In 1976, the 200th anniversary of the founding of the USA, Alexandra Billings and Chrisanne Blankenship met in a Drama Club meeting at Schaumburg High School. Chrisanne, perched atop a cold radiator, was staring at Alex, wondering at the crazy person sitting on the floor, when there were perfectly good chairs to sit on.
And under a desk to boot.
Since then, Alex and Chrisanne have been enthralled with each other and with the business of entertainment.
They have composed two original musicals, written songs for Alex’s one women show “Before I Disappear” (which eventually went on tour across the US finally landing off Broadway at The Producer’s Club), and worked as director and actor in several plays, hailed by critics and loved by Chicago audiences. When Schmengie Inc (named after a nonsense word Alex uses to define everything) came into being in 2018, their first commercial production was a LGBTQ+ inspired Social Media commercial for Sylvania Lightbulbs/LEDVANCE. Diversity and inclusion began to inform project after project. In 2020 during the first year of the COVID pandemic, Schmengie and The Lavender Effect co-produced the first ever Live Zoom Pride Parade featuring the likes of Lily Tomlin, Judith Light, Audrey McDonald and Betty Buckley.
In 2022, as executive producers, they helped bring to life the story of Diovanna LaBeija, a Brooklyn-based trans Afro-Latinx dancer, whose transformation is told through dance and words in the Red Beret Productions theatrical short When We Arrive As Flowers. Also in 2022, they served as EP on the soon to be released film by Fae Productions of Queen Tut.
Behind Chrisanne’s desk is a mirror on which future Schmengie projects are tracked. Both she and Alex stand in the middle of a reflection of the work Schmengie is proud to produce. You will find some of those stories on this site’s pages. We invite you to explore and think about investing in one or more of these projects.
Since the moment of any meeting is graced with foreverness, we have met here, in this space, for a reason. You have been drawn here in order that we might come together and share the story of who you are. That’s the foundation of Schmengie: You and Your Story. We hope you will join us in the joy of storytelling and embrace those stories rarely told.
Speak up; there are Angels waiting, some sitting atop a radiator and some beneath a desk. Remember...you are made of stardust and because that is true, anything is possible.