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My long-lived romance with musicals began in eighth grade.
I was in French 1 and completely, 100% one of the teacher’s pets (100% was, coincidentally, also my average in that class, I think). When Mademoiselle asked if anyone wanted to go to see Les Miserables off-Broadway at The Mosque (now The Landmark Theater), I was definitely interested. She gave us a two-page summary of the story and told us to dress well for the theater.
If you’re familiar with Les Mis, you know two pages cannot possibly follow all the amazing, heart-wrenching story lines. I cried every. single. time someone died that first time. Afterward, I craved Les Mis. I listened to the tape of the soundtrack for weeks. I explained every scene to my sister in between songs.
During high school, I had the privilege of ushering at several shows in Richmond (like Grease–so when I finally saw the movie I was way confused. The show is quite different). My mom and I snagged incredible tickets to Man of La Mancha with Robert Goulet from a rich benefactor. One of my best friends acted in the musicals at the local high school, so that added four more to my exposure.
My parents took me to New York City for my 18th birthday. We ate at Windows on the World (sniff) and went to see Les Mis on Broadway. Amazing.
In college, I was introduced to songs from RENT, Jekyll and Hyde, and The Scarlet Pimpernel by my Michelle. We had several songs from RENT memorized to the point where we could each sing a part (Michelle usually had to be the boy or whoever cursed more, because I don’t curse). We went to see Anything Goes, HMS Pinafore, and Gypsy at school.
Mr. V and I went to see Les Mis in Richmond for our first-year dating anniversary. And my musical obssession has only been enhanced by four years of season tickets to a local theater in Franklin.
All of this to say: I don’t know what it is. The stories? The emotion-filled music? The fact that for years my heart so longed to be there on stage, singing, but my acting skills left a little too much to be desired? I know what drew me so into Les Mis was I felt so much like an Eponine! I guess it’s the same thing that makes us passionate about music, art, movies–there’s always something to relate to, the themes are eternal, and it arouses something spiritual within us.
When I sang in the Broadway Revue at church for two years, I felt complete exhileration, nothing quite like I’ve ever felt before. The only bad thing about having Libbie when I did was that I was WAY too tired to do it this year, not to mention working full-time with a three-month-old. But it broke my heart not to be able to be in it.
With my new Sirius radio, I’ve been listening to the “On Broadway” station nonstop. I love hearing songs from musicals I’ve never heard of, ones I love, and ones I sang in the Broadway Revue.
Maybe it’s a bad thing that these songs stir my soul so. Maybe it means it’s not being stirred enough by other things? But then again, maybe it’s just how God made me. Maybe it is a perfect puzzle piece in my life, something He will use for good.
Thanks for letting me ramble. Now, I have to know: do you know what the heck I’m talking about? If so, what’s your favorite musical?