Yes, I am in my twenties.
Yes, I live twenty minutes from a professional theater.
Yes, I just went to see my first live professional musical earlier this month.
See, when I was younger, I thought I didn’t like musicals. What was the point of interrupting a story with some random songs? Just tell the story all the way through, thank you very much.
However, as I got older and began developing my own unique tastes, a friend encouraged me to try a couple musicals. And shock of all shocks, I really liked them. Turned out musicals were just like everything else—there were ones I absolutely hated and ones that I absolutely adored.
That was how I wound up seeing Cinderella at our local theater this summer.
It was unlike anything I had ever been to before. I’d been to concerts, one of them at this same theater. I’d been to high school plays and musicals. I’d watched filmed musicals.
But this was different.
As soon as I got home, I jotted down some of my noticings, mainly so my brain would quiet down and let me sleep. Why not explore some of those things here?
After all, musicals are a form of art, just like writing.
Just like life.
The musical was different, but better.
I’d listened to the 2013 Broadway Cinderella recording before attending the show and filled in the gaps between the songs with how I thought it might go.
Very little of the show matched what I had imagined—and am I ever glad it didn’t. The story flowed in a way that it couldn’t have had I forced all my ideas and presuppositions on it.
Not only was the story different, but the show itself was different. It differed from other versions of the story, other versions of the show, even other actors’ portrayals.
For instance, I honestly thought the live Topher’s voice was better (but it could just be that the soundtrack version was also the voice of Hans from Frozen . . .). I could understand what Marie was saying in There’s Music in You (vibratto makes it hard sometimes). Each character was nuanced, unique.
The actors and actresses took a show, a story, and made it their own.
Different doesn’t necessarily mean wrong, or bad, or a disaster. In fact, different is often the best something can ever be.
I was included.
Since the theater I attended is circular, the story was literally happening around me. No seat was a bad seat, I could always see what was happening on the stage. Sometimes I had a unique perspective that someone across the stage from me didn’t have, and vice versa. A few rows ahead of us, dancers whirled, and a few seats away from us, actors and actresses entered and exited in the aisles. (The Fairy Godmother walked right past me.)
Even as lovely romantic scenes played out before me, I was so in the story and the mindset of it all that I was scanning the entrances and exits and glancing over my shoulder for Sebastian and Madame lurking about.
It was something beautiful and glorious to fit so perfectly into a story, like it was written with me in mind and wouldn’t have been the same without me.
Even though we know life is the same way, sometimes it gets lonely, and we need the reminder.
Mistakes were the most beautiful thing.
One of my favorite small moments was during Ella’s transformation.
It was seamless. Almost.
Except for a snag in the back of Ella’s dress that hitched the fabric in a weird way. A snag Ella was oblivious to.
The entire audience waited and watched. The fox and raccoon footmen behind Ella debated via facial expressions just how far their duties extended.
And then the Fairy Godmother turned Ella around and smoothed out her dress. The gesture fit her character, the story so well, so seamlessly. It was a simple, yet heartwarming moment.
One we wouldn’t have seen if a mistake hadn’t been made first.
My favorite moments were the villagers’ dance in The Prince is Giving a Ball and the waltz at the ball. When the ensemble gets in on the action, whirling and twirling and turning cartwheels all at once, the choreography, how all the diverse and moving parts work together, amazes me.
But something more, you can feel the energy they’re passing back and forth to each other. And somewhere inside those acts, they pass that energy to you and allow you to join in, even if you’re in a seat and they’re on a stage.
Of course, it also may have helped that I attended with a friend, too. :)
That energy is life, isn’t it? We’re all part of something so big and wonderful, and there come those moments where we’re right where we’re meant to be, playing our part and working alongside others who are doing the same.
The ache in my throat.
At one point in Loneliness of Evening, Ella and Topher’s voices blended so perfectly that against my will, my breath caught. Goosebumps raised on my arm. An ache rose in my throat. And I couldn’t help but look up, raise my chin a little bit.
It’s the only way I can describe it. Such a raw, perfect moment that reminded me of all that was true and all I could be.
The hardest part of attending this musical was waking up the next morning to a world that had clearly not just attended their first musical. The excitement inside me dimmed a bit as I returned to the real world with all the usual things to do.
But why should I let the world dim that? They don’t get to make that call.
In a way, I had my own Cinderella moment. The world may be rough. But there’s real-life magic, too. Sometimes a musical is the best way to remember that.
What about you? What are some of your favorite musicals? Share your adventures in the comments below!
Hi, I'm Rachel! I'm the author of the posts here at ProseWorthy. Thanks for stopping by!