Theatre is coming back to New York. With announcements that musicals like Hadestown, Moulin Rouge!, and Company are returning to the Great White Way, and it’s ushered in an excitement for theatre that I didn’t know I was missing. My way of coping throughout quarantine has been to watch compilation videos of old shows or stream whatever theatre is happening via Zoom. (Thinking of Marisa Tomei and Oscar Isaac doing Alan Bowne’s Beirut.)
But knowing that the return of Broadway is near is filling me with joy that I thought might never return. Granted, I did cry knowing that Shakespeare in the Park was coming back this summer, but knowing that I can buy a Broadway ticket and go back into a theatre? It fills the theatre kid in me with a certain kind of happiness that is hard to describe.
Imagine, if you will, going to some big event you love. Whether it’s baseball games or a bar or a concert. But when you’re there, you’re transported to a completely different world, lost in what’s happening before you, and you don’t mind sitting in complete silence and darkness for hours on end because you care about whatever is being told to you. That’s the easiest way of describing the power of theatre from the audience perspective, to me.
It’s also different for me because I was a Performance Theatre major. I know what goes into each action, how things work behind the scenes. I know the joy of stepping onto a stage at the end of the night with just the ghost light on. And all of that emotion, all that happiness is consuming me now, just knowing that I can be in a theatre again.
Broadway is a staple to New York City. I remember the first time I ever got to see a show. I was young, around 6 and a half years old, and The Lion King had just opened on Broadway. My mom took me to see it first, and then I was going to see Beauty and the Beast because they were my favorite Disney movies, and I remember the giraffe touching my nose and being the one kid who loved listening to Scar sing and I wasn’t afraid. That magic ignited a love of Broadway and theatre in me that still fuels me to this day and inspires me to create.
Throughout all of 2020, I saw the jokes about writing King Lear in quarantine, and it was really hard to think creatively in that way. I didn’t know how to write a play because I didn’t know what plays would look like coming out of this. I didn’t know how to express a story through the art of theatre because I didn’t know if we’d ever get back to being surrounded by hundreds of people at one time to watch the same story together.
But now, as I see all these announcements coming, and knowing that I can go and see Six again and cry with the wives of King Henry VIII or lose myself in whatever Shakespeare graces the Broadway stage that season, feels overwhelming and I can’t wait to sit in a theatre and hear the orchestra start and just sob.
(image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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