Thursday, December 13
Finding this clip on YouTube got me thinking about musicals, and my life...
I'm not shy about my love of musical theater - I grew up listening to my mom's vinyl collection: Evita, Two Gentleman of Verona and Funny Girl. (Was there ever a doubt about my sexuality?) When we were younger, we would go to a major musical, as a family, each year. From Les Miserables, to clunkers like Starlight Express, my parents made sure we were exposed to the theater - even though my dad fell asleep during Les Miz (with a running time of over three hours, who can blame him?), and fell asleep before the show started when we saw Phantom Of the Opera.
Over the years, I took up performing - music, then voice and an attempt at jazz, contemporary and tap - even starring in shows at UCLA, I won a Carol Burnett Musical Comedy Award, and had the chance to work with some amazing people, and see, and star in a slew of shows. I even directed a production of Little Shop of Horrors.
But the thing about non-Equity musicals... you don't usually get to do the newest, blockbuster shows. You end up doing re-imagined, post-modern "high art," or you do "legit" shows. The term "legit" started coming up, in the world of musical theater in the post-Cameron Mackintosh era. Mackintosh was behind the British invasion of mega-shows, like Phantom, Les Miz, Miss Saigon and a ton of other money-makers that were all spectacle, all flash. I mean, what show needs a helicopter landing in the second act? Not Carousel, or Godspell, that's for sure.
But I also had the opportunity - well, OK, it was a regular assignment in the UCLA Musical Theater Workshop, to see shows, dance and other enriching fare. And I saw some amazing, off the beaten path stuff. I also saw some crap. And even though I'm not performing anymore, I carry with me the depth of that journey, with a song in my heart.