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Posts tagged ‘Amy Oestreicher’

Amy Oestreicher in her hit one-woman musical Gutless & Grateful

Following sold-out runs at The Triad NYC, The Bijou Theatre, United Solo Festival, Barrington Stage Company (Tony-Award winning William Finn’s Cabaret Series) and a nationwide tour from Washington D.C. to Hawaii, the captivating Amy Oestreicher will bring her hit one-woman musical Gutless & Grateful back to NYC at the internationally acclaimed Metropolitan Room on February 5th and 25th, 2017.  Through interwoven song and dialogue, performer Amy Oestreicher shares a primal piece of live-storytelling – weaving her near death experience and inspiring perspective with an eclectic set of songs, hilariously highlighting struggles, triumphs and “beautiful detours” in her life.

“Gutless & Grateful is not a story about a victim, but one of a survivor. Amy has channeled the pain of her experiences into something far greater.” – Michelle Alerte (Woman Around Town)

gutless-grateful-1

Nominated for “Best Theatre Debut” in 2012 (Broadway World), and Bistro Awards Top Pick, and featured in Huffington Post, Gutless & Grateful, takes audiences on a musical journey of determination, grit and “guts” as Oestreicher shares her humor, her strength, and her soaring vocals with the world. Oestreicher’s script was inspired by the thousands of journal entries she kept over the six years she endured unable to eat a morsel of food or drink a drop of liquid.  Co-conceived by Oestreicher and musical director David Brunetti, the show is directed by Broadway-veteran Jerold Goldstein, also on piano.  “Gutless” also features the song “Still Alive” which was written for Amy by acclaimed composer David Friedman with lyrics by TV personality and lyricist Kathie Lee Gifford, after she appeared on NBC’s TODAY Show in 2011.

“One part moving testament to human indomitability, the other a thoroughly satisfying evening of song. While each element is strong enough to stand on its own, combined they illuminate and enhance each other. Rarely have I seen narration and song so artfully meshed, and Oestreicher’s likeability, good humor, interpretive skill, and manifest commitment to what she is saying and singing make us not only understand her story, but also feel it on a very deep level.”
-Roy Sander (critic for BistroAwards.com)

Amy had ambitious plans for Broadway, until she abruptly developed a blood clot the week before her high school senior prom. After being rushed to the hospital, her stomach exploded in the operating room, and after both her lungs collapsed, she nearly died. After waking up from a coma several months later, she was told she no longer had a stomach, and it was unknown whether she would ever be able to eat or drink again . After 27 surgeries and six of the past ten years unable to drink a drop of fluid, Amy’s digestive system was miraculously reconstructed and she learned that the human spirit heals through “gutsiness”, gratitude, and an overabundance of humor.
Amy Oestreicher is an artist, author, speaker for RAINN and TEDx, writer for The Huffington Post, award-winning health advocate, actress and playwright, eagerly sharing the lessons learned from a decade of trauma through her writing, performance, art and speaking.  Amy’s story and show have appeared on the TODAY Show, CBS, WNBC Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, Unmistakable Creative, Good Housekeeping, among others, and her writings have appeared in over 70 notable lifestyle, wellness, and arts publications.  Amy’s “beautiful detour” inspired her to create the #LoveMyDetour movement, a campaign inspiring people to flourish because of, rather than in spite of challenges- also the subject of her ’16 TEDx Talk and upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour. Oestreicher will also be giving another TEDx Talk this February in Virginia.

Oestreicher’s story is always inspirational and surprisingly funny.” – Paulanne Simmons (Times Square Chronicles)

Come for a moving night of song, stories and possibilities, all in a 70-minute musical comedy. Gutless & Grateful is no ordinary one-woman show, but a powerhouse production that leaves the audience in tears, laughing hysterically, and savoring every last bite as though it were their very first.

Amy Oestreicher in Gutless & Grateful plays the Metropolitan Room on 34 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010, on February 5th at 7pm and March 26th  at7pm.  Doors open 30 minutes beforehand.

