Broadway Bucket List

I’ve been thinking recently about what my Broadway-related goals are, or rather, what I’ve decided to call my Broadway Bucket List. Some of these thing I’ve been thinking about for a while and some are more recent ideas/additions that have come to mind as I’ve been thinking about the list and the possibility of making a post about said list. Some of the things on this list are more achievable than others but when it comes to Broadway I think you’re supposed to dream big! So without further ado, let’s get to it!

  • See a show in every Broadway theatre
    • This is probably my biggest Broadway goal. There are 41 Broadway theatres at this point in time and I have seen shows in 13 of those theatres. This is a goal that will take a while to complete so I am interested to see how the number of theatres changes- if some are added, if some are closed either permanently or just for renovation. Along those lines, I am really glad I got to see a show at the Palace before it closed for its big renovation. I look forward to adding more theatres to my list on my future trips!
  • Continue going to BroadwayCon every year
    • I’m very glad that I have been able to attend BroadwayCon every year so far since it started in 2016 and I am hoping that I will be able to continue to do so as the convention continues to take place each year.
  • See a Broadway Show during its out-of-town tryout (not in Toronto)
    • I would love to see a show in its early stages before it heads to Broadway. I know these shows are sometime performed in Toronto but I would like to go to another city ( such as Chicago, Boston, Washington, etc) where you can frequently find these pre-Broadway runs.
  • As an addition to the previous goal I would love to see a show out-of-town and then on Broadway to see the changes that are made
  • See the first preview of a Broadway show
  • Attend Opening Night of a Broadway show
  • Go to the Tony Awards
    • I will likely never be in a position to be nominated for Tony and I know there are public ticket sales for the event, but I’ll admit I would love the opportunity to go as someone’s plus one (another unlikely scenario, but a girl can dream).
  • Go to the Broadway Flea Market
  • Attend Elsie Fest
  • Go backstage at a Broadway theatre
  • Have an actual conversation with Jennifer Tepper
    • I’m very much inspired by Jennifer Tepper and I’ve had the privilege of meeting her at autograph panels at BroadwayCon, but I would love to have a full conversation with her. I have no idea what I would say, but as this is another thing I don’t anticipate happening for quite some time, if ever, I have a lot of time to think about it.
  • See a Broadway Princess Party show
  • Go on every Broadway Up Close Walking Tour
    • So far I’ve been on 3 of the 5 tours they offer. I’ve been on the Act I and II tours and the Hamiltour. I still have to go on the Act III and Ghostlight tours!
  • Performers I would like to see live
    • Some of the people on this list, I just want to see in any capacity (show, concert, whatever) and some I really want to see in a show. I’m sure there are many more people as well, these are just the ones that currently come to mind
      • Matt Doyle (I saw him at 54 Below but really want to see him in a show); Aaron Tveit, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Benanti (I saw her at a BroadwayCon panel but would love to see her in a show), Lin-Manuel Miranda (another person I’ve seen at BroawdayCon but want to see in a show), Gavin Creel, Leslie Odom Jr, Laura Osnes (OK, yes, I have seen her in a show, but I want to see her again!)
Advertisements

Life is Better With Showtunes

On Sept. 22 Tim Federle tweeted “Life is so much better when you unapologetically love and accept showtunes,” and I couldn’t agree more.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of the music that fills my life, and my iPod (yes, I still have an iPod), is from the theatre world. More than half of the songs on my iPod are showtunes, and there are a lot of songs on there. Honestly, if I had to pick one genre of music to listen to for the rest of my life it would be showtunes, but with so many different types of musicals, with shows like Hamilton, Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Into the Woods, SpongeBob (the list goes on and on), there is no shortage of variety within that genre. And that is just one of the great things about musical theatre.

There are songs for every mood. Songs to make you smile, laugh, cry (from happiness, beauty, and/or sadness). There are songs you listen to when you’re feeling down, either to cheer you up or just to match your mood. There are songs to get you fired up, songs to motivate you. There are songs to get you moving, even if that just means dancing around your house when there’s no one else around.

Cast recordings allow you to re-live experiences of seeing show and they allow you to experience shows you have not seen. They allow closed shows to have a longer life and they help to make theatre/musicals accessible to those who don’t live near it or don’t have opportunities to experience it. Cast recordings are how I’ve been able to experience shows like Bonnie and ClydeWonderland, Tuck Everlasting, and more that I didn’t and likely (unfortunately) won’t get to see live.

