Like many people I enjoy lists. I like the structure of making a list, I like crossing things off of lists, I like reviewing lists. So the other day when C. Smith and I were discussing how many Broadway shows we had seen, he jokingly said “don’t you have a list.” I did not. So like any good list writer I set forth the very next day to make my list. This was a bigger task than yo might think, mainly because for 6 years we had season tickets to the Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland. My list is not yet complete but it got me thinking about the shows and my love of musicals in particular.
One Last Kiss
It all started in 8th grade. My favorite teacher from 7th grade had moved on to become the choir director at the high school which meant that she was now directing the spring musical as well. That spring I went to see the BHS production of Bye Bye Birdie and I was hooked. I could not wait it get to high school so that I to could sing and dance on that tiny little stage. Everyone on stage seemed to be having the time of their life. And the applause and the flowers that followed, yep I wanted to be in the show. Now let’s be clear, I do not have the best voice, but I can dance and smile, so I was over the moon when I was cast as a tap dancer my freshman year in our production of Anything Goes. It was everything I imagined, the cast really is like family, we had a blast and I spent the next 4 years loving every minute I spent in the Portage Auditorium.
Dance: Ten; Looks: Three
My Junior year of high school I was now a member of the Musical Magics, the BHS show choir, and my favorite teacher pulled out all the stops setting up a trip to the Big Apple – NYC here we come! We were set to perform at St Patrick’s Cathedral, which was cool, but the real treat was we were going to see 2 Broadway Show. What, what…we are going to see A Chorus Line and Phantom of the Opera. There are certain moments in your life that actually send you on a different trajectory, Phantom was one of those moments. I was moved to the core, just ask any of the poor people who sat near me as I sobbed at the end of the show. But what was really great about Phantom is that my entire family became obsessed. As a teen you often have little in common with your parents or your younger siblings, but this was one thing we all shared. That summer we took a family vacation to California to see the one and only Michael Crawford reprise his role as Phantom, a memory of a lifetime.
In the summer of 1999 I returned to NYC on a girls trip with my mom, my sister, my 2 aunts and 5 cousins, Girls Trip!! We had a blast and I was going to cram in some serious Broadway action. We all saw Chicago together and I was blown away by the simplicity of the staging and the ridiculous Bob Fosse choreography. The next day my mom, sister and I snuck off to catch one of my all time favorites Bernadette Peters. She was starting in Annie Get Your Gun alongside Tom Wopat of Dukes of Hazzard Fame, it was such fun. Then my sister was really dying to see this show Rent, I had heard of it, but was not super familiar. My sister was in the know and suggested we head to the theater and try to get in on the ticket lottery that they did for every show. As luck would have it our name was called and $20 later we have 2nd row seats for the matinee that day. I cannot remember the exact moment I began crying, but I was once again overwhelmed with emotion. This show and the soundtrack would propel me through many trips back and forth to Ohio, it was my personal escape.
La Vie Boehme
C. Smith loves bar questions, you know “if you were on a dessert island and could only have 3 albums what would they be.” One of his all time favorites is “if you could see any band, who would you see.” His answer was always The Police. Then one magical day in 2007 his dream came true, The Police reunited and we bought tickets to see them at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Shortly after the tickets were purchased C. caught wind that two of the original cast member from Rent would be reprising their roles. We watched with anticipation, and the dates we announced, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal’s opening weekend was the same as The Police show – the stars had aligned! So off we went to see my favorite show and C’s favorite band, needless to say it was a magical weekend for the both of us. Over the course of the year we went on to see the Police 2 more times in Toronto and Columbus and we saw Anthony and Adam 2 more times as well when they hit the road making stops in Cleveland and Detroit.
There is nothing better than live theater, the emotional connection you have to the performers is something I will never tire of. This fall I am looking forward to my musical taste coming full circle as I have tickets to the 20th anniversary tour of Rent as well as the hottest new show Hamilton. I am thrilled and honored that they will be the newest addition to my list.
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