Rikki Lee Travolta – Television Producer

I have a silly superstition. I fear that if I want something too badly, the universe won’t let me have it. So, when I want something really bad, I don’t talk about it for fear that it will jinx me, and the universe will step in and rain on my dreams.

In 2016 I decided to audition for a production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It had been over 8 years since my last time on stage, and in my time off stage I was dealing with some pretty serious issues.

But I was determined. I was going to play McMurphy. I studied my script every night to prepare for the audition. But what I didn’t do was tell anyone I was auditioning or how badly I wanted the role. I kept it a secret from the universe, and it paid off. I got the part and turned in one of the best performances of my career.

A few months ago, I started work on a new project. A client had an idea for a television series and asked me to work on it with him. I took the project to WTTW in Chicago and got a commitment for a pilot episode. If the pilot connects to enough viewers, we will be greenlighted to do a 13-episode season.

I didn’t say anything to anyone, because I knew this series could be great and I didn’t want to jinx anything. So, while maintaining radio silence, I wrote the pilot script and the theme song, I oversaw casting, and basically did all the little things that need to happen to take a show from concept to fruition.

But, like I said, I didn’t say anything to anyone, I knew the carpet could get pulled out from under me at any moment. The fact is, we were in contract negotiations right up to 10:50 PM the night before we were scheduled to start filming.

Thanks to the work of an amazing production team and a fabulous cast, we put out all the little fires and we finished principal photography on the pilot. The universe has allowed my ambition of being a television producer to come to fruition.

According to Polish tradition, when a young man gets married, it is his mother’s duty to take her new daughter-in-law under her wing and teach her the family recipes and the family history that goes with them. The Polish Cooking Show captures this dynamic, serving up comfort food and Polish culture with every bite.

I don’t know what the future holds, but today I’m proud of what I have accomplished. Some people write off disabled people, but I try every day to show what a disabled person can still accomplish. My grandmother was always my biggest cheerleader. I envision her looking down and offering me her trademark piece of praise: “Ya done good.”

The pilot episode will premier on Saturday, November 20 at 11 AM on Chicago’s WTTW. It will then air a second time on Sunday, November 21 at 10:30 AM. I really hope you’ll tune in. According to MarketingCharts.com, 8 in 10 adults watch cooking shows – so hopefully this will find an audience. Even if you aren’t a cooking show person, maybe you can make an exception for me.

I’ve come a long way since my last stay in the mental hospital. I guess when you are starting from scorched earth, the only way you can go is up. But any small success I have is because of the love and support of people like you. You didn’t give up on me, even when I didn’t know which way was up.

I still struggle with demons, and probably always will. But with this project I proved to myself that I am capable of doing great things.

So please make plans to watch The Polish Cooking Show and know that it couldn’t have been possible without you. Thank you for believing in me.

Peace. Love. Trust.

If you appreciate the nature of my words here, I ask that you take just a moment to share this article with your social media of choice. Follow me on Facebook (/rikki.travolta) and Twitter (@RikkiLeeTV)

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