Cast recordings are a great way to share the shows you like with your friends and family. Even if they can’t actually see the show itself, you can share at least part of the experience with them. And it’s always fun singing showtunes with your friends!

I feel like every musical theatre fan and star has stories and memories of listening to cast recordings. There’s a reason performers are so excited when they get to be part of a recording (I know there are many other reasons too, but I’m sure that’s a big one). There is so much meaning associated with cast recordings. I have my own memories attached to various recordings: remembering when I saw the show(s), remembering the sets, costumes, lights, the actors (sometimes the ones who are actually featured on the recordings). I can picture those scenes being played out as I listen to the songs at home or on my way to work. There are memories from working on productions of those shows. There are memories from when I heard certain recordings for the first time. I remember discovering Wonderland through the cast recording in my 2nd year of university, listening to it and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown while working on an end of year assignment at a time when I was also a sound op for a production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Sometimes a show introduces you to a cast recording and sometimes a cast recording introduces you to a show. Sometimes you find it because you are familiar with one or more of the artists involved and sometimes it is the writers/composers with whom you are familiar. Sometimes it starts with an individual song that you hear listening to a playlist or radio-type station (I frequently use Spotify and AccuRadio). You might fall in love with it the way you would any popular song on the radio. You hear it, think, “I like this song,” and then you listen to it on repeat. You may have no idea of the context of the song at first, but it doesn’t really matter. That individual song can then inspire you to listen to the rest of the album and sometimes it just stays with that particular song, which is OK too. Sometimes you see a performance of a song or songs (at a concert, BroadwayCon, Stars in the Alley, awards show, etc) and that’s what inspires you to listen to the full album. And sometimes it’s from actually seeing the show. I’ve found it to be even more exciting when I’ve seen the cast that is featured on the recording, and I love that I’m getting to experience this more and more!

Some shows even have multiple recordings for you to listen to. Between original Broadway casts, revivals (sometimes multiple for one show), West End productions, and movie musical soundtracks there are so many options for your musical theatre listening needs. It can be interesting to compare and contrast, to see what changes were made, if any, from the original production to the revival or any subsequent productions, between Broadway albums and West End recordings, or between stage and movie versions. And now you can throw the live TV musicals into the mix too.

Listening to a cast recording can also change depending on whether or not you’ve seen the show and in which order you experienced them. You may think you know the story/how things will happen from listening to the cast recording but there can still be surprises when you do see it live. And sometimes the song you always skip on the recording can end up being part of your favourite scene in the show. Sometimes something as seemingly small or simple as the harmony during a particular line (not that harmonies are small or simple) can have a greater meaning when you see the live production (I found some of those moments in Rent). Sometimes I do wait to listen to a cast recording until after I’ve seen the show. Sometimes this is a deliberate decision and sometimes it’s just a case of not having gotten around to listening to it, and sometimes it’s a mix of the two. That was the case for me with A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. I had heard a couple of the songs but hadn’t listened to the full album. Then when I knew I was going to see the show (when the tour came to Toronto) I decided I would wait to listen to the rest. Come From Away was another one I held off listening to in full. Then there are the shows I listened to right away. Even though I still hope to see them some day, I did not want to wait to experience them through their recordings. Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen both fell into this group. Of course there will always be surprises if/when you get to see a show after you’re already familiar with the recording. Sometimes even a full song is left off the recording. Like how you won’t find “The Wicked Witch of the East” on the Wicked cast album (I do wish it was on there though).

What are your cast recording listening habits? Do you listen to them in chronological order or do you play them on shuffle? Do you listen to every song or do you pick and choose? Me, I go back and forth between all of these options depending on my (musical) mood. Sometimes I want to get fully immersed in the recording and listen to the whole thing from start to finish and sometimes I just want to listen (and if I’m home alone sing along) to my favourites. More often than not I’m likely listening to a playlist of my current musical obsessions (a list which currently includes SpongeBob, Once On This Island, Dear Evan Hansen, and Great Comet, to name a few).

I do honestly think some of the best voices belong to people in the theatre world and I love being able to listen to those voices via cast recordings. One of the great things about it is that when you hear someone on a cast recording, you know they will sound just as good in person (something you hope but don’t always know with popular recording artists).

