We’ve all had something to say to someone that we never articulated — the ex you wish you’d told off, the teacher you wish you’d thanked, the bully you’d like to show how great your life has become.
CenterStage and J Arts and Ideas at the Jewish Community Center are presenting a show about this very topic, called “The Letter I Never Sent,” and while the actual event won’t take place until March 2, if you’re interested in participating, you have until Jan. 28 to enter.
“We all have words we can’t say,” said CenterStage Director Frank Goodloe III in a news release. “Maybe the person has passed away, or they moved or moved on. Maybe the cost was too high at the time — your job, friendship or even your marriage. We are excited to see what people will submit.”
The idea for the event came to Tymika Prince, a longtime CenterStage performer, when she was working with her vocal instructor.
“I was between shows, between auditions,” she tells Insider. “I was going over things I could add to my repertoire. I kept thinking of songs that were things that you could say to someone if you ever got the chance to.”
She was considering doing a solo cabaret show, but then the idea for “The Letter I Never Sent” came to her. She mentioned it to Goodloe, and he loved it. But Prince got busy and forgot about it, and the idea sat for a few months.
Anne Ensign-Urteaga, the J Arts and Ideas operations and events director, had been working on another show that fell through, and she remembered hearing about Prince’s idea. She believed it was relevant now more than ever.
“I love that it’s near Valentine’s Day and getting into spring and renewal,” says Ensign-Urteaga. “I just love the project. It spoke to me immediately, the shared human experience.”
Organizers are accepting letters through Monday, Jan. 28, and they plan on narrowing it down to 12 to 20 letters. The authors of the letters will read them on stage, and Prince, along with Andrew Newton, Alonzo Richmond and Katelyn Webb, will perform songs that go along with the themes of the letters.
The team will work with the authors, coaching them a bit before their performance.
“We’ll talk about how to tell a good story, and, if we need to, do any tweak edits with them to make it a cohesive thing,” says Ensign-Urteaga. “We’re not going to say, ‘Hey, we picked ya, show up at this date.’”
The show will have minimal set design, and participants can wear whatever they want.
“They’re already getting up there divulging what they maybe didn’t have the confidence to say, so we’ll just let you wear what you feel comfortable in, because you’re already reading this letter,” Prince adds.
Ensign-Urteaga hopes the letters are touching and demonstrate a commonality in human heartbreak and endurance.
“For me, (what I liked about it) was getting the feeling out that you aren’t alone,” she says. “So you’ve had your heart broken — so has pretty much everyone. Or maybe it could go deep. Maybe you were abused as a child. You’re not alone. There’s someone else out there who has been there, too. That’s what I wanted — the shared human experience, going through it together and not being quiet about some of these things anymore. That’s what really spoke to me about this project, and I was thrilled about doing it.”
If you’d like to submit your letter to be considered, the rules and directions are online. There is no submission fee, and the deadline is midnight on Monday, Jan. 28.
Tickets to the March 2 show are $18 and will include a reception afterwards for authors and audience members. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and is for mature audiences only. The Jewish Community Center is located 3600 Dutchmans Lane.