On the Scene: STORYTELLERS – Cynthia Erivo and André De Shields

On Sunday June 12th I attended Tribeca’s Storyteller Speaker Series with Cynthia Erivo and André De Shields. Broadway has once again opened its doors to live audiences. Cynthia Erivo and André De Shields sat down to discuss the forthcoming documentary entitled Back to Broadway (TIME Studios) from director Jamila Ephron.

Moderated by Zach Stafford, the duo went in depth on what it means to be an artist and to make it in a city such as New York. Before the talk, I had an opportunity to speak with Cynthia on the red carpet. In our short time together, she encouraged young artists to keep creating, keep chatting with others and to have patience. She emphasized the importance of going out there and doing “it.”

She cited the opportunities young people have now that the world is opening up. Before her “big break” she found herself taking any opportunity to practice her craft. Wherever it made sense, she was there.

I also had the immense privilege to speak with André De Shields. A living legend, I asked De Shields how does he stay inspired. “Inspiration is my most important tool.” De Shields proclaims. “Very early in life, I realized what was going to satisfy my soul, and that was to tell stories.” Both De Shields and Erivo have an undeniable captivating presence about them.

It was an overall inspiring and empowering talk. Erivo brought light to the reality of overpriced ticketing on Broadway, and how that is negatively impacting the audiences that are able to come witness live theater. Some of the more notable words of advice De Shields offered included “You cannot take another man’s path to your home.” As well as “Life is a potluck dinner, bring your best dish.”

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