With each new show there is the potential for a new cast album and I love that! It is disappointing that there are some shows that don’t have recordings and won’t get to live on in that way. But I do like that we’re getting to a time when a closing notice doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a recording. Even a lot of the shorter lived shows in recent years have gotten recordings which is great for the fans, for those who didn’t get to see the shows, and for theatre history. And with each new release I look forward to adding more songs to my playlist!

For any of you reading this, I would love to know what your favourite cast recordings are! Are there any shows or particular casts that you wish had gotten recordings that didn’t?

 

Put On A Happy Face

Do you have a go-to feel-good show or cast recording? One that, even if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it or listened to it, is always guaranteed to bring you joy when you do? One that will always put a smile on your face? For me, that show is Godspell, particularly the revival, but really any version, including the movie.

I’m sure part of it is that Godspell was my 2nd Broadway show and I loved every moment of that experience, so right off the bat it will always hold a special place in my heart. And the fact that I saw pretty much the entire revival cast (except I saw Corey Mach as Jesus instead of Hunter Parrish) makes it all the more exciting listening to that particular cast recording. On top of that there is just so much joy and beauty in the music. Sure the “Finale” hits you and takes you out of the joy for a bit but then it brings you right back to it at the end). My favourite songs include Uzo Aduba’s “By My Side” and the slowed down, revival version of “Beautiful City,” which is just so, well, beautiful. Godspell is just one of the reasons I’m a big Stephen Schwartz fan.

I did grow up in a family that regularly went to church (United Church) so perhaps that impacted the way I took in the musical. Honestly, I don’t know for sure about that but I do know that you don’t have to be religious to like the show or appreciate its story or themes. I think it’s a similar case with a lot of the shows based on Bible stories (Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat), it’s about more than the religious aspect or source material. I think a big part of Godspell is about storytelling, and all of the stories presented in it (the parables) present a message, typically about being a good person, that you can enjoy and appreciate whether or not you consider yourself a religious person. There is hope in it too, especially at the end- it comes back to hope and joy.

I’ve watched a lot of Godspell videos on YouTube, and they too always bring a smile to my face. Show clips, TV show performances, recording studio videos, I love them all. There are also some great videos from when they put together a kid cast for the revival (the “Godspell Cast of 2032” they called it) who got to perform some of the songs at Circle in the Square, on the set, wearing costumes that matched their grown-up counterparts. Gaten Matarazzo, better known now as Dustin in Stranger Things, was Jesus in that 2032 cast. Seeing those kids performing those songs once again highlights the joy of the show. All of the videos I’ve watched do.

I would love to someday work on a production of Godspell. I don’t even really care in what capacity I work on it, I just want to be involved with it in some way.

There’s a reason this show is in my top 10 favourite musicals!

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

A while ago I was watching some videos on YouTube that people had made of compilations of their top/favourite showtunes. There were videos for female solos and male solos and it got me thinking, what songs would I put on lists of my favourite musical theatre songs? This then led me to thinking of other “top” lists and the result is this post. Besides just songs I’ve also included some lists of my favourite shows and moments from shows. It was fun going through my iTunes library and Spotify lists trying to figure out what songs would actually go on these lists and especially if I were to limit myself to a certain number of songs (in this case 25). As a very indecisive person it was hard enough to pick the shows and songs so, unlike other lists you might find, my choices, on any of these lists, are not listed in any particular order. These lists are also ever-changing. I started working on them a while ago but since then I’ve seen more shows and heard more cast recordings bringing even more things into consideration. Who knows, this week’s lists might be completely different than those I would come up with next week or next month or next year!

These first two lists are based on shows that I have seen live.

Top 10 Favourite Musicals

  • We Will Rock You
  • Godspell
  • Wicked
  • Waitress
  • Bandstand
  • Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
  • Newsies
  • Rocky
  • Rent
  • Come From Away

Favourite Act 1 Finales:

  • Anything Goes- “Anything Goes”
  • Bandstand- “Right This Way”
  • Wicked- “Defying Gravity”
  • Rock of Ages- “Here I Go Again”
  • Bat Out of Hell- “Bat Out of Hell”

These next lists look at songs in different categories (female solo, male solo, duets/trios, group numbers). These lists include a mix of songs that I think are actually some of the best musical theatre songs and songs that I just really like (and I’m not going to tell you which are which)! I’ve probably left off some of the former in favour of  some of the latter, but it’s my list so I can include what I want! I also did not limit it to just songs from Broadway shows, so you’ll find some West End and Off-Broadway songs in there as well! To keep things simple (theoretically), I’ve also limited the songs to one per show (per list) though there are many shows that could have multiple songs on each list and it was harder than I thought to pick just one! Unlike the lists above, I have not seen all of these shows live.

