Stuy Town woman performing in benefit show

Emily Ruderman, member of theater troupe that benefits charities (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

When Stuy Town resident Emily Ruderman made a shift in her career away from the arts, it happened to coincide with the beginning of her involvement in a Manhattan theater troupe, giving her a new creative outlet.

Ruderman, who used to work for nonprofit Roundabout Theatre and later Nickelodeon, started as a project manager at the advertising agency Grey about five months ago, and became a member of the Blue Hill Troupe about a month before starting her new job.

The all-volunteer troupe is based uptown and produces a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta and a Broadway musical every year, as well as a concert, to benefit various charities throughout the city. The organization focuses on one charity each year and this year is partnering with Rocking the Boat, a Bronx-based nonprofit that teaches high school students about science and math through boatbuilding and sailing programs.

The spring show for the company is “City of Angels.” It premiered on April 21 and will have its final two shows this coming weekend at El Teatro of El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem.

Ruderman learned about the troupe through a voice coach she’s been working with, and she said that she’d been looking for a more casual way to get involved in theater than it seemed was available.

“It’s hard to find a group that isn’t professional,” she said. “I just missed the performance aspect and was looking to perform for the sake of performing. This is New York, so everyone’s always going on serious auditions.”

A communications major in college at the University of Pennsylvania, Ruderman was an education apprentice for Roundabout Theatre, where she worked with high school students to help them produce their own work, and worked on production, research and writing for “Blaze and the Monster Machines,” a show on Nickelodeon.

Although she had a manager in elementary school and was in a handful of commercials and off-Broadway productions, she said that sadly, her dreams of becoming a child star came to an abrupt end when she got braces.

“No one wants to hire the kid with braces,” she laughed. “My parents rightly wanted me to focus on my education so they helped me find that balance, but they know it’s important for me to have it in my life.”

Tickets for “City of Angels” ($30-$110), which will be on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening, are available on the troupe’s website. Performances are April 28 at 7:30 p.m. and April 29 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

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