Any good theatre junkie has used this phrase countless times. What you may not know, is that I used to be one of those theatre junkies. From the age of 12-22, theatre ran my life… and I LOVED it. I was an awkward kid and at the theatre, I belonged. At the theatre, I could pretend to be someone else. I got a degree in Theatre Studies from Capital University and in my 4 years there I did 11 shows. My friends were used to having me miss dinners, game nights and trips to the bar because I had rehearsal. They didn’t always understand it, but they supported it and a few key friends saw almost ever show I did while I was there.
Suddenly, when I began working in theatre administration, actually being in a show took a back seat. Heck, even seeing shows took a back seat. I lived theatre all day- sometimes it was just nice to come home and watch TV, go out to dinner with my sister or talk to Chris. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I missed it. I did a children’s production called Miss Nelson Has a Field Day (anybody remember that book?) when I was working at the Walnut Street Theatre. I had my WORST theatre experience ever when I tried out for a play with a small theatre company that I had never heard of in the fall of 2010. There were a few shows at Near West that I would have killed to be a part of but couldn’t because of my responsibilities as a member of the administrative staff. I never stopped thinking about the idea of doing theatre, I just wasn’t doing it.
And as time passed, I got involved in other things- board member and foster parent for Secondhand Mutts, blogger, committee co-chair for Jump Back Ball, and more. I went to the gym, to happy hour with friends and to weekly dinners with my mom. Suddenly my life was very full of things that weren’t theatre.
Of course, you must know that this is where things get complicated. A year ago, the Near West Theatre season was set and the show I had been suggesting for years, Ragtime, was on the schedule. Then 9 months ago, I got an opportunity I couldn’t refuse and left Near West for my current job at Embrace Pet Insurance. Suddenly, I was eligible to audition for a show that I love at a theatre I love. However, I had gotten used to life without rehearsal, and I was busy most evenings. Beyond that, I worried about whether I still had “it”- the spark, the talent and the drive to make this happen.
I kept my plans to audition quiet as long as possible, but with my big mouth and some wine to loosen it, I told practically the whole world my plans in January at the Near West benefit. Fabulous- no pressure, right? When auditions finally came up 2 weeks ago, I was a total mess of nerves. I was not at my best but somehow I GOT CAST!
It’s just a chorus part at a community theatre but I am so excited to get back into theatre and, most importantly, for it be to THIS show. Ragtime has some of the most amazing music and I have been in love with it since I first saw the show over 10 years ago. The themes of racial inequality and the melting pot of America that bring the show to its climax are as relevant now as they where in 1906, when the story is set. Rehearsals started on Sunday and the vocal power of this cast is a force to be reckoned with. I’m sure I’ll share more as the process goes on, but performances are May 4-20 and you can get more information here.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll understand if you don’t see quite as much of me here. Rehearsals are 4 days a week for 4 hours a night so when I come home, I kinda just like to pass out. I’ll try to get my blogging in on days without rehearsal! In the meantime, check out this video to get a sense of the power and themes of Ragtime…