debuting my first solo show in NYC on September 27th, 9:30pm at The Duplex! The show is called LESBI(M)AN, includes an all queer/TGNC band, and features what I lovingly refer to as "the lesbian music that made me the man I am today." I'm hoping to be able to offer a ROK discount and will certainly share more info soon!
BUY TICKETS
Trans Voices Cabaret NYC's next show is on November 9th, 9:30pm, at The Duplex and will feature not only local performers, but performers from our Chicago and London branches as well! It's our 2 year anniversary show, so it will be an excellent time! 
BUY TICKETS
Headshot photo credit: @THEGINGERB3ARDMEN

KNOWLEDGE IN THE RING

Check out the Gender Explosion Initiative, a New England based effort to effect change to make the theatre community more inclusive!
Education materials courtesy of https://www.stagesource.org/page/GenderExplosion
Do you have work that you want us to showcase? Let us know! Reply to this email, or use the hashtag #ringofkeys on your social media posts so we can know about all the great stuff going on with our Members.
Be sure to check out our growing KEY member directory!
DONATE TO RING OF KEYS
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