Tickets start at $24 and there is a two drink minimum.. Tickets and information are available at http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=239500 and by calling (212) 206-0440

For more information on Oestreicher’s unique story and highly esteemed show, visit www.amyoes.com  and follow her on Twitter @amyoes or Facebook @amyoestr

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The Secret to Getting Back on Track: How to Love Your “Detour”

Guest post by Amy Oestreicher

I’ll be taking my own story to Boston College next week to show students that a detour is not a dead end.  Somehow I’ve managed to cram more surgeries than I can count into a one-woman autobiographical musical, a presentation on mental health, and a takeaway that difficulties can truly make you stronger.  Ten years of uncertainty and setbacks were frustrating and difficult, but the lessons I learned from that beautiful detour – yes, you heard that right – are truly immeasurable.

Managing Difficult Thoughts on a…”Detour”

A Detour: You’re on a road, and you have to make an unexpected turn.  Sounds like life, right?

I’m the only person in the world that feels this hopeless. 

How can things ever get better?

 I must be crazy.

I feel so alone.

These thoughts raced through my head for years.

When Life Takes A Detour…

These were thoughts I had when my “thought-out” life took a detour.

What’s a detour?

A detour is a curve in the road, a bump in a path, a big sign in the middle of your trip that says sorry, you have to go THAT way.

Nobody expects a detour to happen in life. Its what happens when we think we have things planned and all figured out, and then we’re thrown a curveball.
Believe me, I didn’t expect to be in a coma my senior year of high school.

It’s a mouthful, I know.  That was my detour. I thought that in just a few months my path would lead right to college.

The most important thing I learned about a detour?  You can still live a happy, healthy fulfilling life.  I even got to college – at 25!

But the great part about a “detour”?  You get to travel a route you never would have expected.  The road may be tough, long, winding, and seemingly out of the way, but what I finally realized is, it’s the twists and turns in life that ultimately make us who we are.

Now that I’m also in my third year of college, I’ve realized that physical and mental health issues are things we all think about, even if we don’t label what we experience as an “illness”.

We all need to learn how to cope when life doesn’t go like we expect it to. We all could use a few tips on learning how to love who we are.  We all have detours in our lives, and we become empowered when we trust that we can travel those detours and come out okay – even better! This “detour” in my path has turned into the richest time of my life and I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. That’s why I call it my “beautiful detour.”

The Secret to Finding Your Way on a Detour…

Sharing your story.

Seriously.

Gutless & Grateful, the honest one-woman musical story of my life, shows the great and not so great aspects of a “detour” in life.  How I traveled my “detour” was by trial and error – and it still is.  But what I realized is that when I finally spoke up ,asked for help when I needed it, and shared my story, I was finally able to heal and move on from it.  Gutless & Grateful is the story of how I became a Detourist.

Sharing Our Detours

Why am I sharing my detour? It takes “guts” to talk – and sing – about my sexual abuse ,my anger, my guilt, how I lost hope in things ever getting better.  But I share to show that things DO get better with patience, trust and resilience.

I share to give courage and a sense of belonging to people who are struggling with all kinds of mental health or physical challenges, but also to help build a campus that gives everyone the kind of awareness and generosity of spirit that makes that world a better place. If we all share our “detours”, we see that our detours are not detours at all.  Every road leads somewhere – we just need to hang in long enough to catch the flowers along the way. The more we share our detours, the more we realize we’re not alone. 

How Will You Share Yours?

Just talk.  Share.  Sing a song, do a dance – or if you’re not a theatre ham like me, draw a picture, journal or tell a friend.  Heck, post it on Facebook.  (But careful with the oversharing.) Your story – your detour –  is worth sharing  You never know if someone else is struggling with a very similar detour – or at least feeling the same kind of uncertainty when a path doesn’t go as you expect.

“Life may be nothing but a series of detours.” 
– Marty Rubin

My detour is taking me to Boston College 2/29.  From there, well, the beauty of a detour is you don’t where it may lead.

Just remember to:

  1. Show up.
  2. Trust that you are capable.
  3. Be curious to see where the detour may lead.

Detours lead to new, unexpected and amazing opportunities.

What will you find on your detour today?

All artwork was created by Amy to take care of her own mental health. Learn about her mental health advocacy programs, her art giveaways for students, and find out how to take part in the #LoveMyDetour movement, striving to create compassion through stories.

 

 

 

Mixed Media Art by Amy Oestreicher (Part 3)

 The works below are the third and final part of a series here on Creative Dreamers featuring the art of Amy Oestreicher. Check out her bio below for more information.

