The ground-breaking FUN HOME is the latest theater work to explore, dramatize, and otherwise celebrate the family dynamic. As we anticipate the arrival of FUN HOME, we also celebrate real life Bay Area families. Here are Sammi Kane and her mother Lee in the first installment of our special Family Portraits series.
Originally from Long Island, Lee and her now-teenage daughter Sammi moved to the Bay Area seven years ago in order to be a part of a more diverse community. "To be honest, when Sammi was heading into grade school she was the only kid in the entire school that wasn't white and I wanted to give her a better sense of a world that was less homogenous," says Lee. A devout theater aficionado, as well as a dance teacher, one of Lee's biggest fears in moving away from New York was that they wouldn't have the same access to the arts. Both mother and daughter were "awesomely surprised" by the Bay Area's culture and have found themselves more engrossed in arts than ever: "We actually live in an apartment that is half a dance studio and we spend most of our life dancing together," says Lee.
A rising high school freshman at Oakland School for the Arts, Sammi shares her mother's deeply rooted love for Broadway musicals and plans to focus on the musical theater track in the fall. Sammi says her mom's expansive theater and dance background have proved invaluable to her: "I do theater at school and then I come home and get to do even more theater, so it's really great. Whenever I'm practicing songs or scenes, my mom is always there to help coach me along the way."
Despite the many obstacles faced in a single-parent household, Sammi and Lee have worked together to forge an unbreakable bond: "I think we have the sense that we can do anything on our own and we know that we can handle anything thrown out way. Sammi and I do everything together and we do whatever it takes to make things work.