When I was younger, I thought I was going to make it big someday on Broadway. It was always a dream of mine to live in New York and perform under the lights on a big stage for thousands of people. Musical Theater was my life, and somehow I had managed to convince myself that making it to the Big Apple was what I was my sole purpose in life. I'm sure every theater kid goes through this phase, and some never make it out.
Fortunately for me, I eventually saw where my life could no longer go down the path I had so desperately hoped it would. I always think about the things I would have told myself at that age, sometimes I wish I could go back and shake some sense into the timid theater kid I used to be, because now I realize that while I loved theater, I was more attached to the friendships I made while performing that was not the best for me personally. Here are a few things I learned when I left my theater past behind me.
1. It's Not a Feasible Career Choice
I'm sure a million Fine Arts majors are yelling at me right now, but listen. There is a difference between being a triple threat at school or community theater than there is when it comes to the real world. Many of the stars that make it big on Broadway have been training from birth or are just magically very talented. While I took lessons and worked my butt off to have the musical, theatrical, and dance abilities that I have now, I was never gonna be the most talented person in the room. I'm also not the type of girl who wants to play into the politics of what goes on behind the scenes. (aka nepotism or bribery.) Think the college scam but on a smaller level.
2. Friendships Don't Last Forever
I found myself being so attached to the friendships I made during my time as a theater kid. If you've ever been in theater you'll know that theater kids are very emotional and touchy-feely when it comes to friendships. Just like a team, everyone is close and you really do get to know so many people on a deeper level. I was so young when I did theater that I didn't take into account that people would come and ago, and change directions in your life. This isn't Glee, people lose contact and it's just part of life.
3. Theater Boys Aren't It Sis
Don't even get me started on this. The biggest piece of advice I have for theater kids, but predominantly my past self is to stay away from a backstage romance. They're nothing but drama, and there's a whole world of different people to meet and connect with in a romantic way. Just trust me.
4. The Music Doesn't Die
Just because you decide to try something new, it doesn't necessarily mean that your artistic lifestyle has to go away either. You can still enjoy the thespian elements of life or find ways to stay connected to your local theater or even consider it as just a hobby. It doesn't have to be your world, and it's not bad if you put that passion to the side for some time.
5. Get Out There and Find Yourself
The most important thing I could pass down to my fellow thespians, gleeks, and drama kids is to branch out and discover the world to it's fullest. Packing yourself full of rehearsals and commitments to people only in theater will not make you a better actor. Having life experience is the best thing not only for your acting career but for yourself if your endeavors fail.
Leaving your theater past behind you can hurt, but experiencing more than just a curtain call will grow you as a person. I will always love that feeling of getting ready for opening night, the rush of adrenaline as I step into the spotlight to sing my solo, the anticipation for my favorite musical number, I could go on and on. I'm grateful for the memories, and the life lessons. The theater life, in general, was just not right for me and was making me limit myself in lifestyle and my relationships with people outside of the cast and crew. I would trade it all over again in a heartbeat because I know that I have met such amazing friends, have the most amazing boyfriend and a prospering career. In the famous words of Elle Woods from the Legally Blonde Musical, "I am so much better than before." as a result of letting go of the theater kid I once was. All the world's a stage, so go out there and be a shining star.