Singing Tree Revisited

Singing Tree

This was the very first painting I ever did.  I was stuck at Yale Hospital for months recovering from a surgery that went horribly wrong.  My mother started buying art supplies from a nearby craft store just to keep me busy, especially since I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything.  I woke up early one morning, and just started to paint what I was feeling sitting on my hospital bed.  My extreme sad n ess was somehow transformed into a colorful scene of exuberance, and has now become my signature piece.  Greeting cards and posters are available on my online storefront and Etsy, in the hopes that my singing tree can also transform someone else’s sorrow into joy.

Lovers and the Snow

Lovers-in-the-Snow

The initial motivation behind this piece was that I had a huge cardboard box lying around and I really wanted to tear it apart.  By gluing the scraps to a canvas, painting over everything,  and adding my two “lovers”, even I was surprised by the fantastical winter sky that emerged.

Mommy Can’t Fix This

Mommy Cant Fix This

This was another piece I created in the hospital, and one of the most requested – however, it’s difficult for me to part with this one because it gave me so much comfort at such a difficult time in my life, and I think it shares a message that everyone can relate to.  I am now selling greeting cards of Mommy Can’t Fix This on my online storefront and Etsy.

I am Myself

I am myself

The pieces I have the most fun creating are the ones that I have no expectations for.  This started by some random shredding and gluing of newsoapers, magazines,  coupons, plastic wrap, gum wrappers, and whatever else I was about to throw out.  Then, I spent hours just painting layers and layers of paint, trying to obscure some of the printed text.  Eventually, this face emerged.

Holding My World

Holding my world

I paint to feel, and also to express my connection to the universe.   A lot of my art has stemmed from the yearning to once again feel part of the world, after a decade of medical isolation and trauma.

Artist bio:
Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. More information on her  story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and  you can visit her Etsy shop as well.

How Creativity Therapy Saved My Life

By Amy Oestreicher

My name is Amy Oestreicher, and according to doctors, I am a “surgical disaster.”  However, at 28, I feel truly blessed.  I may not have a stomach, but I sure am hungry for life.  It started in 2005 – a week before my senior prom.  It was our second night of Passover, and my stomach started hurting.  My dad said it might be gas, but he took me to the ER for an x-ray, just in case.  On the way there, my cheeks actually puffed up, soon after, I collapsed, and I woke up from my coma months later.  Apparently, there was a blood clot on the mesenteric artery that caused a thrombosis, and when they cut into me, my stomach actually burst to the top of the OR.  Both of my lungs collapsed, I went into sepsis shock, and I needed 122 units of blood to keep me alive.   At 18, I was read my last rites.

When I finally awoke from my coma months later, the doctors finally told me what was going on.  I had no stomach anymore, I couldn’t eat or drink, and it was not known when or if I would ever be able to again.  What do you say to that?  I was shocked – I had been too sleepy to be hungry, but now that I knew what the real circumstances were, I was devastated.  I was confused, like I had woken up in someone else’s life – where was I?  Who was I?  I remember I was once so desperate for answers that I googled “How do I find myself?”

Part of me wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear, part of me wanted to throw something.  I was frustrated – I had just gotten my college acceptance letters – was I the victim of some cruel joke?

One day, I picked up a paintbrush.  And my world changed.  I had found a way to express things that were too complicated, painful and overwhelming to put into words.  Suddenly, when the uncertainty around me seemed frighteningly unmanageable, the strokes of my paintbrush could soothe me as I created a peaceful world that my soul longed to rest in as a place of peaceful solace.  My passion could ignite instead of my anger and despair.  And slowly, the good feelings overwhelmed the bad because I could control the positive world portrayed on my canvases with what my subconscious chose to create.  And I still believe that attitude is everything.

You don’t need to be an “artist” to make art – all you need to do is start somewhere.  Art doesn’t have to be “good”, it just has to be “real.”  What draws me back again and again to my paintbrush is that when I hold it in my hands, no one can judge me – all that matters is what I’m feeling inside.  Through painting, I’ve discovered feelings I’ve suppressed that I had never even anticipated.  Every day I come to my painting, I may be feeling something diferent.  I could paint the most joyful expression in the world, or just a giant tear drop – but every time, I always walk away feeling better.  I’ve realized what I was feeling – and I’d rather feel everything than nothing at all.

Creativity became my lifeline.  What I wanted to keep my mind and heart numb to not deal with difficult circumstances, art could help me unlock those feelings and truly express myself.

