Always Evolving & Inspiring, Kate Chapman is Crushin' It!

By Kimberly Dijkstra

Kate Chapman can’t remember ever not being interested in musical theatre. Growing up with a mother who loved musicals and singing in the church from a young age primed her to become the illustrious songstress she became.

Chapman’s first role was Brigitta in “The Sound of Music” at age 10, and she made her professional debut at 19 in the world premiere of “O Pioneers!”, which was recorded for television by PBS, an exciting project for the young actress while still in college for music education.

With a decades-long career on Broadway, in the New York theatre scene, concerts and musicals around the country, and more, Chapman has had many memorable moments on the stage. In her three-and-a-half years in Mary Poppins doing stints as multiple characters, she’d always be on stage for a big number towards the end.

“There was this lighting cue that was so beautiful,” she said. “Just being up there with all of the ensemble members, just about to start the big huge dance number that we all do together, I could feel the energy in the audience every night – that moment was just true magic.”

That particular cue was lavender and looked like a painting.

“Lighting designers are some of the most undercelebrated artists in theatre because they really paint with light,” Chapman said. “It was a moving piece of art.”

While Broadway has rebounded from the pandemic with live performances every night, Chapman took the time to reevaluate her priorities.

“Covid has completely shifted my perception of what I want to be doing with myself and for myself,” she explained.

Chapman has been living “in the middle of nowhere” in Colorado for the past two years and spent some of that lockdown time making an original web series called “Little Kate On the Prairie.”

Despite having had several offers to return to the stage, Chapman has been focusing on other areas of her professional life. She has been working on writing her second book. The first one, “A Pixie’s Prescription: A Fun Toolkit For A Feel Better Life,” was published in 2014 and Chapman has plans to record an audiobook too.

In addition to being an actress, singer, and author, Chapman has been a health coach for the past ten years, recently expanding her expertise into the field of life coaching as well.

“Over time I noticed that my work was kind of shifting more towards life-centric things rather than just health, so when Covid first started, I immediately enrolled in a program to get my life coaching training,” she said.

Consulting with clients all over the world by phone and videocall, she’s able to support them through a difficult time.

“My way of working is through play and fun, and focusing on resilience,” Chapman said. “These one-on-one interactions with people have felt like their own special scenes in a way.”

Her approach is not simply to give advice.

“The techniques are really about that we already know what’s best for ourselves,” she explained. “Sometimes it’s just hard to admit that to ourselves because of culture or family or family pressures, or all kinds of things put us in boxes and it’s hard to say this is who I am! So in life coaching all I do is help people to learn how to access that part of themselves that gives them their answers.”

Chapman’s desire to inspire and help others to live their best, healthiest lives is evident in her writing and YouTube channel. Beyond her books, she writes for several organizations, including Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) a, a professional choir of Broadway artists that believe in the power of music and service to change lives.

Having been involved with BIV for about a decade, Chapman recently started a monthly motivational email, delivering encouragement and positive feelings straight to thousands of inboxes.

“It’s been really great because I can use the work of my life coaching to support a greater community,” she said.

Multitalented and multifaceted, Chapman has long been involved in education, as a college professor at the University of Hartford Hartt School of Music for several years and a teacher at international schools in Uganda.

“I worked with the Ugandan community over there and we made a Broadway-style musical collaborating the international and local arts communities together,” Chapman said.

In nearby Colorado communities, she has worked with students at a performing arts school who hope to go on to be professional artists and hopes to get more involved with regional theatres in the area. Denver and Colorado Springs have particularly vibrant arts scenes.

“I feel like what I am transitioning to a lot is to make sure that I’m helping to pay forward what I’ve been given all these years…and spreading it around a little bit,” she said.

Chapman is not done with performing all together, just on a break while she shares her other gifts and wisdom. She says that theatre should be something she does to renew herself rather than something she depends on to build her up.

“Theatre is hard work,” she said. “I’ve learned over the years I need to treat it with respect and care, and part of that respect and care is making sure that I’m nourishing myself in all different ways outside of theatre.”

While theatre does have the ability to build people up, the industry also has a way of tearing people down sometimes. Chapman has experienced body-shaming, misogyny, and been relegated to work that didn’t challenge her in the way she’d like to be challenged. Going forward, she’d like to be the one telling the story, in her own voice, and has several projects in the works to do that.

Chapman has a one-woman show that she continues to refine and has been in the process of writing a musical for a few years.

“I feel like I get it in a good place, then I just stop for a little while. Part of it is because I don’t really know what I’m doing,” she joked, “and part of it is that I’m having so much fun writing it, I don’t want that to end!”

To keep up with Kate Chapman’s evolving career, visit her website at thekatechapman.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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