On morning rituals.

Morning rituals are a staple for self-improvement. Sean Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, calls it his hour of private victory. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, calls it her morning pages. I call it the spiritual gym. 

There’s nothing religious about my daily spiritual gym workout. In fact, the spirit I am flexing is my own. I’ve been doing some form of this workout every single day for the last 5 years, and without fail, the days I’ve had to skip it are usually some of the worst or most wasted that I’ve ever had. Without these practices, there is absolutely no way I’d be able to coordinate an acting career, manage a restaurant, attend events, take class, go to the actual gym, spend time with my loved ones, and sleep 8 hours a night.

It always starts with a coffee, a journal, and a pen. And it goes on for however long it takes me to finish the coffee.

First, I review yesterday.

  • What did I do?

  • How much of that was what I set out to do?

  • How distracted was I?

  • Did I do anything that contributed to my life’s purpose?

  • What was the biggest thing I learned, and how can I implement that into my life and/or work?

  • What can I do better today?

Next, I list some things I am grateful for. These days I’m listing 5, but I’ve been known to do 3, or even 10. After that, I list some things I am manifesting. (I am a firm believer that the Universe provides, but only if it knows what you want. You gotta tell it.)

I then move onto the most important part: today

I begin by writing out my to-do list. (There are 5 things I try to do every day—go to the spiritual gym, go to the actual gym, reach out to someone who is inspiring me right now, submit for acting projects, and practice my craft. It is rare that they all get done, but they show up on every to-do.) Then, I ask myself some pointed questions about my list:

  • Of the most important thing on your to-do, what are some potential obstacles you might face in getting it done?

  • How can you prevent those obstacles?

  • What will you do if/when they arise?

And then finally, some mental work

  • What is the negative, unhelpful story you’re telling yourself today?

  • Why is that story untrue?

A few of the close friends who know about my spiritual gym practice have questioned how I am able to carve out time for it every morning. 

The reality is, I don’t have time not to. 

If you’re thinking about changing (or starting!) your own morning ritual practice, I implore you to ask yourself some hard questions about the obstacles you face during the day and how you can set yourself up for success beforehand. Or if journaling is not your style, check out Daily Rituals by Mason Currey for more ideas on how to structure your day.

BOTS! the Musical (recording!)

Happy fall, friends!

This summer was easily the most project-forward summer of my career, what with creating an all new television reel, getting back into weekly acting classes, and revamping my materials.

Beyond that, I am so stoked to have sung the lead role on a new musical recording, BOTS! the Musical, a new children’s show to be licensed to schools. BOTS! tells the story of a young engineer named Bailey, who helps her school robotics team compete in an annual competition. Along the way, she learns the value in helping her friends and competitors alike. (If you know me, you know that I love a story about a young woman in STEM, so I was beyond delighted to voice the character of Bailey.)

Until next update, I’ll be auditioning, taking class, and eating far too many apples — god I love this season.

Cheers!

All new television reel!

Hello world! I have footage! Check out my all new television reel, featuring two of my favorite characters: Zoe, an apathetic front desk girl at a hip startup who is absolutely over these millennial douchebag CEO’s who come in for meetings with her boss; and Tara, a college stoner whose roommate has been murdered.

I had so much fun working with Nic Marrone (Leaf) and Kristin Quinn (detective) on these scenes. Huge shoutout to Orlando Perez and Carolina Jarufe for the makeup looks!


New York Shorts International Film Festival

Summer is off to a very strong start! I had the pleasure of joining filmmaker Kisha Peart to the New York premier of Audition Antics, a comedy short film we shot last August in NYC. In the film, I play the role of a disgruntled casting associate named Rachel. I’m so proud of the whole team for making such a splash amongst the variety of other genres in the NYSIFF.

Upcoming: watch out for the album release of Cleopatra Experience on June 25th! We’re serving you fierce, we’re serving you ancient, we’re serving you EDM.

we came, we sang, we screlted

Ohhhh, I wanna dance with someboDAY! Yesterday, we closed the US regional premier of THE BODYGUARD at White Plains Performing Arts Center. What a great experience! A huge thanks to everyone who came out to support.

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UP NEXT: a few video projects coming down the pipeline, and getting back into that audition/studio vocal/concert hustle. Rock n’ rolllllll.

the bodyguard

Happy spring! I am so excited to announce that I will be belting out backup vocals in the US regional premier of THE BODYGUARD at White Plains Performing Arts Center! Not only is it exciting to be returning to my WPPAC family (I did the NY regional premier of HEATHERS there a couple of years ago), but this also marks my first show as an EMC actor.

