The Fox family of Easton provides insight into the lives of performing artists and the struggles they faced as the Covid-19 pandemic came between them and their careers.
“When the pandemic brought life in New York City to a screeching halt last March, and the city moved into lockdown status, Annabelle and Douglas asked if they could come to Easton and stay with us for a few weeks,” Daniel Fox said.
Daniel and his wife, Kimberly, along with their daughter Annabelle and her husband, Douglas Waterbury-Tieman, relied on entertainment and theater to stay busy when the pandemic shut down all aspects of daily living in March 2020.
Before the pandemic, Douglas and Annabelle pounded the pavement from sun up to well after sun down most days in the city. They packed their schedules with auditions, jobs, rehearsals, concerts, and shows. “It was exhilarating,” said Annabelle. Taking the train to Connecticut became a therapeutic ritual for the two of them since their college days.
“Annabelle and Douglas spent many weekends in Easton with my husband and I,” Kimberly said. It was always a much-needed escape from their hustle.”
The pandemic had an immediate and profound effect on their careers and lifestyle. Annabelle reflected on the “whirlwind of emotions,” she felt. “When the pandemic hit, I had no choice but to pause and finally sit with my thoughts and consider other passions,” she said.” I had just come off of one of the most successful chapters of my career.”
During the lockdown, when she and Douglas were living with her parents, Daniel was invited to play guitar and sing on some of the live-stream events promoting Douglas’s original bluegrass musical, Johnny and the Devil’s Box, which they performed in their living room in Easton.
Currently living in Franklin, Tenn. with her husband, Annabelle attributes the inspiration for her theatrical and musical career to her father. Daniel is a music teacher and worship leader and currently works as a program specialist in music at Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk.
“It is not uncommon these days for adult children to spend some time living back home with mom and dad,” Daniel said. “Thankfully our time with Annabelle and Douglas during last year’s lockdown was nothing but fun and fulfilling.”
Annabelle and Douglas never imagined that her parent’s guest room would become their quarantine cave for nearly five months.
During their quarantine, the Fox family tackled many at-home projects to keep busy. Annabelle and Douglas turned their small basement space into a studio where they churned out audition videos almost daily.
Sometimes Daniel became the videographer for a scene featuring Annabelle and Douglas. Kimberly and Daniel collaborated on videos of puppet shows for Kimberly’s virtual French students.
For a song competition, Douglas and Daniel collaborated as songwriters, and Annabelle sang harmony on the demo. When Daniel needed to create music videos about things like gravity and friction for the museum, Kimberly, Annabelle and Douglas helped to direct and record them.
Projects they worked on included performing in the Living Room Theatre Challenge hosted by Concord Theatricals and Playbill. They chose to mimic a scene from The Wizard of Oz which was written about in a previous Easton Courier article back in the beginning of the pandemic. You can read the article here.
In an effort to make the experience as professional as possible, Annabelle even sent out offer emails, sourced original costumes, and pulled props from around the house. Excitingly enough, they made it to Playbill’s top online picks!
“I miss sitting in a theater and getting lost in the performances playing out. In times of pain and loss and suffering, theater and the arts are an escape that transport us to happier and lovelier places,” Annabelle said.
The hope is that as more people get vaccinated, normalcy will be restored in the near future. And the arts and entertainment industry will be able to bring people together and feel the power of emotions it brings once more.