Or a musical! Or both! I’m here to tell you all about the wonders of live theater. There really is nothing else like it. There is something about watching performers go through all the ups, downs, joys, sorrows, laughter, crying, etc. right in front of you that creates a unique connection between you as the audience and the performers onstage. And that connection will always be unique to that particular audience because no two performances of a show are exactly alike.
Theater is a high-wire act. There are no retakes or edits. If you mess up, you have to keep going (which actually, as an actor who once broke down laughing hysterically in front of an audience after a lighting mishap, isn’t as damning as you might think. The audience laughed with me, at least I hope it was with me, and it was all good). And the excitement you can feel when someone (or you) belts out the perfect note or delivers an amazingly inspirational speech…well, it often leads to standing ovations. Being in a show or in a theater audience on a particular night can make you feel part of something special – it’s a story you can share with everyone, but can only be fully understood by those who were actually there.
I consider myself a “theater person.” There are many kinds of theater people, but what we all share is creative and inquisitive minds that are intrigued by the human condition and how different events can affect people. The best plays and musicals don’t simply entertain; they make you think long after you’ve left the theater.
My high school theater director always extolled the power of theater, reminding us “there is a reason the medium has lasted over 400 years.” I think part of it is that the best shows and performances live on so much longer than the original performance. Plays and musicals, once introduced to the world, are intended to be performed again and again all over the world with different creative teams putting their own stamp on it. Nothing is definitive about a show. We are always reexamining how a character might be played or where a show could take place and so on. When a show is brought back to Broadway for a new run, it is called a revival, allowing a new generation to experience it, likely in a very different way than previous ones, giving it new life.
If you’ve never been to the theater before, I urge you to go out and see a show. It doesn’t have to be Broadway or the West End (though shows there are certainly excellent). There are very likely multiple outstanding regional theaters near you to choose from. A quick search on the Internet will show you where they are and what’s playing. Find a show that seems interesting and go out and try it! Many theaters also have discounted rush rates for tickets the day of the show, as well as discounts for young people, military members and more, so you can see it cheaply too!
Feel free to reach out if you want to talk theater or want any recommendations from me. Also send me your theater recommendations too, I’d love to hear them!
Quick shout out to Bilaal for introducing me to The Listserve, anyone in DC should check out his product Linktank, a way of connecting people in the DC area to experts and events on topics they’re interested in in Washington D.C.
And to my amazing girlfriend, I love you very much!