Who knew that art would make my medical trauma become the most amazing adventure and lesson of my life?  Art helped me process what I was feeling.  But most importantly, art served to be the greatest reward, acting as a medium where I could still engage with my community, reach out to others, and make a difference in this world while utilizing my passion.  Arts were my way of connecting with the world, sharing my story, and spreading my message of hope, strength, and finding beauty in whatever life brings you.  My art may be self-taught, but it is personal, uniquely me, and a mosaic of what I have been through.

As a child, the arts were my passion and identity.  When my traumas occurred, they became my lifeline.  Now that I am out of my medical crisis and into a life of health and vitality once again, the arts are how I can reconnect with the world, make a difference, and raise awareness – awareness ofthe power of ones internal resources, awareness that there are many ways to heal externally and internally, and awareness of the human potential and spirit.  An awareness of gratitude – that every day and moment should be celebrated – that life is a canvas, an open score, a bare stage, waiting for us to join the dance!

I found art accidentally on my way to healing physically, emotionally and spiritually and have learned that it is one of the most rewarding, forgiving, beautiful ways to find my way through the darkness and into the light.  I may have found it accidentally, but because of art, I have found myself again.  Although left with a few scars, I am long past my bleak days in the hospital.  With, my wonderfully supportive family, my passion and a paintbrush, I was able to keep my soul alive for that uncertain time in my life.  Life may always be predictable, but art can always find the beauty in the detours.

BIO:

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life.  Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others.  Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons.  Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings.

More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog http://www.allspiceandacrylics.blogspot.com/ for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.  You can also visit her Etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/AllspiceandAcrylics?ref=hdr_shop_menu

 

Mixed Media Art by Amy Oestreicher

The works below are a start of a series here on Creative Dreamers that will feature the art of Amy Oestreicher. Check out her bio below for more information.

Dancing Girl

 Dancing Girl

I love being a scavenger, collecting bits of fabrics, scraps of materials, and v seeing what I can create.  My dancing girl was created from an eclectic mix of whatever I could find!

Tree Thoughts

Tree Thoughts

This was another hospital creation, and an exercise on resourcefulness.  I used toilet paper from the hospital bathroom for texture, some old magazines and fabrics, just to recreate my trees, which give me so much comfort even now.

Bloom

Bloom

I used many different fabrics here to create the polarities I felt when trying to figure out who I was after being suddenly displaced from my “former ” life.  Every surgery seemed to separate a piece of me, and I expressed this with odds and ends of fabric.

Artist bio:

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life. Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others. Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings. More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.

Intrusion – A Poem

By Amy Oestreicher

Whether I am the trespasser, alien
The outcast, the tortoise turned on its side
I can see the stream from here
And I long to dance with the source.

Can I fish for you, blue glimpse?
A glimpse of the word as it was intended to be?
The realism thrills me

In a world of
Perfec
t:
geometricshapes,painted signs,brightredautomobiles,

my hollow shell overflows with relief.
For I have now caught the world in coy disarray, in bashful asymmetry.
(I’m sorry I disturbed you – I had thought you were done changing)

But fair lilies in the stream, let me flatter you:

You are such unperturbed beauty; a beautiful mess
Some divine energy had a penchant for modern art.

This trail I stumble down begs to recount to me, pleads, “Can I tell you a story?”
Of What? What – some kind of archetypal tale to us with its paw prints, bird calls, freaks and daddy long legs crawling under rocks like blue crabs
Moist air
Shadowed filth
rocking trees comforting one another in this dark forest community.
Blue forest glimpse – you are my catch and my soul is your bait.
Here is my glimpse of the world as it was intended to be
Realism thrills me as the wind now thrills your branches.

In a world of perfect geometric shapes, of painted signs, of bright red automobiles…
I’ve wandered, lonely and seeking a friend, and I ask, can I belong?
Crumble-crumble-crumble
I venture down and down further, and down.
I am a lone pebble, but unstranded, moving with the stream of wind that caresses the branches above me.

In each crumble, I breathe in the equalizing power of nature, of burgeoning love that transcends the limitations of being 5’3 when the trees are so tall.

The air sings and swells with a knowing comfort, a tune I have heard my whole life, as constant as the seasons

and now, I look up at the dense ceiling of trees and whisper, “Thanks.”
before even realizing that I had said it.