(And honestly, these lists could have been a lot longer, which is why I decided to limit myself to 25 songs per list.)

Favourite Female Solos:

  • “She Used to Be Mine”- Waitress
  • “Welcome Home (Finale)”- Bandstand
  • “No Good Deed”- Wicked
  • “Vanilla Ice Cream”- She Loves Me
  • “Like Other Girls”- Daddy Long Legs
  • “By My Side”- Godspell
  • “Satisfied”- Hamilton
  • “So Much Better”- Legally Blonde
  • “Wonder”- Lord of the Rings
  • “Watch What Happens”- Newsies
  • “Woman”- The Pirate Queen
  • “Raining”- Rocky
  • “A Way Back to Then”- [Title of Show]
  • “A Quiet Night at Home”- Bare
  • “I Will Prevail”- Wonderland
  • “Always Starting Over”- If/Then
  • “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”- Phantom of the Opera (particularly Sierra Boggess’s version)
  • “Home”- Beauty and the Beast
  • “What I Did For Love”- A Chorus Line
  • “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”- Beautiful
  • “Breathe”- In the Heights
  • “Memory”- Cats
  • “Meadowlark”- The Baker’s Wife
  • “On My Own”- Les Miserables
  • “No One Else”- Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

Favourite Male Solos

  • “Role of a Lifetime”- Bare
  • “Dust and Ashes”- Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
  • “Goodbye”- Catch Me If You Can
  • “When Your Mind’s Made Up”- Once
  • “She Loves Me”- She Loves Me
  • “Waving Through a Window”- Dear Evan Hansen
  • “Before the Summer Ends”- Dracula
  • “Wait For It”- Hamilton
  • “The Origin of Love”- Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • “Beautiful City”- Godspell (revival version)
  • “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”- Les Miserables
  • “Til I Hear You Sing”- Love Never Dies
  • “Music of the Night”- Phantom of the Opera
  • “Santa Fe”- Newsies
  • “I’ve Been”- Next to Normal
  • “Run Away With Me”- The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown / The Mad Ones (by Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk)
  • “Keep on Standing”- Rocky
  • “Being Alive”- Company
  • “One Song Glory”- Rent
  • “If I Can’t Love Her”- Beauty and the Beast
  • “(Just a) Simple Sponge”- SpongeBob SquarePants
  • “I Believe”- The Book of Mormon
  • “Anthem”- Chess
  • “Electricity”- Billy Elliot
  • “Make Them Hear You”- Ragtime

Favourite Duets/Trios:

  • “Falling Slowly”- Once
  • “Sunrise”- In the Heights
  • “Who I’d Be”- Shrek
  • “If I Said I Love You”- The Pirate Queen
  • “I Will Never Leave You”- Side Show
  • “You Matter To Me”- Waitress
  • “For Good”- Wicked
  • “I’ll Cover You”- Rent
  • “In A Crowd of Thousands”- Anastasia
  • “Under Pressure”- We Will Rock You
  • “This Is Life”- Bandstand
  • “Tonight”- West Side Story
  • “Forever Yours”- Once On This Island
  • “The I Love You Song”- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
  • “All I Ask of You”- Phantom of the Opera
  • “The Proposal/The Night Was Alive”- Titanic
  • “Now and For Always”- Lord of the Rings
  • “The World Will Remember Us”– Bonnie and Clyde
  • “At the Ballet”- A Chorus Line
  • “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”- Bat Out of Hell
  • “The Movie in My Mind”- Miss Saigon
  • “Lily’s Eyes”- The Secret Garden
  • “Wake Me Up When September Ends”- American Idiot
  • “Dangerous Game”- Jekyll and Hyde
  • “First Date/Last Night”- Dogfight

Favourite Group Numbers:

