Musical Theatre Blog: Another Openin' - An Introduction

When I was 16 I was asked, and very aggressively suggested, to audition for the spring musical at my high school. I had been singing in the choir for several years, and my choir conductor needed tenors (and male bodies) to audition for the spring show.

That’s when the bug bit me. Yes, the performing bug, which… I’ll get into later, but this was a slowly growing tumor, as opposed to the zealous fever that comes with wanting to show-off in front of an audience.

I fell in love with theatre, and more importantly musical theatre, and I wanted to know more.

I was fairly small when my mom would introduce us to some of the Musical Theatre classics on film. I really only remember watching and loving West Side Story. I kind of remember watching some of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classics (Oklahoma, Carousel, Sound of Music, etc) I even KIND of remember My Fair Lady, but I really remember West Side Story. It had to be the dancing. Also Russ Tamblyn…

I remember when I got cast in Once Upon a Mattress, and I wanted to find out more information about the show, this was back in the days before Google had the power it does now, and before Wikipedia, and LONG before, and I just wanted to know what I was getting myself into.

I went to the local Tower Records, because exhaustive searches of Target, and Walmart were useless in trying to find ANY cast album, let alone one from 1959, and I eventually found it! Well, I thought I had found it and would later find out it was the revival cast album starring Sarah Jessica Parker. I was excited, though, because I knew who she was, and I heard of Jane Krakowski, who I thought was the mom in Malcolm in the middle (that would be Jane Kaczmarek). I was CONVINCED that I had found the exact replica of what we were going to be performing, and listened to my little CD, and loved the music, and then got to my first rehearsal and found that almost EVERYTHING on the album was different then the script and score we were handed. Distraught, I talked to my vocal director/choir conductor and she told me about the original cast album (starring the amazing Carol Burnett) and that it would be tough to find, and that she would burn a copy of it for me.

Chatting with her about theatre, performing, and show tunes was one of the highlights of performing in high school for me. Later, during my senior year of high school we did Anything Goes, and she once again was a wealth of knowledge about the 1962 production (which is what we would be performing), and the revival (starring Pattil LuPone) and would give me her opinions about things, and what she likes, and helped me foster my own opinions about things. The differences between those 2 revivals are vast as well, and also the television special with Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby that a friend of mine found as well. I remember going over to her house and watching it and pointing out the differences, and later obsessing all of those differences. From then on, I started doing community theatre, and making friends who had the same passions. They would teach me, and we would discover new things together. It was always such a lovely time. We would talk about themes of shows, then that would start a conversation about a composer, and then the ingenue whose career was launched, and her body of work, and that choreographer. These conversations would go on and on, and there was always something to talk about. Then and now, that knowledge gives me so much comfort. Plus its just so fun to perform! What about you? What introduced you to Musical Theatre?

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