Director Rachel Helson knows the worthiness of persistence.
When she was a kid and four of her aunts were identified as having breast cancer, Helson was determined to greatly help for some reason. She used her passion for theater production to stage good results play in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Taking matters into her very own hands at age 15, Helson produced and starred in two stage productions of The Rocky Horror Show at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Together, both shows raised $27,000 for the neighborhood chapter of the Komen For the Cure Foundation.
After she was accepted into NY Universitys Tisch School of the Arts to review Drama, Helson longed to increase Rockys set you back raise money for cancer research.
I didnt know much better, recalls Helson. I thought, well I wish to repeat, but where can you placed on a show in NY? Well, I assume Broadway. THEREFORE I contacted a lot of the theater owners. I knocked on doors, asked to talk with the top of the theater companies. These were saying, like, that are you and just why are you currently knocking on my door, child? Finally the Roundabout Theatre Company decided to rent me the American Airlines Theatre for a night.
She had help. The Roundabout Theatre Company, as opposed to most on Broadway, is really a nonprofit venture that regularly rents its houses. Richard OBrien, the writer of The Rocky Horror Show, gave written permission to Helson to create her version and waived the licensing fee. The majority of the talent volunteered. Helsons show was presented with one nightApril 16, 2007to improve just as much as it might.
Her fearlessness paid. Helson got her first Broadway credits for producing and acting. (She also played Janet, the lead role). Helson secured the others of her cast through the use of IMDBPro to get hold of their representatives. She even got Neil Patrick Harris fly in from LA to play the narrator. THE BRAND NEW York Times wrote concerning the show three days beforehand. The production raised a lot more than $60,000 through ticket sales and corporate sponsorship.
Before she graduated from college, Helson found two more Broadway credits. The latter was a producing credit on the play, Reasons To Be Pretty. An internship with Bernard Telsey, among the nations leading casting directors and the co-founder of MCC Theater (where Reasons had been staged), resulted in a gathering with the shows producers. She ultimately earned a Tony nomination on her behalf work, making her the youngest person in Broadway history to be nominated for the award. I did so not emerge from the womb knowing everything, she insists. I believe I simply fake it pretty much.
If that werent enough, Helson can be an actress. She’s appeared in episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Power. She also appeared on the Steven Soderbergh-directed TV series, the Knick. Actually, Helson credits functioning on the series as inspiration for ultimately pursuing a directing path.
Having the ability to watch [Soderbergh] was inspiring, she says. Addressing work and feel what it had been prefer to be on that set, and become totally immersed for the reason that world, was the gold standard. This is exactly what I aspired to. So, I thought, I better get going.
Since transitioning her career from stage to screen, Helson has directed some movies for Lifetime. The next, HOW EXACTLY TO Live YOUR VERY BEST Death, debuts later this month. Starring Alissa Filoramo (THE HOUSEHOLD Business, Nightmare PTA Moms), Helson describes the film as a thriller in regards to a life coach who gets a touch too involved with among her clients lives.
Yet Helsons interests aren’t limited by stage and screen. After she graduated from college, she and her mother Jan Helson co-authored a book for youth called The Global Game Changers. Inside it, a fictional team of superheroes recruit real-life kids to greatly help change the planet for the higher by serving others. The theory for the book was sparked by Rachels own story of giving back again to the Komen foundation by staging her production of Rocky. The universal lesson: by combining their particular talents making use of their passion, children can discover their very own superpower.
The audience reception to the book led the Helsons to co-found a non-profit of exactly the same name. Global Game Changers curriculum, which targets social-emotional learning through acts of service, is taught in 49 states and 13 countries.
Never someone to slow down, this past year Helson and actress Haskiri Velasquez (Saved By The Bell) shot a number of short educational videos at the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. Those shorts, which transport viewers to the present-day Ground Zero site, are actually section of GGCs 9/11 curriculum for children, developed in collaboration with a grant from AmeriCorps. The curriculum is taught in schools in the united states.
The 9/11 Lesson produced by Global Game Changers, because of an AmeriCorps grant, utilizes activities and principles which are necessary to educating younger generations concerning the events and aftermath of 9/11, says Heather French Henry, former commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs.
For Helson, its powerful to participate a thing that gives tools to children to greatly help understand 9/11 for some reason, which is so difficult for anyone to understand. Personally i think fortunate that Ive had the opportunity to utilize my talents to aid an underlying cause that I value, says Helson. Im thrilled that the videos that I directed for Global Game Changers are section of a more substantial curriculum that honors the heroes of 9/11.