There are certain times of your life that shape you, challenge you, and maybe even torment you to become the person that you will eventually be. The life lessons, the failures, the small triumphs, even more so than the larger ones. These moments prepare you, and often, in ways that you’d have no idea.
I wanted to be a doctor…a heart surgeon, to be exact, but chemistry made other decisions for me. I thrived in musical theatre, loved it beyond imagination, and was a “triple threat” but stature made it difficult to be cast, and, no matter how great I was told my dancing was, I just wasn’t cast, again and again. I held on…for a long time….rejection after rejection, and statements like “it’s too bad you’re not taller; you’re really good!” Which killed me. I could change lots of things, but, my height was not one of them. My parents, not so gently, suggested I back myself up, so I duel degreed…musical theatre and sociology/criminal justice. I continued to perform, and supported myself by teaching dance. I was very comfortable in front of people, and was told that I would be a great courtroom lawyer, so, again, I changed paths. I was wait listed for law school, so I began working in private practice and the court system. When I was finally accepted to graduate school, I was interested in making changes and advising, and not just prosecuting, so I added an MSW to the path. I left the court system 10 years later, but missed performing more than I realized. It didn’t seem responsible by that time to audition on an ongoing basis….I was now married, had children, and was paying a mortgage, so I “dabbled”…. An audition, here and there, a local show here and there, I sang with a wedding band, did a choreography job, now and again, all while watching my peers on national tours, auditioning, being cast, doing commercials, bit parts, getting their big breaks and gigs, and sending my students on auditions for intensives, jobs, and my nemesis, the rockette line. I’ve supported friends through all of their successes, envious and yet super proud, and all the while I didn’t realize how far I had come from being myself. The desire was still there. I thrive on a stage, as a character that can be strong or emotional, but will break out in song when there are no words left to say. For me, It’s not the applause; It’s the freedom. It’s a chance to let go…to let it go…to rejoice…or question…or be. It’s a chance to say what you need to…and be listened to. And yes, it is also an escape…from the ordinary, the mundane, and the responsible…. From whom I have become, and back to whom I once was.
I’ve had a few opportunities this year to “go back” — literally. I’ve performed back on the stage where I spent four years as a musical theatre major, on a traditional or, so much more often, a raked stage, on the main stage –God, did it feel great. Coming home can be absolutely amazing. And, just this past weekend, I got to do it again, but in a different performance space on the campus, along with the honor of performing, not only amongst some fabulous alumni, and current students, but, with a more recent graduate whom I barely knew. We took a risk because of our similar range, and hoped it’d work out. Not only did it work out, but we ran our number with accompaniment just once to rehearse, and were truly amazed at how well we sounded together. Yes, we were trained by the same department, years and years apart, but HOW does that even happen?! It’s pretty amazing, and felt pretty amazing. (Thank you Jenny!) The energy brought me back, each time, to EVERY time. And I realize now, how much I truly miss it. I’m grateful the opportunities have resurfaced, and am hopeful to do more…and I don’t mean in my car with an original cast recording! (Though carpool karaoke is my jam!)
i know that the opportunities and the new connections have resurfaced for a reason, and their timing couldn’t be more spot on, because every day, I am returning to me.
Look out world…here’s me!!! (Cue the Broadway lights and marquis!)