Taking My Final Bow As A Former Theatre Kid

Taking My Final Bow As A Former Theatre Kid

I will always choose a Broadway show over a sports game and still appreciate theatre for what it is.

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"Are you sure you want to stop? You're so close to getting better parts... You're so talented... Just try one more time"

My mother is my biggest fan and wanted to see me thrive on stage living up to my full potential. She introduced me to dance, music, and theatre- big parts of my life that shaped my interests in storytelling and self-expression. I loved theatre for what it is and will always support it, but will not be making any reappearances onstage again.

I love to sing and dance, and musical theater is basically a combination of the two. After 10 years of theater, the rehearsal process burned me out. Rehearsals aren't just constantly running scenes, songs, and dances, it involves interactions with the cast and directors and I always felt disconnected and distant.

I started formal training in ballet and tap when I was three and took independent voice lessons when I was eight, so I came into my first musical theatre intensive with an extensive background in techniques when I was ten. I love the costumes and make-up. The whole process of becoming a different person in a different time and place appealed to me. It was a more sophisticated and accepted version of playing pretend. I was in my own little world on stage, but it carried over in reality too.

Because of my training, I was put in higher age groups for shows. For reference, I was twelve dancing and performing with seniors in high school. It was a large age gap I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared for. Most tweens would want to be associated with older kids, but being thrown in so early left me constantly intimidated by older members.

I was never bullied or left out on purpose. The older kids were always very kind to me and invited me to their cast parties, but the age gap was so big it was hard to really connect with them. It is amazing how much went on while I participated and how oblivious I was to their drama and personal lives. I eventually left this specific program in eighth grade and decided to take a break from theatre.

My high school really encourages students to be involved with extracurriculars, so I decided to audition for my drama club's fall showcase.

Again, I felt a strong disconnect from my cast. They were always kind to me, but they've been performing together since they were in middle school and already formed their strong friendships. The director at the time was very impressed with my background and wanted me to be more involved with their larger productions. However, I was already committed to competitive dance in the spring.

Competition dance became too much of a financial and time burden on my family. I was still dancing at a competitive level, just not traveling around with the studio. Because of this, I was able to commit myself to drama club. I auditioned for my first high school musical and made so many friends and enjoyed working with the cast. I enjoyed it so much, I even ran for an officer position for the next year. That ended up being my downfall.

Theatre-- much like sports teams-- require an insane amount of dedication. But my drama club's definition of dedication was too restricting for me and became the reason why I ultimate will not return to theatre.

Junior year was stressful on all levels, and the director added so much pressure to make theatre my entire high school career when I wanted to study or be more involved in other areas like broadcasting and communications, which I was actually considering to study in college. I could not take her second theatre class as it conflicted with my TV class. She cut me from shows and refused to let me dance. It made me absolutely miserable to sit in rehearsals watching the choreography I know I could master. I was never the ambitious, cut-throat performer- I wanted to sing and dance. She turned the theatre into politics and destroyed my interest in participating.

At this point, I felt so defeated my junior year, but dance was always a constant for me.

My ballet teacher asked me to be her student teacher and substitute on her competition team and it was the best thing to happen to me my junior year. She always made me feel wanted and appreciated. She saw my potential to be a great dancer and made sure I saw it too. Dance, ballet, in particular, has always been more rewarding to me because of the discipline and concentration she demanded from us. The entire time was dedicated to technique. My time never felt wasted compared to the long hours I sat on an auditorium only being on stage for ten minutes. I may only perform a recital dance once, but it made me so much happier than doing the same musical three times which made me miserable.

My younger sister still does musical theatre and she reminds me of the self-expression and stories that drew me into it in the first place.

I continue to support her and see her grow on stage to handle more mature and complicated roles. My mom asks me if I secretly miss being on stage. I am so fortunate to dance and have not completely abandoned the stage. My form of expression goes towards video and photography, but I will always choose a Broadway show over a sports game and still appreciate theatre for what it is.


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The 11 Most Meaningful 'Dear Evan Hansen' Quotes

Eleven of my favorite quotes from the new musical "Dear Evan Hansen" that changed my perspective after seeing the musical live.
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The new musical Dear Evan Hansen, showing on Broadway's Music Box Theater is a suprisingly uplifting story about a boy who kills himself, and the star of the show (Evan Hansen played by Ben Platt) getting caught up in a messy lie, pretending to be best friends with the boy who took his life.