More info on the show and our fierce leading lady, Latoya London (American Idol, The Color Purple tour) can be found here.

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february just flew!

Oh hey internet!

Since I last updated, I’ve been running all over Midtown doing that audition season hustle. Between monitoring class at The Growing Studio, filming self-tapes, and spending too many hours between 35th and 38th St, I can barely hear myself think right now. (But no complaints—I am feeling more grateful than ever to be in so many rooms where it happens. Ha, ha, ha…)

At the end of January, I made a video of Demi Lovato’s SKYSCRAPER with a new arrangement by Lloyd Kikoler. You can watch it here, or on my videos page.

I also sang in a Valentine’s Day cabaret, SWIPE RIGHT, at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (music directed by Nick Wilders). A grand old (drunken) time was had by all.

The last big update is that I finally got myself a video studio: complete with proper lighting and backdrops. This means I’ll be able to make much more (higher quality) music content and self-tapes from my apartment. Let’s go 2019!

That’s it from me this time; manifesting some big news soon!

a strong start to 2019! (january update)

What a weekend! We are back in the thick of it here in 2019, and I could not be more pleased. This month, I’ve had the pleasure of performing in two concerts at 54 Below—first, Gerardo Vallejo’s solo show entitled “A Gentleman in New York” and second, a concert of Rusty Magee’s music, the late husband of Tony-nominee Alison Fraser. [Side note for all musical theatre folks: if you haven’t heard Rusty’s music yet, you need to—such smart writing with a very 90’s New York feel.]

I also recently started an internship position at The Growing Studio, monitoring and being the reader for scenework and classes. So if you’re at the studio, you just may see me! I’m loving how much I’m learning there.

Other than that, the auditions are rolling and I’ve got a few new recording and video projects coming soon. You can also catch me singing next month in SWIPE RIGHT @ The Laurie Beechman, “a night of love, loss, and that awkward moment when the person you meet looks nothing like their pictures”. Save the date for 02/12/19! (I may just tell a Tinder story of yore.)

Cheers!

oh, 2018--you nailed it.

Happy New Year, folks. What a year! 2018 is gonna be hard to let go; so before I shift my mental focus towards the year ahead, here’s my 2018 re-cap.

2018’s highlights:

  • signed with Gregg Baker Management

  • first feature film credit as a principal, on Sundance 2019-bound film, Adam

  • first off-Broadway credit, Cleopatra

  • became SAG-eligible

  • posted new video content and had a collective 11,000+ views

  • shot a music video (coming 2019!)

  • sang the lead on three new musical theatre demos

  • played the lead in two new musical readings

  • had a leading role in my very first short film

  • performed in 3 concerts at The Green Room 42


What’s next, you say? Two chances to see me perform in January:

1.) Gerardo Vallejo’s A Gentleman in New York @ 54 Below, 1/17/19 // 9:30pm.

“Singer, actor, and activist Gerardo Vallejo returns to Feinstein’s/54 Below to present A Gentleman In New York– highlighting the danger, absurdity, and fragile nature of toxic masculinity in our society. Interwoven with heartfelt personal life stories, A Gentleman In New York features songs from the musical theatere cannon, the great American songbook, and top-40 pop classics—both new and old.”


2.) Rusty Magee: Revisited! @ 54 Below, 1/20/19 // 9:30pm.

“Broadway’s brightest stars and hottest up and comers celebrate the legendary life of award-winning composer/lyricist and comedian Rusty Magee in an evening of his tuneful, heartfelt and hilarious music.

An accomplished comedian, singer, actor, and composer/lyricist for theatre, television, film, and commercials, Rusty Magee was one of the most influential artists of Manhattan’s off-Broadway and cabaret scene, whose eclectic voice, style, and influence is still felt to this day.”

sundance / music video / peggy lee (november update)

Happy November! This year has just flown. Here are some exciting bits of news:

1.) SUNDANCE

In 2017, I appeared as a principal dayplayer in Adam, a feature film about an awkward teen who gets catapulted into NYC’s gay and trans activist scene. The feature will now be premiering at Sundance Film Festival! (This is particularly exciting because this was my first principal film credit ever, and I’m so excited to see this project do so well!)

2.) MUSIC VIDEO

And if you’ve known me since 2017, you’ve seen my pop/EDM cover of Mama Who Bore Me from Spring Awakening. This year, with the help of Jeff Daye and Lloyd Kikoler (because who else?), I’m releasing another pop/EDM cover of a showtune (it’s a surprise!), with a video directed by Bobby Godas, shot by Luke Norton, choreographed by Gene Biscontini and featuring Danny Marin and eight fierce AF dancers. My excitement for this project is honestly unparalleled. 

