"Every story Shaw tells rings with authenticity and honesty. That is a prerequisite for any autobiographical performance, to be sure, but Shaw has a beautiful way of recapturing her own youthful exuberance that keeps the work light yet sincere."
"Of course, determination is nothing without good obstacles to overcome, and Shaw's story has plenty...the biggest sell...is Shaw's beautiful playing and knack for whimsical storytelling. If you're looking for an uplifting affirmation of the rewards of hard work, look no further than "Velvet Determination."
"Shaw as the sole performer earnestly tells her story, full of a quiet energy, interspersing her narrative with snippets of piano playing. She introduces us to the many people who had a part in inspiring her...and describes her anxieties over being a worthy pianist. Shaw...clearly knows her way around the keys, and she shows us what a little perseverance can accomplish."
"During her journey, Shaw encountered a plethora of obstacles. Some of those obstacles were frightening. Some were humorous. All became the inspiration for 'Velvet Determination.'"
Luke Lyons, The Pueblo Chieftain
DC Theatre Scene
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"Velvet Determination is the story of one woman’s journey through her lifelong love of the piano. It’s that classic tale of a small-town girl who moves to NYC, is plagued by demons of self-doubt, drops a piano in the living room, and succeeds despite all of it. Cynthia...displays a sweet on-stage innocence as she spins her tale through piano, song, and storytelling. I left her show asking the question, Do we succeed because of our demons, or despite them?"
Sara Sahara, Boulder Fringe Review
“When Cynthia Shaw sits down at the piano and casually busts out Bach’s Allegro from Italian Concerto, you know Velvet Determination isn’t your average Fringe show. Her story is compelling…[her] tenacity in moving forward after failure is inspiring…[and her] mastery of classical piano is impressive…The moments in which Shaw is most vulnerable are really impactful.”
Hilary Sutton, DC Metro Theater Arts