If you're anything like me, you love a good musical. Nothing draws me into a story more than amazing singing, dancing, and acting on stage. Musicals bring humans together as we watch relatable stories unfold on stage. I have grown up attending all sorts of musicals that it is only fitting that in college I am currently taking a Broadway musicals class to fulfill one of my gen-ed requirements. It's not only an interesting and fun class since I enjoy musicals, but it has also taught me more about elements of musicals that I hadn't thought of before.

For example, we've covered what makes a musical a musical, differences between realistic and non-realistic shows, as well as what steps are necessary in order to get a small idea to a big Broadway stage with sell-out performances. I've learned so much and now look at musicals differently since I know even more of what happens before they hit the stage in front of sold-out crowds. Musicals entertain society in a way that captivates the audience and leaves them wanting to see more. When viewers are brought together around one common idea, we forget our differences and come together as we enjoy a night (or day!) at the theater.

Growing up as one of Disney's biggest fans, my parents brought me to my first musical, the "Lion King," at the Cadillac Palace Theater Downtown Chicago when I was five-years-old. Since that day, I have lost count of how many musicals I have seen, not only in Chicago and other surrounding suburbs but also in New York City. In New York, my mom and I were able to catch a couple of Broadway shows. In 2016, we enjoyed "Matilda" and "An American in Paris." However, in 2017, instead of seeing a musical, we saw a preview performance of the play, "Junk," at the Lincoln Center. Meanwhile, closer to home, I have seen an abundance of shows: "Hamilton," "The Little Mermaid," "Hairspray," and "Grease" are a few of my favorites.

Additionally, although my own acting career did not go far past my debut as an orphan in "Annie," that did not stop me from enjoying the art of theater. Plus, because of my brief experience on stage, I watch musicals differently since I know more about the preparation that goes into it from the behind-the-scenes standpoint. My positive view of musicals has been shaped by many different factors, but mainly by my family and friends and my experience as an orphan in "Annie."

As I reflect back on the musicals I have seen on Broadway, at home, and even on TV, I am realizing how important they truly are today because of the ability they have to bring people together. Personally, between regularly attending musicals while growing up, having friends who have had lead roles in school plays, and even briefly being in a musical myself, I have learned that this creative, collaborative, and educational art form allows humans to feel an abundance of emotions, both happy and sad.