Despite the instinct of many to slow down and relax during the isolation of the pandemic, UMKC Theatre Production Manager Sadie DeSantis started a Youtube show. Her show, “10 @ 10,” holds an interview with a KC creative each episode.
“I’ve worked in many genres of the performing arts in KC – theatre, opera and dance – but many of my co-workers from these different companies don’t know each other. I wanted to change that and allow awesome people to discover one another,” DeSantis said. “It was a perfect way to showcase local talent, give people a chance to be seen, talk to some of my favorite artists, and hear about the causes that are important to them.”
DeSantis said the COVID-19 shutdown was the perfect time to connect with each other.
“Right now, Kansas City performing artists and technicians are all out of work,” she said. “Since the performing arts are very network-based fields, we are able to get face time with other artists by working on shows or attending the work of others. Since this isn’t an option right now, I wanted people to be able to make connections in the city, even if it meant getting to know them virtually.”
So far, DeSantis has had seven guests, and already has plans for more. She explained that she has a sign-up sheet for local creatives to let her know when they’re available.
“Right now, most of the guests have been people I have worked with or UMKC alumni, but I’m excited and hopeful to expand to people I don’t know. Every interview, the guest has something incredibly thought-provoking to say and it makes it a fun personal research project where people in the community get to know people they normally wouldn’t meet,” DeSantis said.
Each episode begins with a lively original theme song. DeSantis explained that the making of the theme song came about through collaboration.
“My theme song was composed by an alumnus of UMKC Theatre, Zack Pierson. I wrote the words and told him to make me a ‘sick beat’ that was a combo of Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash – so he came up with this, sang and recorded it for me,” said DeSantis.
“I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I moved to Kansas City in 2009 and have been here ever since,” said DeSantis. “Even though Kansas City is a huge performing arts town, we often stick to the theatres or venues that we work in and get stuck in a bubble. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people in my 10 years here and I want all of them to know each other and support the companies they work for. The awesome thing about the arts is the collaboration, so the more connections you have, the more collaborating partners you can find.”
Her dream guests are actress Shon Ruffin, dancers Teryn Mejia and Whitney Huell, UMKC Conservatory professor Jennaya Robinson and jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson, she said.
DeSantis is also looking forward to doing her show in person and not via Zoom.
“I miss human interaction,” she said. “Staring at someone on a tiny screen is fun, but I can’t wait to do these face-to-face. Mostly, I’d like to continue to provide a living portal where Kansas City artists can get to know one another and keep making connections to bring us all closer together. During these times, togetherness is more important than ever.”