For anyone who is new to our page, my name is Elizabeth Buechele and I'm the founder of The Smile Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading Happiness through intentional acts of kindness, youth development, and daily gratitude practices. Each year around my birthday, I organize a #BirthdayGiveback campaign to encourage people to use their birthdays in service of others.
This year, for my 28th birthday, I am excited to be supporting two close friends and their work to honor and recognize the theatre community—a community that was hit hard by the pandemic. I hope you will consider reading more, sharing, and donating to this fundraising campaign, designed to support a group of queer artists in New York City as they create a music video that honors and recognizes the resilience of the theatre industry.
Devin Lewis & Jimmy Larkin are two queer theatre performers (and best friends) who decided to find a way to create their own art while the theatre industry was shut down during the pandemic. They take popular musical theatre songs, remix them into pop/dance tracks, and produce a music video featuring as many theatre performers as they can. Other projects the two have worked on have amassed over 300,000 streams on Spotify. Read more about their work at this link from Broadway.com.
Devin and Jimmy have remixed the song "I'm A Star." At its core, this song speaks to performers having what it takes to make it in this business, something all theatre professionals have grappled with during the pandemic. The song features vocals from Solea Pfeiffer and will be choreographed by Phil Colgan.
The video will feature a dancer who will be playing a hopeful performer in New York City. She's currently serving tables to pay her bills. The video follows her through hustling at her day job and juggling auditions, all while cutting back and forth from the reality of her current life contrasted with the glamorous life she sees in her dreams. Sometimes her daydreaming lands us somewhere between the two. All the creatives on this project are queer professionals working in the theatre industry.
Creating a high-quality music video of this caliber takes a dedicated team of artists. By donating to this campaign, you help to offset the costs associated with this, such as: the video production team, equipment and venue rentals, rehearsal spaces, props and costume pieces, and mixing, mastering, and other post production costs.
On a personal note, I grew up surrounded by music and art in all forms. I'm very grateful for that. I am deeply aware of the impact theatre has on people, deeply aware of the impact it has had on me. In October 2021, shortly after Broadway reopened after closing because of the pandemic, I was able to see a show and was brought to tears numerous times by the energy, excitement, and pure joy that was returning to the theatre.
I have watched my friends in the theatre industry work multiple jobs, stay up late to read lines, schedule auditions in between work shifts, and never give up the belief and hope that their dreams are within reach. That's on a good year. The pandemic disrupted the lives of so many theatre professionals—not just actors but costume designers, hair and makeup, stage managers, lighting and tech crews, and so many others. This feels like a meaningful way to celebrate them all.
I hope you’ll consider making a donation to this group of talented artists. And because it wouldn’t be a birthday without gifts and because I'm turning 28, everyone who makes a $28.00 donation will receive a pack of high-quality, waterproof, Smile Project stickers in thanks. And, all donors will be recognized with a special thank you in the video description. Give today.