Resonating with the Community
She'll tell you she's a writer, a performer, and an activist, and while she's mostly writing these days, EllaRose Chary has graced the stage often involved in all three pursuits.
"I tell stories that are rooted in the fight for social justice and my activism is telling those stories," she says. "I also really like acting, particularly with a physical theater bent, so I do that whenever I get a chance."
Her first real success in theater came while Chary was only still in college in 2005, when she wrote the musical Moon Mary, selected by Brownbrokers to be the annual student-written, student-produced musical on the main stage at Brown University. Set in the future, Moon Mary tells the story of a girl who lives on the moon by herself because of a failed lunar colony experiment, and then is rescued by an astronaut who brings Mary back to Earth where the real wackiness ensues.
For Chary, it was more than just a success. Moon Mary was a course setter, leading the new writer to pursue her MFA, and connecting her to other theater professionals for life.
Since then, Chary has produced some amazing scripts, including Marrying Me, a Malaysian musical she wrote the lyrics for, along with Malaysian playwright Mark Beau DeSilva and Malaysian composer Onn San. It was produced in 2013 in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, and the run there was sold out.
Although Chary is quick to say that her life experiences help to define some of her work, she also sees a much deeper reach in her writing and acting.
"As a white, queer, Jewish woman who likes musicals and baseball, etc. etc., I don’t think I have to write stories or characters that just reflect that experience, nor do I only connect with characters that are like me," she says. "I feel really privileged to have a had the chance to write pieces in a variety of styles, representing a diversity of characters. And, I strive to put characters in my work who are representative of the world I live in or who may be otherized for some reason, but to not have the fact that those characters are 'other' be their defining trait."
Be on the lookout for Chary's newest effort, a musical, comedy television project called Girls State, featuring strong female characters, original pop songs, complex relationships (and, yes, queer relationships/characters too), and some well-placed spirit cheers.
Keep up with EllaRose at www.ellarosechary.com/