  • “Seasons of Love”- Rent
  • “It’s All Happening”- Bring It On
  • “96000”- In the Heights
  • “One Day More”- Les Miserables
  • “Letters”- Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
  • “Once and For All”- Newsies
  • “Touch Me”- Spring Awakening
  • “Sunday”- Sunday in the Park With George
  • “Happiness”- You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown
  • “It Sucks to Be Me”- Avenue Q
  • “Welcome to the Rock”- Come From Away
  • “Nobody”- Bandstand
  • “Finale”- From Here to Eternity
  • “The Flesh Failures/Eyes Look Your Last/Let the Sun Shine In”- Hair
  • “Alexander Hamilton”- Hamilton
  • “Epilogue: In Every Age (Reprise)/Finale”- Titanic
  • “Why We Tell the Story”- Once On This Island
  • “Tomorrow Is”- SpongeBob SquarePants
  • “You Will Be Found”- Dear Evan Hansen
  • “Revolting Children”- Matilda
  • “The Deal (No Deal)”- Chess (particularly the concert version)
  • “Hello”- The Book of Mormon
  • “Everybody’s Got the Right”- Assassins
  • “21 Guns”- American Idiot
  • “You Can’t Stop the Beat”- Hairspray

(It should go without saying that all of these lists are MY OPINION and are in to way definitive lists of ANY kind. It was just something fun for me to think about!)

I would love to hear what any of your favourite shows or musical theatre songs are! Let me know! (I’m always looking to expand my music library!)

Theatre Memories: Stage Door Stories

It should come as no surprise that I am someone who goes to the stage door after a show. I didn’t actually start stage dooring (yes, I will be using stage dooring as a verb throughout this post) show until I went to New York for the first time in 2012. Since then I’ve gone to the stage door of every Broadway show I’ve been to, and a few shows in Toronto. I have noticed that while stage dooring is done in Toronto, it is not as big a thing as it is in New York. The following are some of my own personal stage door experiences!

1st Stage Door Experience (also Busiest Stage Door Experience):

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. My first Broadway show was also my first stage door experience! And what an experience! To this day, it is still the busiest stage door I’ve been to. It was Darren Criss’s second day in the show, so it’s not surprising that it was a zoo. I didn’t get anywhere near the front of the group. I didn’t get any autographs. I got a few pictures from a distance where I’m pretty sure you can see parts of heads and sleeves. At one point I was standing on a ledge or barrier or something and did see and hear Darren, so all things considered it was the best I could have gotten from where I was and it was still great. (And, actually my dad, who ended up standing in a different spot from my mom and I, did get one of the actor’s autographs on his Playbill.)

Best Stage Door Experience:

I have had some really great stage door experiences, but I suppose the “best” would probably be after seeing the Godspell revival, also on my first trip to NYC. This time the stage door was nowhere near as busy. There were other people there but it was nothing like How to Succeed. I was right at the barrier right near the doors where the actors came out. I met and got pictures with almost every cast member (except Morgan James and Celisse Henderson). I also had longer conversations with Telly Leung and George Salazar which was really exciting for me! (I had actually seen George in a tour of Spring Awakening that had a one show stop in Kingston.)  My Godspell experience is certainly one I won’t forget!

540241_10151725680160262_927681469_n
Photo collage I made of stage door pictures after seeing Godspell in 2012 (This is still the background on my laptop). Moving clockwise starting at the top left corner the pictures include Anna Maria Perez de Tagle, Wallace Smith, George Salazar, Telly Leung, Uzo Aduba, Corey Mach, Nick Blaemire, Lindsay Mendez.

Worst Stage Door Experience:

This one goes to If/Then. I want to state right off the bat, this being the worst experience has nothing to do with any of the cast members. My issues came from the other people waiting at the stage door. And it wasn’t all bad. I got to meet and get pictures with quite a few of the cast members. At one point though, as we were waiting for Idina to come out, a really tall person came up right behind me and with people in front and beside me, I felt closed in on all and couldn’t really move or see . It was overwhelming and pretty uncomfortable. Yes, when it’s a busy stage door there is only so much room and it gets crowded, but this time it was just a bit too much. When Idina came out I did get some pictures of her but I didn’t end up getting her autograph. I just wasn’t close enough/pushy enough I guess (it was nothing to do with Idina herself, who I know can only do so much when there are so many people and in a short amount of time). Like I said, in terms of the actors though, everyone was great! It was just the crowd with which I had an issue.

