Many stars aim to be a “triple threat”- singer, dancer, and actor – but Ciara Renée is upping the ante by adding playwright to her list of accomplishments. Already well-known within the Broadway community for her roles as The Witch in Big Fish, the Leading Player in Pippin, and most recently as Esmeralda in the Papermill Playhouse’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Renée’s new musical Anything But Love marks her writing debut and will make its world premiere tomorrow, June 26, at 9:30pm at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
Tickets, which range from $25 to $60, are still available through the Feinstein’s/54 Below website.
Co-written by Renée and Ariana Taxman, Anything But Love follows three young women with contrasting personalities who are struggling on their paths of dating and love, while dealing with society’s prescribed paradigms for both. The cast stars Alison Luff (Les Miserables, Matilda), Janet Krupin (If/Then, Bring It On), Chris McCarrell (Les Miserables, Peter Pan Live!) and others.
Anything But Love, which was originally inspired by lyricist/composer Arielle O’Keefe’s upcoming Girl Blue music project, blends tribal chants, folk-rock story-telling, and a contemporary pop sound. The vibrant concert will feature loop pedals, audience participation, and some insight into the wild world of love.
Renée, who was a breakout television star this year with her role as Kendra/Hawkgirl on The CW’s The Legends of Tomorrow, told Stage Door Dish that writing is “ten times more nerve-wracking” than performing.
“When you’re writing the biggest responsibility lands on you,” Renée said. “But I know for certain that my experience as an actress is exactly why I’m able to write anything halfway decent at all. I’ve worked with a lot of different scripts, and a lot of different writers with very different styles. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.”
Premiering Anything But Love is a big step for Renée as it publicizes her lifelong personal passion for writing.
“I’ve doubted my writing abilities ever since elementary school when I had a few teachers scold me for writing too much,” Renée said. “Once we were asked to write a two page fictional story. I wrote 46 pages and was divinely dissatisfied with it. I had so much more I could have done with the storyline and the characters. I should have known then that I was actually really well-equipped to be a writer!”
It is the journey of an artist to realize that the validity their art is not dependent on someone else’s approval, and now that Renée has conquered that journey, she is ready to embark on the next.
“We’re ready to give our first presentation of the bare bones storyline, and the incredible music that Arielle has been working furiously on to edit, fill out and even finish. We’re excited to start getting a gauge on how people will react to this story.”