3.) AN EVENING WITH PEGGY LEE @ Green Room 42

I’ll be singing in a Peggy Lee tribute concert on December 15th at The Green Room 42 alongside Tony-Nominee Alison Fraser and Grammy winner Tim Young. I am thrilled to be working on a project so out of my comfort zone—thanks Blake Allen! (If you don’t know her, Peggy Lee was an actress and jazz singer most prolific in the 40’s and 50’s. She even covered the 1921 song “Ain’t We Got Fun” on her 1959 album, which my Great Grandma Pearl used to sing to me all the time.) 


I have a few more (writing, acting, singing, video!) projects coming down the pipeline soon that I don’t want to jinx—but wow, this year (in general) has been so creatively fulfilling, and I can’t believe it’s coming to a close in less than a month. 

cleopatra (october update)

Happy Halloween, friends!

Fall is starting off strong— I am pleased to announce that I snagged my very first Off-Broadway credit as a virtual vocalist for CLEOPATRA EXPERIENCE, opening November 7th at Chelsea Music Hall!

CLEOPATRA is an immersive pop/EDM show that tells the story of Egypt’s late queen. The creative team is fierce, the cast is fierce (it stars Dusty Ray Bottoms!) and the show itself is fierce fierce FIERCE. I cannot wait for the world to hear what we’ve been working on.

Come party with us in Alexandria! It’s going to be an actual ball.

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sing for self love (september update)

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” — Madonna

Summer projects have slowed down, and I have been soul-searching. I find that much of my yearly goal-setting takes place in the fall and winter—there’s something about cooler days that leaves me reflective and thoughtful. Whatever it is, I’ve been doing a lot of necessary “input” lately.

Part of this process is getting clear about what I ultimately want. Here’s a list of what feels good to me right now:

  1. To play roles and sing songs that tell a story of authenticity and autonomy.

  2. To work with other artists who are interested in moving society forward and challenge the status quo.

  3. To make enough money (via art) to eventually pay off my student debts, and live comfortably.

  4. To remain on land where I feel most grounded, and never feel more than a spitting distance from those I love.

I’ve got a couple of video projects and studio gigs in the upcoming months, but in the meantime, going back to square one and asking myself the hard questions has been a necessary exercise. I’m excited to share the future creative ideas that come from doing this.

P.S. I’ve been doing an Instagram challenge called #SINGFORSELFLOVE (created by fellow actor friend and badass human Kerri George) where for 30 days in my story, I post a video singing a cut of whatever song feels good to me that day. Follow me at @sarahkleist to snag a front row seat to this, and check out my story highlights for past songs. I’m on day 21 and I’ve learned so much about myself (and my voice)!

gregg baker / sag-aftra-e / nymf (august update)

Oh hey internet!

Here’s the new section of my website where I tell you all about what I’m currently up to—and in the interest of catching you up to speed, here’s a play-by-play of 2018’s highlights so far: 

This year has been nothin’ but new adventures. After taking the last few months of 2017 to completely re-brand (new headshots, new website, new videos, new materials, new goals!), I signed with GREGG BAKER MANAGEMENT within the first few weeks of the new year. Gregg is fabulous and we have been working together ever since. I love having this man on my team. 

In April, I became SAG-AFTRA-eligible and snagged my first on-camera principal credit from a new feature film called ADAM, directed by Rhys Ernst (Transparent). Since then, I played a leading role in a comedy short, AUDITION ANTICS, produced by the NYC Indie Film Collective and Kisha Peart. I’m beginning to like this on-camera stuff! 

I’ve also been doing plenty of studio vocals this year—in addition to singing on 3 different new musical demos for two different composers, I’ve also created two different video content clips for Instagram and Facebook (with the help of Lloyd Kikoler). Together, the videos have upwards of 7,000 views! [Stay on the lookout for an actual music video, coming this fall. I’m so stoked for this one—this project has been in the works for a while.]

Aaaand, I got to sing in Riley Thomas’ NYMF concert, Defy Your Expectations. Riley’s music is incredible, and I was beyond honored to be a part of the festival.

The hustle has been real this year—between public and private readings of new works, concerts at The Green Room 42, self-tapes, auditions, class, and everything in between, I’m feelin’ extremely fulfilled. And I’ve got a few projects coming up on the pipeline that I can’t wait to share. 

Keep chuggin’.