Following a run at the famed Feinstein's/54 Below, The Triad Theatre, United Solo Festival, Barrington Stage Company (Tony-Award winning William Finn’s Cabaret Series) and a nationwide tour from Washington D.C. to Hawaii of her multi-award winning musical, “Gutless & Grateful,” performer, playwright and four-time TEDx speaker Amy Oestreicher was not supposed to be alive.
At nearly 18, she was headed for her prom, college, then hopefully, Broadway, until a blood clot caused her stomach to explode, setting her off course. Amy slipped into a coma for months, only to emerge to be told she may never eat or drink again, while coming to terms with a long kept secret — that she was sexually abused by a trusted mentor. Enter her poignant, true-to-life adventure, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful, now a CT-Press Club Award winning memoir, and as of January 2021, a self-narrated audiobook, where the resilient 33-year old records over 40 characters in her “unthinkable journey” - plus a few surprise “cameo appearances.”
What Oestreicher is most thrilled about for this new edition is an afterword written and narrated by Tony Award winning composer and lyricist William Finn. “I was first introduced to his work at 15. I wrote him a huge fan letter, he ended up calling me, and then after my coma, became a true mentor and friend, to this very day. It means the world to me that he’s written such a beautiful afterward for my book.” Their relationship came full circle when Oestreicher performed her original one-woman musical as part of Mr. Finn’s Cabaret Series at Barrington Stage Company. “That was certainly an unexpected flower on my detour, but theatre has been what’s guided me from the time I was a kid, it’s been there for me ever since, and will keep being the light that drives me forward.”
At nearly 18, after the trauma of being sexually abused by a trusted mentor, Amy's stomach ruptured. What followed was 28 surgeries, seven years without food or drink, and transforming adversity into adventure. At 33, Amy is much wiser than her years — having rallied from a life-threatening illness to find success in writing, art, theater, puppetry, public speaking, dance, and PTSD work with teens, among other endeavors. She's used creativity to not only power through setbacks, but also to find personal growth along the way. Having experienced multiple "detours,' the author encourages others to rebound and "show up, speak your truth, and don't be attached to the outcome."
Her memoir also speaks about resilience-building by employing four strategies: Creativity, Storytelling, Hope, and Gratitude — a winning-combination — and staples that have guided her through tough challenges, propelling her to gain perspective and thrive. She also shares how to utilize these key principles to change attitudes, tap into talents, and find positivity no matter the obstacle. Amy believes Creativity is a mindset, Hope must be created, Storytelling makes sense of your path, and Gratitude can be harnessed and is healing.
"This 4-ingredient recipe for resilience is more than you'd find on greeting card or inspirational poster. By implementing these habits daily, people can absolutely enrich their lives. These concepts are calls to actions to make 'heroic changes,' and I'm thrilled to share my personal experience and the positive changes we’re all capable of making right now." said Amy.
In addition, she's pleased to announce the February publication of Creativity and Gratitude: Exercises and Inspiration for a Year of Art, Hope and Healing (Apollo Books) — a hands-on workbook and companion to her memoir.
Growing up, theatre was Amy's entire universe. She trained and performed professionally as a child and a teenager, but in April of her senior year of high school, everything changed. Amy abruptly developed a blood clot, her stomach exploded in the operating room of the hospital, and after both her lungs collapsed, she nearly died. After waking up from a coma several months later covered in tubes, bags, and drains, she was told she had no stomach anymore and couldn't eat or drink and nobody could tell her if she ever would be able to again. After 28 surgeries and six of the past ten years unable to drink a drop of fluid, Amy's digestive system was miraculously reconstructed and she could begin putting her life back together.
Even with bags leaking, machines beeping, and her planned life on hold, Amy never wanted to feel like a "patient" or a "victim" - rather than mourn her hunger, she started a chocolate business, a food blog, learned karate, starred in musicals, put up three art shows, and taught nursery school. She learned not to take anything for granted - like the first time she could sip water in years.
Amy is now 33 and has done much since that fateful hospital stay, which wouldn’t be her last. In fact, she’s endured 28 surgeries and survived seven years without food or drink, while her digestive system was repaired and her inner self, healed from devastating trauma. The good news, is, Amy has made it to the spotlight and has beyond thrived: She’s not only a memoirist, but an Audie Award-nominated author, PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, award-winning actress, and playwright. Amy is also a mental health advocate, workshop leader, clothing designer and all-around dynamo, despite her continued challenges.
“I’m excited to share my story: how I navigated a seemingly impossible situation to find the real gifts that anyone can discover from facing obstacles of their own. I wrote My Beautiful Detour to convey my unwavering love of life and to set a template for those who follow. I’m grateful for all who have played unmatched roles along my journey and am proud to celebrate with an audiobook that is definitely unlike any other!” This audiobook features exclusive clips of her performances, and original songs that helped her along her journey which she premiered in her famed one women musicals “Gutless & Grateful” and “Passageways: Songs of Connection, Abnormal & Sublime.” Oestreicher has self-narrated her entire memoir, after being nominated for an Audie-Award for her work on the women’s empowerment anthology, “Nevertheless She Persisted,” and used this time of COVID quarantine to record all 513 pages. “I’m especially excited because I also feature some great cameos from the doctors who saved my life, family, and others who have really influenced my journey.” Oestreicher was last seen at Feinstein’s/54 Below with her hit one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful (Barrington Stage Company, Tony Award®-winning William Finn’s Cabaret Series, Sheen Center, Metropolitan Room, and others.) She’s shared the power of theatre and music in her four TEDx Talks, and her story has been featured on NBC’s “Today,” CBS, Huffington Post, Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, ABC, and more. With music and lyrics inspired by the “beautiful detours” that came after nearly 30 surgeries and assault, the multi-award winning songstress shares her journey as a woman with a wild passion for life and self-discovery through the power of music and art. After rave reviews at HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, and the Triad, Amy’s story and songs show that you never know what you’re capable of until you’re tested, and that the gifts of a “detour” can be beautifully rewarding.
Nearly 15 years later, Amy Oestreicher is grateful for that “explosion”—her first of six difficult but wonderful life-changing “detours.” In her CT-Press Club Award winning memoir, MY BEAUTIFUL DETOUR: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful (Singing Tree Publishing; November 19, 2019; ISBN-13: 978-17333138819) author Amy Oestreicher shares her incredible story of trauma and transformation. She also shares the beliefs and practices that took her from barely surviving to thriving—and blazing her own trails as a “Detourist.” And now, the multi-award winning actress is thrilled to release “My Beautiful Detour” as an audiobook. This audiobook is available on multiple sites where audiobooks are sold, which can be found at https://www.amyoes.com/audiobook, and features exclusive musical clips from her original music, Her message — about reframing unfortunate circumstances to find the good — is both inspiring and timely.