1. The Show Must Go On
Whether it's a skipped line, a flat note, a ripped costume piece, or a missing prop, every show has their fair share of mistakes. Even Broadway Legends like Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster, Barbra Streisand, and Bernadette Peters could probably tell you horror stories from the mistakes that have been made in their shows. In my high school's production of "Annie," Annie's iconic red dress ripped right before "I Don't Need Anything But You." Now, if you know Annie (and most everyone should), you know that this red dress is famous and can absolutely cannot be ripped. After a moment of panic, she ran onstage anyway and switched up her blocking so nobody saw her exposed back. In "All Shook Up," I had one friend whose skirt dropped in the middle of the performance. Instead of freaking out, she picked it back up, fastened the belt, and danced her way off the stage (where she then proceeded to have a much deserved cry). In "Seussical," we had a long moment of silence when we realized that we had skipped over a good chunk of lines. As everyone froze in fear, not knowing what to do, someone swooped in with lines that connected the story line. Mistakes happen in every single show. However, that's the fun aspect of live theatre: You never know what's going to happen. It takes a truly great actor or actress to recover from them gracefully and not let it affect the show.
2. Everything Happens for a Reason
There is nothing more disappointing than working for what you want, only to come up empty-handed. It's even worse when you're the only one of your friends in the ensemble. It's hard to swallow your pride and congratulate someone that you're jealous of -- especially if they got the part that you wanted. However, after auditioning for many shows and not having the cast list go my way, I have realized this: Everything happens for a reason. As cliche as it may sound, I wholeheartedly believe in that. If I had been cast as a part in "Grease," I would never have been paired with a dance partner that showed me that my curvy body was strong and beautiful and was capable of much more than I thought it was. If I had been cast at all in "Pirates of Penzance," I would never have found my passion for writing. And if I hadn't been cast as the Gym Teacher in "Hairspray," I never would have met my best friend.
3. The Definition of Family Includes Friends
I have never felt closer to theatre kids. Maybe it's because I've seen all my cast members in their underwear, or maybe it's because I've never met a theatre kid that hasn't welcomed me with open arms. Either way, my theatre friends have somehow morphed into my theatre family. They have been by my side through my parents' divorce, countless crushes, the really horrible middle school years that we will never, ever talk about, and they were there the day that I got accepted into my dream college. Yes, we fight and we have our differences (it's called drama for a reason), but what family doesn't?
OK. I admit. This one might be a lie. I don't care how many times you've waited for a cast list, the wait will never get easier. I don't think there is one theatre kid that can say they don't constantly check every social media platform for the cast list. And it's even worse when it's posted later than expected (I'm looking at you, high school directors).
5. In the Words of Rachel Berry from "Glee," "Being a part of something special, makes you special."
If you want to see magic, go backstage on opening night. There's a certain buzz in the air as the cast rushes around in an excited frenzy, everyone trying to put the finishing touches on their performance in a matter of minutes. The leads secure their mics with countless bobby pins and sticky mic tape, running over their lines in their head again and again and again, praying that they don't sing flat or screw up a scene. The ensemble gathers in whatever open space they can find and go through the dance moves because they know that, even though they're not leads, they're just as important. The cast comes together in the orchestra room and sings over the songs they've had trouble with, perfecting the notes, rhythm and lyrics. When they're done, the director stands in front of the costumed characters and smiles. They make a short speech about how proud they are of us for putting together such a hard show in so little time. They make a comment about how we have to keep getting better and better every night. They tell us to break a leg. And then they let us loose to take what we've learned in the last three months and put on a show in front of an audience of people that are waiting to escape their life for two hours and feel the magic that we have been feeling the whole time.