There’s something about going to bed early in the evening, and trying so hard to sleep because of the excitement you have for the next day. This has happened to me during several occasions of my life, but it doesn’t compare to being excited about attending a live theatergoing experience—especially one that can be found on the Great White Way. Writing as an experienced amateur and professional theatergoer, there’s something about anticipating a live theatergoing experience—whether it’s for a musical or a play—that is unlike any other feeling in the world.
What is this feeling? So familiar and complex?
This feeling is a combination of many things, really.
One is something I’m sure of all us theater dorks go through, and that is imagining what the day of the performance is going to be like. Questions will arise in your head, such as: How will my seats look when I sit in the theater? Will the performances ever match the greatness of the original Broadway cast recording album? Will the sun EVER come out tomorrow? If all goes well, every question will be answered to a satisfying degree.
Another aspect of this feeling is something rather profound: you would ultimately journey into an unknown part of the future that you would create for yourself. You are willing to risk a day of your life—as well as more than a hundred dollars—to experience a production that you’ve been wanting to see for the past few months. Whether the show is good or bad depends on your analysis. If it’s a good production, then you walk away satisfied.
If it’s bad…
This leads me to the dark side of anticipation: the hours after. Again, this part of your life could come across as joyous if the show is any good, but if a production does not reach your level of anticipation and expectation, then it could leave you in a state of bewilderment—a sense of isolation from those who actually were able to soak in its brilliance.
Believe me, I’ve been down this road. I’ve had experiences where I see a musical that I’ve anticipated so much, only to be let down to a point where it puts me in a rather crabby mood (Newsies, sadly, was somewhat of a grim affair, although perhaps a revisit could put me in a better state of mind about it). Yet, throughout those experiences, I’ve gained the wisdom to always approach things with as much of an open mind as possible. Sure, anticipating something with happiness is a lot of fun while it lasts, but anticipating it to be the greatest thing since sliced bread? That might be a little overboard, don’t you think?
Then again, there were some theatergoing experiences that were the greatest things since sliced bread. Perhaps anticipating something extraordinary will forever remain in my blood.
What theatergoing experiences have you anticipated the most? Did they meet your expectations? List them in the comment section below!