*Quick update regarding my last post: I only had one cluster headache overnight last night, so for the first time in two weeks, I got a full night’s sleep. Actually, for the first time in two weeks, I got more than an hour of sleep, so huge improvement. Feeling good today, given this blessing! Hoping it’s not just a fluke, and that this cluster period is on its way out. Thanks for your continued prayers and support!
Now, onward with the regularly scheduled programming. Today is World Theatre Day! And most of you probably didn’t know this, but a few of you who are theatre nerds like me will appreciate it. Earlier today I read a question: “How has theatre changed your life?” It got me thinking.
I grew up on stages. My dad was a community theatre actor and wrote and directed local theatre productions. My brother and I performed in every talent show and school play. Once I played one of the goats in the Three Billy Goats Gruff, another time I was the grandma in Little Red Riding Hood, and once I was a time-traveling wizard, so it pretty much ran the gamut. I’ve been behind countless stage curtains, amazed by the props, the ropes, the lights, the sound boards. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have grown up with such strong theatre roots.
In my very first talent show performance, I sang a medley of songs from Oklahoma! The Musical. It’s one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classics and has been performed all over the world (Hugh Jackman once starred in the Australian production). My favorite little claim to fame is that the show is actually set in my small hometown of Claremore, Oklahoma. I had the privilege of seeing a beautiful production of Oklahoma! last summer at the Sundance amphitheater here in Utah, and it gave me this weird feeling of importance, like I knew a secret that no one else there knew when I saw the “Claremore” railroad sign on stage.
Theatre has always been a huge part of my life. Some of my strongest and favorite memories are somehow tied to the theatre, from milestones to friendships.
- The first musical I ever saw was A Chorus Line. My dad took me when I was in elementary school to a college production at Oklahoma State University. In hindsight, it is wildly inappropriate for a child, but I was none the wiser and just lived for the singing and dancing. Bless my dad for still taking me, knowing those things would go over my head. It’s still one of my all-time favorites.
- One of my dearest friendships is founded on our mutual adoration of all things Broadway. We talk multiple times a week about the latest castings, sharing new versions of our favorite songs, and planning trips to NYC to see or favorite singers and actors perform live. Someday we hope to write our own show. (And what good are friendships if you can’t share big dreams together?)
- I rang in my third decade seeing Hamilton and crying my eyes out. My husband surprised me with tickets (I cried then, too).
- I’ve celebrated a wedding anniversary seeing Wicked with my husband.
- I won the Wicked ticket lottery on a trip to Australia and had the absolute privilege of seeing it in the actual Land of Oz! I won the lottery again in Salt Lake City with my best friend who had never seen a production like that before. (For the record, It’s just as fun watching someone else experience something you love so much for the first time!)
- I spent a lot of hours one roadtrip to Florida singing show tunes with one of my college besties (our carmates loved it…). I can basically tie a memory to every year of college for every song in RENT.
- I spent my best friend’s 30th birthday with her in NYC seeing the brilliant original cast of Dear Evan Hansen, when we lucked into fifth row tickets and fan-girled (hard) over Ben Platt. And THEN seeing Jake Gyllenhaal in A Sunday in the Park with George. It was an okay trip.
- And now, I have a side-gig that allows me to see one or two local theatre productions every month and write about them for BroadwayWorld.com! Which also led to my getting to meet fellow Okie Kristin Chenoweth and experience her stunning live Christmas special (which will be aired on PBS next Christmas!).
To say theatre has impacted my life would be a gross understatement. So, if you want to make memories that are forever solidified in your mind, do yourself a favor and go to the theatre. Whether you see a local production, a traveling company at a bigger venue, or literally any show on or off Broadway in NYC, you won’t be disappointed.
There’s just something about the theatre. It’s magical and lovely and everything good in the world.
A Love Handed Down
I recently stumbled upon a book of poetry and prose that my dad published in 1992. I didn’t have much of an appreciation for this then, because well, I was five. But discovering it as an adult kind of blew my mind. Not only did my dad write all of these beautiful works, he actually had them printed in a book!
I was flipping through it a few weeks ago, and was kind of taken aback by one titled, “Impression of a Broadway Theatre.”
A few favorite verses from that entry…
“One solitary light strikes the stage, like a waterfall against the rocks below. The first notes of the overture sneak up, into your ears, before you realize.
The actor, bathed in brilliant light; and you, looking through the only eyes you can, you are alone with the actor. The shock of it is almost overwhelming. Your breath, your heart, both accelerate just enough to let you know that you are you, and not some privileged god directing the events.
On and on, time slides by. You are up with them, down with them, knowing you were the only one to get the joke when no one else did. The physical is gone, with the only reminder a shift in the seat.
The curtain call. You clap with the rest, brought back to reality, yet bursting inside as though a brass band were playing an anthem next to your ear.”
I mean, it was as though I had written it myself. My dad and I are very much kindred spirits and have always shared a love of music and theatre, and this just filled my heart with joy to know how live theatre affects us in such a similar way. That last line kills me. It paints such a vivid picture of what it feels like to experience the intimacy and thrill of the theatre.
So, today I’d like to say cheers to my dad for instilling this great love within me that continues to bring so much joy to my life! And cheers to World Theatre Day!