Name: Amy Oestreicher
What is your current project? Gutless and Grateful
Where are you performing it and why is it the right fit for your piece?
I had always loved musical theatre and was always fascinated by how the art of song and story could be so seamlessly woven together to share a universal message and to inspire others. Coming out of a coma just as I was supposed to be entering my freshman year of college was disorienting. Suddenly, the career path that had seemed apparent to me my entire life was pushed to the wayside while I fought for my life.
Although I had lost my ability to speak for a while, I committed myself to arts that I could express – I lost myself in the world of painting and mixed media and mounted three professional art shows. The Today show heard about my story and my art, and on their segment, I met David Friedman, a kind soul and a talented composer. I approached him with the idea of working together on a cabaret act. Two years later, using excerpts from my thousands of journal entries, and (some original) songs Gutless & Grateful premiered in New York.
Theatre has always been my first love and felt like natural medium to tell my story. I had experienced years of setbacks, triumphs and frustrations in isolation. I didn’t appreciate the full scope of what I had undergone, and the impact it would have on others, until I got my story out there. As a performer, I long to connect with my community and share a message that will inspire others – that is the power of theatre. This was the first time I was telling my story in my own words as opposed to news coverage or word of mouth. It was my way of reclaiming my identity as a performer, and reclaiming the stage with an even stronger message.
Helping yourself is a reward in one respect, but to know that your own struggles can heal others is transformative and uplifting.
I’m so excited to be performing at New York New Works Theatre Festival. This is a perfect fit for me, because I’ve been touring the show for five years and it’s touched the hearts of audiences nationwide. Now, I long to take my show on an even bigger scale, and show this amazing panel when I’ve been up to!
What’s next for you?
Since it’s premiere, I’ve been performing it in theatres, hospitals, and groups in need of any kind of inspiration and encouragement. When I realized how combining powerful firsthand experience could transform lives, I developed my little-show-that-could into a mental health advocacy and sexual assault prevention program for students. Nearly losing my life at 18 years old, I’m now reaching out to students at that same pivotal point in their own lives. I hope to keep touring it internationally and eventually find a home in a small off Broadway Theatre. Hoping to tour more cities, a small extended engagement in NY, and also work on my full length drama, Imprints, which just had its first staged reading in NYC in May! Follow me and subscribe at amyoes.com for updates…
Who is your biggest inspiration right at this moment and why?
My older brother Matt, who is a jazz musician and so much more.. He has shown me that you can create art and be an artist, but still be successful and business savvy without “selling out.” He somehow achieves an amazing balance between work, life, play, creativity, and zen. He’s lived in India and gone on silent meditations, taught yoga, and is very into Eastern philosophy, and on the other end he’s producing up a storm with his music, he’s in the house band for Amateur Night at the Apollo in Harlem, and he’s even making his Broadway Debut in Smokey Joe’s Cafe this Fall! And he just got married! My brother Matt shows me you can do it all…while still taking care of yourself!
Other social media
instagram.com/amyoes70, youtube.com/amyoes70, patreon.com/amyo, linkedin.com/in/amyoes, facebook.com/amyoestr
Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright, sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking. As the creator of the Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman autobiographical musical, she’s toured theatres nationwide, along with a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness and Broadway Theatre for college campuses and international conferences. Her original, full-length drama, Imprints, premiered at the NYC Producer’s Club in May 2016, exploring how trauma affects the family as well as the individual. To celebrate her own “beautiful detour”, Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign, to help others cope in the face of unexpected events. “Detourism” is also the subject of her TEDx and upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour, available December 2017. As Eastern Regional Recipient of Convatec’s Great Comebacks Award, she’s contributed to over 70 notable online and print publications, and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, among others. Learn more: amyoes.com and support her work at patreon.com/amyo.
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