SHOES AND BAGGAGE, the 75 minute solo odyssey, featuring an original score with lyrics by Cheryl and music by Drama Desk nominated and Emmy Award winning composer Tom Kochan, is about the insatiable urge to purchase and possess beautiful things and the deeper feelings that propel this behavior. Broadway veteran actress and Jonathan Larson award-winning writer Cheryl Stern takes us on a wild, hilarious, and heartbreaking ride of hunting and spending as she digs deep to understand her own obsession with shopping.
From her escapades while in the cast of the star-studded Broadway revival of The Women to her stint as coach and host on The Home Shopping Network, Cheryl portrays over two dozen characters, illuminating a secret yet relatable world of retail enslavement.
Today we got a chance to talk with Cheryl about the experience of quarantine shopping during the coronavirus. Here’s what she says:
SPLASH: A show about shopping in a pandemic?! I love it! Please, please tell us why this is important now.
CS: Well, Shoes and Baggage premiered Off B’way in 2016. It’s an autobiographical show about a lifetime of over spending driven by a deep obsession to purchase and possess beautiful things; colluding with family, friends and famous people to compete, self soothe and ultimately crash from the weight of debt and guilt. And it’s a comedy!!! LOL! During the course of this show there is a big need to spend during crisis!! Personal or global! Rejected by peers? Shop, A friend is dying of cancer? Shop. Panic of 9/11? Shop. Now four years later in the middle of this crisis I feel like there is a whole new chapter. I don’t want to shop. At all! Well, maybe for an N95 mask. In Shoes and Baggage, I am searching for change. I seek to be cured from something I know is damaging my relationships and my well- being but I can’t stop. Now, I somehow feel like true change has finally come. The reality of our lives puts it all in perspective. We don’t have manicures, pedicures, haircuts or color and we are just trying to stay healthy and safe from an invisible killer that has taken so many. Shoes and Bags are the farthest thing from my mind.
SPLASH: Can you briefly how this show came about?
CS: I began writing Shoes and Baggage in 2013. I had many episodes that were jotted down about my life as an over spender and under earner but I had never thought of weaving them together or how they would speak to a universal audience. One day, while swimming in our friend’s pool, the idea came like a lightening bolt and I jumped out of the pool and began to create an outline of the stories that would become this show. The Cell Theatre in NYC, developed the show with me and produced it in 2016. A second site specific Off B’way production happened in 2018 with Out of The Box Theatrics who is sponsoring this live stream event.
SPLASH: It may be too early to know, but how do you think shopping will change when this is (yes, let is be soon) behind us?
CS: I think we will be much more mindful of what we are buying. A period of austerity is clearly in our future but that doesn’t mean it will be forever. Just like at the end of WW II, things turned around and clothes became so opulent and desirable in the 50’s. Who knows where we are headed but I feel certain that the obsessive buying will be a thing of the past in our new normal. Hopefully we will learn to value what we have and purchase responsibly in terms of fair trade, environmental consciousness and reasonable spending.
SPLASH: How has doing this benefit helped you?
CS: It’s a time where we need to stay creative and connected. I feel like our voices need to be heard and I am also committed to supporting the theatre companies who have supported me in my growth as an artist. So this is a win/win.
SPLASH: What do you want viewers to take from this experience?
CS: I want to open a conversation about how we spend and why!! And I want us all to take a look at this crisis and how we can grow from the experience and examine our habits with an eye toward healthy change in light of something so out of our control. I hope others will see themselves in my struggle and open up about their own addictions and how they are coping here and now.
For More Info Please Visit: WWW.SHOESANDBAGGAGE.COM