Monday, April 16, 2012

Memory Mondays: Musicals!

Little Courtney and Dad!
Beauty & The Beast: Precursor to my love of theatre
*insert cliche opening about musical theatre here* "There's no business like show business! Like no business I know. Nowhere can you get that happy feeling when you are stealing that extra bow."

 Ok now that I've gotten that out of my system, it's on with the show! Musical theatre has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up on the Disney VHS tapes filled with plenty of songs and splendor. That love of story through song quickly moved over to full musical theatre productions.

I really have to thank my dad for that. My Dad took me to my first "legit" touring production when I was six. Beauty and the Beast was in town at the now defunct Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore. However, I told my Art teacher, "I'm seeing a show on Broadway tonight." My little brain did not yet realize Broadway is a place, not a concept of live theatre. I remember dressing up in my finest attire and heading downtown for the big show.  We sat in our mezzanine seats, and from the moment that the curtain rose, I was hooked. My favorite movie came alive right before my eyes. It was way better than any 3-D movie re-release.

A few years later, I moved on from the disney corporation generated musicals to the more classic musicals of the "Golden Age." My first was The Music Man. I again can thank my Dad for that. I remember coming down the stairs one evening because I couldn't sleep. My Dad and StepMom had just begun to watch The Music Man. They allowed me to stay downstairs, and I was once again enamored with what I saw on screen: the sweet songs, the big dance numbers, and the beautiful love story. Shortly thereafter, The Music Man came into town, and we went and saw it. I was probably the only eight year old in the theatre.

My collection of Playbills!
The Music Man was the first one I saved
I believe my next musical obsession was the movie version of Chicago. My Dad told me about it, and I thought it sounded pretty cool. I mean come on, a murder plot, snazzy songs, and all that jazz? I probably shouldn't have seen it when I was only ten years old but whatever. I absolutely loved it, and I even begged my Dad to take me to see it again. When the soundtrack came out, I wore that CD into the ground. I could probably still recite every line for you.

That next summer my parents enrolled me in theatre camp. There I really found my love of the stage. I had been enrolled in dance classes since I was in diapers, but hadn't thought of acting. I completely credit my quick thinking abilities and wit to all the improv exercises I participated in at camp. Those were my favorites.

Big Courtney & Dad!
Still enjoying theatre :) 
After middle school summer camps, I did the high school productions. (Fittingly, my first performance was in The Music Man) I can dance, but I can't sing to save my life, so I often stayed in the chorus. However I always danced and reacted my heart out on that stage. I even saw the behind the scenes aspect as Assistant Director for Suessical my senior year. Even though I no longer participate in acting, I still appreciate good theatre.

I'm a big fan of the TKTS booth in NYC, and I love seeing National Tours at the Hippodrome. A part of me misses the feeling of being up on stage, both my dance recitals in the early 90s and my high school productions.

Just this past weekend, I once again felt that longing for it. My Dad took me to see a production of my all time favorite show, Into the Woods. (Side note: If you like Stephen Sondheim we can totally be best friends). It was beautifully done and well cast.

I hope to continue this appreciation for theatre through old age. I will be that frail, little, 80 year old woman rocking out to a local production of Hair. I'm all about supporting the arts.

I guess in order to wrap this up I should bring it back to the beginning. Thanks Dad for sparking my love of theatre! Sentimental moment: I know I'll always cherish it for the rest of my life.

May all your memories be meaningful,

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