Least Busy Stage Door Experience:

There have been a few times when I’ve gone to the stage door for shows in Toronto and I’ve been the only one there. This was the case the last time the Phantom of the Opera tour was in Toronto. I may have been the only person there but I got a lot of autographs! When Buyer and Cellar was playing in Toronto I went to the stage door where there were two of us (the other person being my mother who had been at the show with me!). I got to meet Christopher J Hanke though, which had an added bonus because I had also seen him as Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business, but, like I said before, I wasn’t anywhere near enough to get any autographs at that show!

Best Stage Door Experience Not at the Stage Door:

I saw the In the Heights tour twice. Once in Kingston and once in Toronto. After the Toronto performance I ended up meeting the cast when we were on the way back to our hotel. I had seen the show with my parents and best friend and as we were on the subway I looked over and saw people I thought I recognized from the cast. We debated for a while whether or not it was them and whether or not to go over to them but finally we did, asking if they were in fact from the cast. When they confirmed it, I asked them to sign my souvenir program. It was as they began passing it around that I realized how many of them were actually there! I had recognized two of them!) I talked to them for a little while, telling them how I had also seen the show in Kingston. They were all really nice and it was great of them to take the time to talk to us! It was a really cool experience!

Biggest Celebrity I’ve Met at the Stage Door:

In terms of celebrities (beyond the theatre world), I would say there is a tie for this one between Josh Groban, Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney, although I had the most interaction with Laura. I got Josh’s autograph after seeing Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. In that instance it was a case of him going along the group quickly signing autographs and not posing for pictures. It was still really cool though! I met Cynthia Nixon and Laura Linney after seeing The Little Foxes on the same trip. The stage door for The Little Foxes was not very busy and as well as getting both of their autographs I also got a picture with Laura Linney!

People and Moments that Stand Out From Other Stage Door Experiences:

  • Alex Brightman after seeing School of Rock. He was really nice and such a great Dewey! I talked to him about loving the movie growing up.
  • Laura Osnes after seeing Bandstand. I’ve been a fan of Laura’s for a long time and it was a dream come true to get to see her in a show and then meet her at the stage door afterwards! (I wish now that I had gotten pictures with the rest of the cast too.)
  • Ramin Karimloo, Christy Altomare, & Derek Klena after seeing Anastasia. We talked to Ramin for a bit as fellow Canadians and I’ve seen him perform a few times before. (He’s amazing). We talked to Christy for a while. She was really taking the time to talk to everyone and she was extremely nice. She made sure we met Derek too because he had gone to the next people while we were talking to her. He was also great!
  • Norm Lewis after seeing Phantom of the Opera. He was the last person to come out, quite a while after everyone else, but I remember him being really nice and talking to everyone and posing for pictures. (This was also a bit of a weird experience because we were all waiting in one spot, then, after we’d already been there for a while, were told we couldn’t stand there and had to move to a different spot. It all worked out in the end, but I found it strange that we hadn’t been informed of the “right” place to wait earlier. But I still got to meet Norm Lewis, so it was great!)
  • Andy Karl and the rest of the Rocky cast. I was so excited after seeing that show and meeting the cast was the icing on the cake. I was right near the end of the group that was waiting at the stage door, which worked out really well for getting photos and spending a little time talking to the actors, including Andy.
  • I’ve also had a lot of good experiences with the security at various Broadway stage doors. A lot of the time they have been great about letting everyone know if people are still coming out or if that’s it for the night. The people at the Godspell and Bandstand stage doors were particularly good about keeping us updated. I can only imagine what they have to deal with night after night!
18740712_10158668063495262_3359537776169968086_n
One of my my more recent stage door highlights: meeting Laura Osnes after Bandstand in 2017.

It’s a common thing in this post that the actors I’ve met at the stage door have been really nice. But it’s true, they have been. I really appreciate everyone I’ve met (talked to, posed for a picture with, had sign my Playbill/souvenir program), knowing that it’s not a part of their job to greet fans at the stage door! And I totally understand and accept when people don’t come out the stage door. I’m so grateful for the excellent experiences I’ve had and look forward to any future stage door experiences!

Finding My Way in the Theatre World (A Work in Progress)

Obviously, I love the theatre (every post on this blog and the existence of this blog in itself are a testament to that!) and theatre plays a very big part in my life, but when it comes to where I am and where I see myself within the theatre world, where I fit, well, I’m still trying to figure that out.

