Why Choose Musical Theater

11 November 2018

“Five minutes until show time” rings through the dressing room speakers; it’s all I can make out. My heart races. My face starts to sweat. What are my lines again?

The stage goes black…

I turn pale…

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. If you would please take a moment to turn off your cell phones, find the exits, it will be a great show…enjoy.”

One deep breath…

Then, BANG…show time.

My life revolves around music, from my childish dream of being on American Idol to my not so childish dream of starring on a Broadway stage. Since the day I could talk, I sang along with my parents, with my father’s guitar and Spanish folk songs, and with my mother’s Celine Dion cassette tape in the car. Church, the National Anthem, you name it, I tried it. But in a town where the nearest Wal-Mart was 35 minutes away, it’s difficult to find a professional musical engagement.

There’s always choir…yes…but there is ALWAYS Choir. I am different; I am not that second row soprano who is content with my high notes in the Hallelujah Chorus at the Christmas concert. I want to be heard. I want my name up in shining lights. Conceited? No. It’s more of a goal, or a type of ambition.

Now, back to the show.

The first note was right; I got that line I fumbled over for a week. Now I just have to remember the dance steps too.

1,2,3,4…5,6,7,8…

Singing, acting, and dancing. Why would one person try with all their heart for a career that is never definite? One day you’re in and the next you’re out. Cliche as it may be…it’s true. But to have the satisfaction of that final curtain, the wall of sound beating at my face from the roaring applause, and that little girl, staring up at me, who wants my autograph because she dreams to be like me one day…just that one show is all I’d ever need.

People come up to me and say, “a musical theater buff, eh?”
My usual reply consists of “Yes Sir, that’s me, and I wouldn’t change it for all the chocolate in Willy Wonka’s Factory!”

Sometimes I feel like a theater group is one big gym class. Everyone trying to “out dunk” the next. Every actor is trying to be the final dodge-ball survivor. Now, I’ve never been the best at gym class but I have heard that “if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball” and I can definitely dodge a flying wrench if need be.

1,2,3,4…5,6,7,8…

My hair is in my face. They always tell me to get my hair out of my face. Now I understand. Following directions is key. With a bottle of hairspray and a brown bobby pin or two later, I’m all ready to go back on stage. The second act will be effortless.

Note…good…

Lines…good…

Dance steps…5,6,7,8…good!

Black out.

In productions I have learned to take life however it presents itself. You can’t stay mad at someone you have to kiss 30 minutes into the show. And you definitely can’t sweat forgetting to do your daily chores list because rehearsal went until 11 o’clock that night. Being a “musical theater buff” is not just knowing all the lyrics to Think Of Me…fondly…or knowing that Tony really loves Maria, regardless of the Sharks and Jets hatred for one another. Being a “musical theater buff” is being willing to go to an early morning cancan rehearsal on a Saturday, it is also being more than willing to lather your face in some unsatisfactory make-up, scraping it off then being eager to do it all again the next afternoon.

“Thank you so much! I’m glad you loved the show!!”

“Sure we can take all the pictures together you want!”

“Flowers! For me!? They are beautiful!”

To care or not to care, this is the question I ask myself as I prance down the hallway to take my math test after school while I still have time. People gawk at me as I hustle by wearing my ridiculously peculiar costume, and done up with outrageous face paint. But once I have lived through at least three shows, I learned not to care. I do what I must. The life of a theater kid is all about productivity and priority. This is much like the three D’s I learned in middle school. Drive, Determination, or Death (metaphorically, of course).

I would say I have a pretty good head on my shoulders and I intend not to go insane. But honestly the one thing that might drive me to the breaking point is the one thing that gives me peace and serenity: music.

May it be those Spanish Folk songs my dad sings when he’s all office-worked out, or that Celine Dion cassette tape, which is now a fancy CD of course, music is the thing I turn to. It calms my nerves, and gives me enlightenment. That is why I want my career to be music, not just any music…seeing as how my three years of piano never paid off, you can tell I am no Mozart. But maybe I am the next Sandy, Christine, Glinda, or maybe Elphaba, because I can defy gravity and no one can hold me down.

Musical Theater, where you “forget regret or life is yours to miss.” That’s my personal motto. Take chances, be who I am, if they don’t like me, hold my head high and keep on going.

I change back in to my normal clothes.

Get in the car, drive home, go to sleep.

And I’m ready to do it all again
the next day, excited, in fact. Eager, maybe even impatient.
My life is one big production, and I can’t wait to close the curtain on this scene and move on to something even bigger and better. Kind of like an opera of sorts. My own musical played out right in front of me. What a magnificent spectacle it will be.

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