At four years old, I saw my first Broadway production, Beauty and the Beast, and the experience made an indelible impression on me. I will never forget the sense of wonder and excitement I felt as I watched silverware twirl around the charismatic Lumiere during “Be Our Guest;” it is a memory I will cherish forever. Another realm, entirely different than the one I lived in, had been brought to life before my very eyes, and all I could do was attempt to drink it all in as I was whisked away to someplace else. At the time, I couldn’t fully comprehend what I was being exposed to: an exhibition of exquisite talent, skill, and attention to detail, all devoted to transforming a creative vision into something tangible. What I did realize was that I didn’t ever want to stop feeling the way I did in that moment, and that’s how the spark of interest that would become a fiery passion ignited.
I became a theatre fanatic: buying one show ticket after another, reading up on everything having to do with the Great White Way. I learned to sing, dance, and act, and gradually gained experience as a performer and director. I had fallen so deeply and irrevocably in love, and knew I wanted to be a part of the art that had entranced me. I especially wanted to create it. I wanted to feel the magic again.
I’m sure that anyone who has chosen to dedicate their time to the performing arts will agree with me when I say this: there is nothing that truly compares to that adrenaline rush, that euphoria that is brought upon by the exchange of energy between those onstage and those in the audience during a performance. I believe that this energy is built up during a show’s rehearsal process and then shared with the public through performances. This buildup of energy stems from the bonds that are formed between the show’s cast and crew members as the show evolves and comes together. When a theatrical production is mounted, its cast and crew, made up of people of a myriad of backgrounds, come together and collaborate in order to make it a success. Along the way, they form relationships rooted in a common love for the goal they are working toward, and share the passion, elation, and emotion in every moment (which they, in turn, share with their audience).
I personally believe that nothing is more strongly associated with community than theatre, and through my involvement in numerous productions over the years, I have encountered and befriended some of the most gifted and amazing people. Each new show introduces me to a new set of travel companions, and also a new audience for my companions and I to engage while we embark on our journey to an entirely new world. When I perform, not only am I immersing myself in an entirely new world alongside my fellow artists, taking a break from the one I live in to set out on a voyage as a completely different person, but am working with others towards achieving a rather rewarding objective: convincing an audience to believe enough to take this break with me, and perhaps even to learn something along the way.
Whether I’m belting out a ballad or engaging in dialogue, I am a communicator and a storyteller. I am captivating my audience, and maybe even inspiring them in the same way that Beauty and the Beast inspired me sixteen years ago.
Beauty and the Beast unfortunately had to come to an end, and ever since, I have been dedicating my life to recreating the exhilaration I experienced that day as an awestruck four year old, both for myself and for others. From when I performed the lead in my second grade play to when I was cast as “The Adult Woman” in a college production of Spring Awakening this past February, without fail, the exhilaration returns every time I am involved in the creation of a theatrical production. It will never slip from my memory. I refuse to let it.