In interviews with theatre professionals (actors, directors, designers, etc.) the topic of education is one of those topics that always seems to come up. It’s always a question of did they go to school? Did they not? And whether or not they did, the conclusion is always the same: there is no one way to “make it” (whether that means on Broadway specifically or just in the theatre world in general). Just because going to school is right for one person, doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily the right option for someone else. It depends on each individual person. In my case, I did study Drama at university, though I wasn’t in a “theatre program” per se (it wasn’t a conservatory program or a BFA or anything like that). I was in a general Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program in which I majored in Drama (with a minor in Art History).

Before I went off and studied Drama at university however, I grew up in a town that didn’t have a whole lot of options when it came to theatre. There are a couple of theatres and companies in nearby towns but overall it’s not the best area for gaining exposure to the theatre. In high school I wasn’t interested in taking drama classes, except for the musical theatre class my high school offered every other year, which I took in grade 12 (a class in which we wrote and performed a musical). I knew a life in the spotlight wasn’t for me (I had/have neither the talent nor the confidence for it) and drama classes typically seemed to be performance based. I hadn’t even read many plays before studying Drama at university. The only plays I really read in high school were by Shakespeare (though I was one of those students who did enjoy reading Shakespeare in high school). I was very much interested in theatre in high school and loved seeing shows I just didn’t have a whole lot of experience making theatre.

So while my interest in (obsession with) theatre began earlier, when it came time for me to decide on post secondary education, I had no idea what I actually wanted to do (I mean, I still don’t, but we’ll get to that). I did look into some theatre programs but, like I mentioned before, I knew that I didn’t want to be a performer and I did not want to go into a program for which I would have to audition. Though I was more interested in the production side of theatre, I didn’t really know that much about it or have much experience in it. Nothing seemed like quite the right fit. I didn’t even know for sure if I wanted to go into theatre, I just knew that I liked it (a lot), and that it would be cool to be a part of it in some way.

I decided to into a general Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program. I did get into my top choice of school, Queen’s University, and I got into a program that allowed me to spend my first year in England going to school in a castle (Herstmonceux Castle). In first year I took a general selection of courses (Art History, Drama, English, Film, and some others) and second year was when we declared our majors. I had enjoyed both Drama and Art History in first year so I decided on a medial degree with those two subjects (sort of like a double major but not quite). I found I was enjoying my Drama classes more than the Art History ones so for third year I switched to a Drama major with an Art History minor, which was definitely the right decision for me.

I really liked the Drama department at Queen’s and the variety of classes it offered which allowed me to figure out my own place/path in the program. There were of course the mandatory course requirements, some theory and history courses, some technical with required practical elements of working on the crew for a department productions. Studying Drama at university, I got to learn about and experience all of the technical and production elements that go into the creation of a show that I just hadn’t experienced and didn’t really know about before. I took design courses, looking at set, lighting and costume design. I also took playwriting and Theatre for Young Audiences (in which we wrote plays and then performed them at an elementary school in the area, my group’s play being a kid version of Macbeth. Yes, you read that right!). All of my professors were great as well and helped to make my experience at Queen’s the positive one that it was.

It was great getting to work on productions both for and outside of class. There were so many theatre companies with so many shows being put on at any given time. Some were actually a part of the department and some were companies organized by students outside of the department. With all of these productions there were lots of opportunities to try new things and gain new experiences. At one point my interest was focused on sound design and I was able to work on a number of productions doing that but then I decided I wanted to try my hand at some other jobs so that’s what I did! During my time in Kingston (I also stayed a year after graduation to work and to work on more shows and I continued to figure out what I wanted to do and to just gain more experience) I worked in such a variety of positions on different types of shows. I was on set crew, sound crew, props crew. I did set, props, paint design and sound design. I worked as an assistant technical director and an assistant stage manager. I enjoyed all of it, even though it did get stressful at times. I was able to explore and learn both about the theatre and myself, including how I work both on my own and with others and in leadership positions, like being a crew head. I loved working on shows (and still love it). The collaboration, the creativity, being a part of something, it was all so rewarding. And with so many productions going on around campus, there were a lot of different styles/genres of theatre to experience- plays, musicals, established productions, student written shows. It was a good way to learn about what I really like and am interested in on both sides of the stage.

