Gilda in a New Dress

Gilda Presents!Howdy, Gilda friends! It’s been a wild ride the last year backstage with Gilda. When one is the sole power in the producer/director chair, keeping things on track and on schedule when the world spins like a dervish can be quite a challenge. Among the heart-soaring accomplishments with the friends who have been part of Gilda Shedstecker Presents! there have been heart-rending disappointments as well.

The focus of 2018 became our colossal move to southern California, so Gilda went into hiatus after 2017’s Hell, with the Holidays. And truthfully, it’s taken a lot of soul-searching to determine what to do about Gilda since then. Unpacking prop pieces and scripts and costumes, I’ve wondered if there’s even a place for Gilda Shedstecker here in the Mojave Desert. Maybe not.

So the first thing I did was put myself back on stage, back in the actor’s spot, and oh, honey, how much wonderful fun that’s been. After living in the director’s chair spending all your time building up others, you forget what it’s like to bring those characters to life yourself. You forget how much it means to touch an audience with a performance. And frankly, you forget how good you are. I’m working with the caliber of directors I’ve never known before, and earning not just praise, but affirmation for my technique and ability. I need to not invest all my energy making a place for others on the stage.

So what about Gilda? Well, I’m the heart of Gilda and oh, there’s definitely a place for Gilda in SoCal. Well, first, for California, Gilda loses her surname, because (you know) it’s California. Gilda Shedstecker Presents! becomes Gilda Presents! And Gilda has never been a community theatre, but always an expression of my art, the shows I want to do, with the people I want to work with. I’m looking at venues to bring some of my favorites to audiences here in the Basin and down into Palm Springs. These audiences need the stories I want to tell as much as any others. And some even more.

Now, I’ll let you in on a lesson I’ve learned. Some of the greatest disappointments in Gilda’s history have been when I’ve built productions for specific actors, and those opportunities haven’t been valued, the actors flaked out, and the vision never came to fruition. It’s been bitter for me, and heart-breaking to the others who were part of the dream. I can only imagine what it must be like to have someone ask, “You say you want to star in this show? Let’s talk. I’ll put up the money for it and direct you!” I come from a world where you audition for parts and hope, hope, hope you’ll get cast, but it’s the height of ego to create and star in a show for yourself. Hmm. I guess it’s well past time to let that go. I’ve done that for other people, wonderful people, but nobody is ever going to do that for me, because other people AREN’T ME. But I’ve watched and learned from some of my peers who put themselves on stage all the time. It’s not vanity; they have the chops to pull it off. Like I’ve been told I do. How marvelous is that? So part of Gilda’s focus will be producing personal properties for myself as well as bringing collaborations to life.

All good entertainers know when it’s time to reinvent themselves. A year and a geographic cure have been the chrysalis I’ve needed. I thank all the wonderful friends who have been the GSP family from the bottom of my heart, and I look forward to embracing the Gilda friends we’ve yet to meet! I thank and honor the incredible audiences who have supported and applauded us. Love and blessing to all!

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