Cue the lights. Draw the curtains. Start the music. Go.
Musicals have been a part of my life since I was in middle school, where I have participated as a member of the chorus, a dancer, and as acting leads. Each show allowed me to take on a personality, a persona that is far from who I am, but each helped me grow as an individual. The different roles that I participated in helped me learn who I am, what I love, and how to be who I had hidden for so long.
“The King and I”- 2010
My first musical. During this show, I was a simple choir member and dancer for certain dance scenes, and I learned a lot about myself here. Since this was my first show, it helped open my eyes about how much I loved dancing, performing, and singing. It pushed me out of my comfort zone because I had never danced before. The fact that I also had never needed to memorize music also helped me learn how to work hard and practice my music starting at a young age. While this all seems to be ways that I have grown in a musical aspect, the truth is, my personality grew because I had never done something so out there before this experience.
“Once Upon a Mattress”- 2011
This show was my second show. “Once Upon a Mattress” is a show about the Princess and the Pea with a comedic twist that the princess is instead a swamp princess (cue the Shrek memes). This was also my first show with a major role where I played the Evil Queen’s sidekick.
As the sidekick, I learned that I loved working with someone and being in roles that were partner-oriented. This helped me learn how much I loved working with different groups of people, now that I look at it from a Social Work view. As a middle schooler, however, I learned how to speak my mind, how to sing loud and proud, and how to act…well. It has always been an interesting experience because you never know where you will be after a show, but this show in itself has helped me over the years to grow as a musical actor more than I could have imagined. Because I was able to grow musically, I was able to grow mentally by learning how to read music better, being able to memorize the script faster, and process spatial awareness as I had to process not just music and my lines, but also the choreography and where I needed to be on stage.
“The Music Man”- 2012
My first leading role as Marian the Librarian helped push my limits both as a student and as a performer. Off the stage, I learned how to manage my time as I was still in school, was in choir, and was babysitting on the sidelines. Musically, I learned how to read music more accurately, how to memorize my lines, to learn my dances more precisely and with more technique while being able to have more fun with them, and how to enjoy the show. In my personal life, I learned how to lighten up and have fun since my character was very strict in her ways and never strayed from her path, but also to live life because before you know it, the chance you had might be gone.
“Scrooge: The Musical”- 2012
This was my first musical as a high school student, but it was also my first musical that was a community production. In the beginning of the show, I was supposed to be a background actor who would be in every scene, but in a different outfit. Come the second night of production (out of four), things changed. The director approached me and had me relearn parts for certain scenes so I could step up into a small speaking role. This definitely taught me how to go with the flow and how to always be flexible.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie”- 2013
My first musical at the senior high center made my high school experience something I was completely unprepared for because I had never been involved in a show with so many people, so many costumes, and so many moving stage sets. This show exposed me to fashion and makeup that I had forgotten existed, making me fall in love with the 1920’s for the first time, and exposing me to tap dancing as well. It also helped push me into recovery for the first time in my life and pushed me to really look at where I was and realize that I was not happy. The stage helped me realize who I truly was for the first time during this production and it gave me the ability to stand up for myself among people and speak my mind no matter what I needed to say.
“Anything Goes”- 2016
My final musical. During this show, I again held a leading role as our “bad guy’s” girlfriend. We were mobsters, very Bonnie and Clyde, which made the acting so much more fun. Learning how to speak in a high pitched Bronx accent, how to sing poorly (on purpose), how to tap dance and LEAD a dance, and how to flirt openly on stage helped my confidence grow to something I have never seen before. Bonnie, the female I was playing in the show, helped me learn that I could have the confidence and the sass that she has everyday if I wanted to, and I learned how to work it. I learned how to sing out, how to have fun, and how to let loose even when everyone is watching.
As you can tell, I’ve learned a lot from being on stage. Everyone has their own experiences, but mine? Mine are some of the greatest memories I will ever have. Mine time on stage helped make me who I really am.