And now the dance begins! The dance that I can join too!
And the violins play, and there are brass, and winds, and chords, and reeds, and strings, and shrubs, pebbles, rocks, debris and slugs – sound and color and light!
Trees start to rock back and forth
dance with my awe,
They reply, “Yes.” Yes!

I am the lone pebble tymbling and tumbling, being shaped and molded by the ground beneath me, as it has beneath centiures and centures of lava and strata
And then I stop for I am stopped

A large oak tree firmly itself from the others.

I whispered to it, “Tree, sway for me…sway for me please…” it didn’t budge.

I’m lowered from my floating enchantment.

My soul-bait is anchored once again, as a fervent wind dodges
Corner to corner
Boomerang from trunk to trunk
Wind so dynamic it flickers like fire.

Wind so hasty it drenches flimsier trees with its own leaking madness.

All limbs of the forest shake madly now
All limbs of my body petrified with wonderment.

We are all shaking madly! dizzy and startled by the whippings of the delirious wind

Nature restores its internal pulse
The wind’s wrath quickly wearies
Settles
Smaller gusts
Internal pulsing
Regulation
Even nature must sleep
Internal pulsing
prompts a limb of the stubborn oak tree to coyly bob up and down.
And the world was finally in sync.

I thank this forest sanctuary one more time before I leave.
I am a most welcome trespasser, and my shell is filled with burgeoning blue light

Goodnight, forest.

And all I could think about was how wonderful it would be to hold someone’s hand, staring at the trees together, in simultaneous awe, no words in our breath but all winds in our souls.

from your trunk

 

“From Your Trunk”  – Artwork also by Amy Oestreicher

Amy Oestreicher is a 28 year old actress, musician, teacher, composer, dancer, writer, artist, yogi, foodie, and general lover of life.  Surviving and thriving through a coma, 27 surgeries and other trauma has inspired Amy to share her story with the world through her passionate desire to create and help others.  Piecing her life together after her initial dreams of performing musical theatre took on a beautiful detour into broader horizons.  Amy has written, directed and starred in a one woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, has flourished as a mixed media and acrylic artist, with her art in multiple galleries and mounting dozens of solo art shows, and continues to share her story through her art, music, theatre and writings.  More information on her unique story, as well as her creative ventures can be found at amyoes.com, and visit her blog http://www.allspiceandacrylics.blogspot.com/ for her newest art, music and inspirational musings.

The story of the multi-talented Amy Oestreicher and her beautiful music

Music has always been a powerful resource for me.  As a kid, I was always writing songs in my head, daydreaming about producing my own musical with original songs.  But songwriting proved to be instrumental in helping me discover my own voice again after my life took a dramatic turn.

As a child, the arts were my passion and identity.  When my traumas occurred, they became my lifeline.    I grew up all my life in theatre.  I was singing, dancing, acting and creating since the time I could talk.  I lived my life believing I would carve a beautiful career out for myself in the world of musical theatre, be on Broadway, and conquer the world.  However, at 18, and a week before my senior prom, I found myself in intense pain – very suddenly and randomly.  I was rushed to the ER, and to summarize very briefly, my stomach exploded, I was in a coma for six months, and I was unable to eat or drink a drop of water for over three years.  After 27 surgeries, I was miraculously reconnected with whatever I had left.  However, to persevere through those tumultuous years took great inner and outer strength.  I relied on my creativity to get through.  My therapy was purely based in the world of theatre, art, writing, dance, music, and whatever else I felt was an area that I could express myself appropriately.  The arts were a way for me to express whatever felt too painful and overwhelming to put into words.  They also helped me process what I was feeling.  But most importantly, they served to be the greatest reward acting as a medium where I could still engage with my community, reach out to others, and make a difference in this world while utilizing my passion.  Arts were my way of connecting with the world, sharing my story, and spreading my message of hope, strength, and finding beauty in whatever life brings you.

To find myself again after so many medical interventions, I painted, I danced, I wrote, I sang – but it was the act of writing and putting those words to music – to sing them from my gut – this was what allowed me to accept my body again – a body vastly different from the one I grew up in.

Songwriting was my therapy, and within a month, I had written over thirty songs.  This song was based on some journal writings I had done when reflecting on life in the hospital.   I wanted the world to know what I had been through – to give the outside world a glimpse of my story, to explain why I came to be who I am, to “justify” why I may seem a “madwoman” after so many years of trauma…this song was my way of letting people in.

Read and learn more about Amy on her official website today or by checking out her blog.

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