I don’t think I would have gotten in to theatre (in such a way, or maybe at all) if I hadn’t done it the way I did. I was able to sort of find me way into it, figuring out the things I liked to do and being able to experiment and try new things. Studying drama the way I did increased my overall interest in, respect for and understanding of theatre and my appreciation for it. I learned a lot from my program and I’m so glad that I chose it.

Now I’m out in the “real world.” I graduated 3, almost 4 years ago (it will be 4 years this year) and I am still trying to figure out what I really want to do with my life (beyond knowing that theatre will be a part of it one way or another). For now though, I am happy that I do actually have a job in the theatre, working in front of house, working with other theatre-loving people. It’s great knowing that I have a role in that world, as minor as that role may be. I have also stage managed a couple of productions recently, and while I don’t think I want to “be” a stage manager (professionally), I do enjoy it and I enjoy being a part of the process of creating and putting together a show, and that I’ve been able to do it outside of school!

Overall the theatre industry doesn’t really seem to be the easiest to get into, especially when you don’t know specifically what you want to do and to be able to make enough money to live off of. It is nice to be living in a city where there is a fairly large theatre scene, though it’s nothing compared to NYC or the West End. And there are not really a lot of other theatre-related jobs, by which I mean jobs that might fall outside of the standard positions in a theatre or on a production. Every so often I will look at the job listings on the Playbill website and there are such a variety of jobs. I will see jobs that look interesting and think “maybe I could do something like that,” but we just don’t always have those same sorts of options or opportunities here, which can be a little disheartening.

In all honesty, I can’t really picture myself doing anything specifically, which is extremely helpful when you’re trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. For now, I am grateful to have a job in a theatre and one that lets me be a part of that world, surrounded by people who are also interested in and a part of that world. I think writing this blog is also me trying to find a place for myself or rather, create a place for myself, in the theatre/Broadway world. Now if only I could stay motivated to update it regularly!

 

Theatre Facts About Me

If you’re going to be taking the time to read this blog, I figure you deserve to know a little about me. Rather than just giving my basic biography, however, I thought I would keep with the theme of the blog and keep the facts theatre related. So without further ado, I give you Theatre Facts About Me!

  1. The first “big,” Broadway-style show I saw was We Will Rock You, in Toronto.
  2. I have seen We Will Rock You 6 times. I saw the Toronto run 4 times, twice at the Canon Theatre (which is now the Ed Mirvish Theatre) and twice after it moved to the Panasonic Theatre. I saw the show once at the Dominion Theatre in London and I saw the North American tour when it came to Toronto to the Ed Mirvish Theatre.
  3. My first Broadway show was How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Darren Criss.
  4. I saw a West End show before I saw a Broadway show. I went to school in England for a year in 2010/2011 and my first trip to NYC was in 2012.
  5. I have now been to New York City a total of 3 times. I have seen 8 Broadway shows, 1 Off-Broadway show, 1 concert at 54 Below (before it was Feinstein’s/54 Below) and 1 BroadwayCon.
  6. My favourite Broadway theatre (at the moment) is the Wintergarden. I have seen two shows there that I’ve loved (Rocky and School of Rock) and I like the layout of the theatre, which I’ve gotten to experience from both from the balcony and the orchestra.
  7. I spell theatre with an “-re” every time. I know some people spell it “-er” and some differentiate between the art form and the building, but I stick with “-re”.
  8. I graduated as a Drama Major from Queen’s Univeristy.
  9. In the theatre (student and community) I have worked on various crews (set/carp., sound, props), as a sound designer, a set designer, assistant technical director, and assistant stage manager
  10. My favourite show that I’ve worked on was a production of Spring Awakening. It was a new adaptaion of the play by Anya Reiss and I was the Assistant Stage Manager.
  11. Not surprisingly, more than half of the songs on my iPod are showtunes.
  12. My top 5 most played songs on iTunes right now are: “Role of a Lifetime”- Bare the Album- Act 1; “By My Side”- Godspell (The New Broadway Cast Recording); “We Beseech Thee”- Godspell (The New Broadway Cast Recording); “All for the Best”- Godspell (The New Broadway Cast Recording); “Beautiful City”- Godpsell (The New Broadway Cast Recording)
  13. Smash is one of my favourite TV shows and I’m sad we only got 2 seasons of it.
  14. It makes me happy when shows/movies/etc. about the theatre show stage managers calling cues.
  15. My current dream job is working in a theatre bookstore.