“Jump Off A Cliff” featuring Rachel McEnany

Theme: “Jump Off A Cliff
Storyteller: Rachel McEnany

Even though Rachel McEnany came from long line of daredevils, she often found herself crippled with fear. When getting sober didn’t completely fix that problem, she tried something else entirely: jumping out of a plane. She overcame her fears, found the love of her life, and became the empowered woman she is today.

Performed in “Jump Off A Cliff” on November 3 in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX.

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“Jump Off A Cliff” featuring Emma Vrabel

Theme: “Jump Off A Cliff
Storyteller: Emma Vrabel

When 14-year-old Emma Vrabel took the stage, most in the audience likely knew little about albinism. But with courage, verve, and plenty of humor, Emma gave us all a lesson in humanity, her condition, and self-advocacy.

Performed in “Jump Off A Cliff” on November 3 in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX.

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“Jump Off A Cliff” featuring Dawynn Edwards

Theme: “Jump Off A Cliff
Storyteller: Dawynn Edwards

When Dawynn Edwards shared her hilarious and honest tale of seeking fitness and joining a climbing gym, she had everyone in stitches. “I was wearing a spandex tank top with yoga pants, and feeling scantily clad,” Dawynn said. “Forcing the loops of the harness into my crotch meant every nook and cranny of my personhood was on display.”

Performed in “Jump Off A Cliff” on November 3 in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX.

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“Jump Off A Cliff” featuring Anjelica Ruiz

Theme: “Jump Off A Cliff
Storyteller: Anjelica Ruiz

Blogger Anjelica Ruiz touched many with her brave and beautiful tale of converting to Judaism despite that faith having a dearth of Hispanics and more so, her mother not approving. In the moment she had to finally make a decision, Anjelica stood for one thing: herself.

Performed in “Jump Off A Cliff” on November 3 in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX.

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“Jump Off A Cliff” featuring Tereze Gruntmane

Theme: “Jump Off A Cliff
Storyteller: Tereze Gruntmane

Zaza Couture founder Tereze Gruntmane took the audience on a trip that spanned three children, multiple decades, and the ups and downs of life: from meeting her husband to overcoming adultery—to starting an international clothing line—to finding her own strength and voice.

Performed in “Jump Off A Cliff” on November 3 in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX.

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“Jump Off A Cliff” featuring Amy Pengra Button

Theme: “Jump Off A Cliff
Storyteller: Amy Pengra Button

Kicking off our season opener with a stunningly written story, Amy Pengra Button shared her tale of losing her brother Moss and then finding his spirit again by climbing aboard the very thing that took him: a motorcycle. At first she was frightened, but then, everything changed.

Performed in “Jump Off A Cliff” on November 3 in Hamon Hall at the Winspear Opera House, Dallas, TX.

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“Out From Under The Rug” Featuring Emily Cortez

Theme: “Out From Under The Rug”
Storyteller: Emily Cortez

In her early twenties, Emily Cortez felt her life was really starting to take off when she fell in love with an older man, missed some birth control pills, and suddenly found herself gaining weight and fighting back nausea. With multiple tests confirming her pregnancy, Emily knew she was not ready to be a mother. Going against her Catholic faith, she chose to abort her pregnancy. “Walking into the clinic, I was greeted outside by a middle-aged man holding a sign: ‘You’re going to hell!’” Later, a full range of emotions overtook her, including fear of being judged and a wavering between guilt and non-guilt. Ultimately, however, the experience transformed her: “My unplanned pregnancy helped shape the timid woman I was into the strong, vocal woman I am today. To that protestor who held that sign, I want you to know: I am like you—a person—a human with stories, moments and experiences that have shaped me but do not define me.”

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“Out From Under The Rug” featuring Britt Payne

Theme: “Out From Under The Rug”
Storyteller: Britt Payne

When Britt Payne discovered she was pregnant, she thought “everything would fall into place.” The opposite occurred. “I want the whole package,” the man said, “and you are not it.” Britt questioned everything. “Would I bring this little spirit into the world, knowing that its father would likely dip in and out, a sentence of a lifetime of heartache? Or would I have an abortion and set the spirit free? ” No easy answers, but in choosing to terminate her pregnancy, Britt ventured onto a path of self-love where she realized that she actually is the whole package.

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“Icing On The Cake” featuring Jacob Longoria

Theme: “Icing on the Cake”
Storyteller: Jacob Longoria

With both hilarity and sweetness, Jacob Longoria entertained the audience with a tale about how his 28th birthday went wildly awry. Fired, rejected by a sexy neighbor, and then physically assaulted, he was “bleeding like a 1970s pro-wrestler!” That night, however, everything changed. Spotting the girl of his dreams, Jacob boldly asked, “Are you a single lady by chance?” Indeed she was, and today, she’s his wife!

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“Icing On The Cake” featuring Alyssia Birnbaum

Theme: “Icing on the Cake”
Storyteller: Alyssa Birnbaum

When personal chef, and Mama’s Gotta Eat owner, Alyssia Birnbaum shared her experience of auditioning and participating in the NBC reality cooking show Food Fighters, we were clutching our sides in laughter. “Casting agents were clearly more interested in each person’s story rather than their food,” she recalled. “And I had a great story: Biracial infertile mom who adopts and wants more kids! When it was my turn, I laid it on thick!”

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