Since 2009, I have been doing musical theater through Christian Youth Theater and a few other community theater companies. A lot of the people I’ve met in the program want to continue on and make it their career. I personally will not be pursuing it. I might do community shows every now and then or even try directing and teaching, but I have other things that I want to do (like write books and draw all day). So why do I continue to do it? Why don’t I just spend my time doing something else? Well, let’s talk about that. 1) It makes me feel stronger Correction, it has made me stronger: physically and emotionally. You can’t dance without being strong. There’s so much that goes into singing and dancing at the same time, and whenever I get a hard song down it’s awesome. As I write this, I am right in the middle of the show “42nd Street” with a newer theater company in my area, in which we are learning the show in a week. Somehow, I ended up in the ballet ensemble, which has a lot of technical moves that have been really hard to get down. But oh man, when I got our hardest dance down, I was so happy. I felt awesome, and even though my muscles are extremely sore, I feel super strong.
Cast lists can be brutal. I have been disappointed so many times, especially over this past year. It can hurt not get the part you want, and I am guilty of being bitter about certain roles. But having to deal with disappointing cast lists helps you learn how to deal with rejection. It takes a certain amount of emotional stability to deal with being turned away for something, or worse, having to see another person do a job that you thought you could do too. It can still be hard, but it’s finally starting to get easier.
2) It makes me feel pretty
This one doesn’t really apply to the fellas, but oh my goodness, getting to wearing gorgeous costumes and make-up is wonderful. I’m the kind of girl that likes to dress girly every now and then, but I often will be found with a ball cap and converse. There’s something about musical theater that makes it so much more fun to get dressed up. It adds so much more to a character whenever you add the costumes, hair and make-up. Now, I have played a few characters where my costume wasn’t exactly pretty (as in, I was a man), but the times that I have gotten to be on stage dressed up, it has made me feel really beautiful.
3) It makes me more confident I’ve never been a shy person. I like people. A lot. But since I’ve started doing theater regularly, my confidence has soared. Any shell that I had had melted away, and I’ve done some pretty silly things on stage and off. My first semster of college was so easy because I got over being serious around people quickly and was just my Abby self. It helped me do so much better in my speech class and gain new friendships. I’ve found that I’ve gotten a bit of a reputation in my classes for being the kid that can always make the class and teacher laugh. I never thought I would be a “class clown”, but because of the confidence I have gained over the past six years, it’s so easy to be silly. While there I times where I know I have to be serious, it’s more fun to live life without worrying what people think of you. When you have this philosophy, you get super awesome friends, and every now and then get a laugh out of someone.
4)I have met amazing people Seriously. Most of my closest friends are from my adventures on stage. I am blessed to be apart of a theater group that is very close and focuses on relationships that you build with your cast mates. The friends I have made are like my family. Yes, like all other seasons in life, you meet people that you don’t get along with very well. You can get your heart broken every now and then, but there’s always about a dozen other people you love you so much, and it’s easier to push out the bad vibes. There are wonderful friends that I’ve made that I hope to some day have in my wedding, who I’ll grab coffee with and talk about our kids, and continue to share our lives with each other.
5) It’s a way for me to worship I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus. As a Christian, I want to try my best and do everything in a way that glorifies God. This can be a very tricky thing to do with theater, because you’re in the spotlight. You want front and center. You want people to tell you that you got the part, to bring you flowers and tell you that you did a great job. But that’s no how it works with Jesus. He’s supposed to be the center of your life, not you being the center of attention. It’s something that I still have to work on, but when I really let myself worship and love glorifying God with my performances, it’s a really awesome feeling.
6) It’s Fun!
It’s thrilling to be waiting off stage in a dark theater, knowing that in a few seconds, you’ll be standing in front of a crowd of people doing what you love. For me, it’s an amazing adrenaline rush. I love performing. Taking on a new character is always an adventure, and a distraction from my crazy life. For two hours, I’m in a totally different world, and it’s great, especially when I get to be doing it with some of my favorite people. Through middle school and high school, I have been a part of over 30 shows, and I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve gained from each one for anything. I’ve learned so much in this span of time, and I want to keep doing it for as long as I can. I keep learning new things about people, life, and myself through this art. It’s not about the part you get, and whether or not you get a lead, but what you choose to get out a show. It can be really hard to accept that you aren’t going to always get the role that you go for, but roles don’t define what you can get out of a show. Until the time comes where I move onto my next season of life, I will continue to learn and grow through one of my favorite things, no matter what the part (and even if I have to wear a mustache again :P). Until Next Time, Abby 1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. P.S. Big thank you to my wonderful mom and dad for supporting me and letting me continue to do theater! You guys are amazing!!!!!