The story, however, is much more than one of sadness or suicide. It is one of love, the unconditional kind and the kind that you find yourself falling into. It is a story of friendship and forgiveness and owning up to your mistakes. But most importantly it is a story of accepting yourself and becoming confident in your own skin.

I was given the opportunity to see Dear Evan Hansen live on Broadway, and after hearing the songs live, the lyrics gave me a whole new meaning than when I would listen to them in my room through my headphones.

1. "I've learned to slam on the break, before I even turn the key."

Coming from the first song that was released off of the soundtrack "Waving Through a Window," this line helps charactarize Evan as anxious and nervous during interactions with others. Hitting the brake while starting a car is not necessary for it to start, but he creates this metaphor by saying he takes extra and unnecessary cautions before entering any seemingly simple and easy situation. As Evan is characterized, the audience or the listeners are able to connect better to him and to the story because more people than we may know must go through anxious thoughts and actions, that can be very difficult to live with.

2. "No one should stick it out or have any doubt that it matters that they are here."

"Dissappear," a song sung by Evan and his two friends as a proposal to Connor's (boy who committed suicide and was presumably best friends with Evan) parents about a project they are beginning to keep Connor's legacy alive, is a straightforward remark that "no one deserves to dissappear." This quote recognizes the struggles that many people face of hiding their struggles and not doing anything to fix them because they think it would be easier to hide it. It recognizes that people should not have to do this, and it is a request for people who are going through the things that Connor did to reach out and tell people that they are struggling, because it really does get better and asking for help is the first step.

3. "It takes a little patience, takes a little time. A little perseverance and a little uphill climb."

I believe this quote can relate to many things. It is a duet sung by Connor's father and Evan, titled "To Break in A Glove." Though it is literally talking about the correct way to break in a baseball glove, it can also be talking about parenting, school, or recovery from depression, anxiety, or any other mental disorders that can be consuming. Connor's dad was not anything of a prime parent to Connor, and this quote can mean that parenting a kid to your full potential takes patience and time. School, another big struggle in Evan's life as well as Connor's, takes patience but as does the most consuming and memorable aspect that the musical is addressing: overcoming depression and anxiety so that it does not consume you and lead to the decision that Connor ended up making. Though it may seem like a neverending cycle of depressing thoughts, to overcome them it takes patience and perseverance, much like any other accomplishment.

4. "Even when the dark comes crashing through, and when you need a friend to carry you, when you're broken on the ground you will be found."

From what is most definitely my favorite song from the soundtrack, "You Will Be Found" addresses the fact that so many people feel alone and feel as though Connor did. This line shows that even though you may feel alone and you may be at your darkest, deepest point, there will always be help and support and someone to care for you. You are not alone.

5. "I'd rather pretend I'm something better than these broken parts, pretend I'm something other than this mess that I am."

The line from "Words Fail" shows Evan at his most vulnerable. It shows the side of him that he wishes no one to witness because it is his worst side. I find this song to be the most emotional, and most importantly because the lyrics can be related to so well. With depression and anxiety, people can act out and do things as they see fit to make themselves feel better, which is partly what Evan did, pretending to be Connor's friend. This quote shows the reasons behind those actions, helping people in the same position feel relieved for the things that they think are going wrong only for them.

6. "When you're falling in a forest and there's nobody around do you evern really crash or even make a sound?"

This line is another from "Waving Through a Window" and ties to Evan's anxiety as well. It shows the slow deterioration of one's mind, and how no one even notices when someone is going through things like that, hence the metaphor to the tree falling in a forest and no one hearing it because no one is there. It is making a notion to the fact, also, that people are so afraid to discuss the issues of suicide and depression and anxiety, and that it is a problem especially among youth.

7. "Why should I play the grieving girl and lie saying that I miss you and that my world has gone dark without your light?"

This line from "Requiem," sung by Connor's sister and parents, is a different perspective of what happened to Connor, a more cynical perspective. While it may seem insensitive, I enjoy that Zoe (Connor's sister) stands her ground with her relationship with her brother and remains indifferent, instead of lying about loving him just because she isn't able to anymore.

8. "If I could tell her how she's everything to me, but we're a million worlds apart and I don't know how I would even start."

Although this is about how Evan feels about Zoe - not Connor - it shows how crippling it can be to wish you could be able to tell someone something, especially about your mental disablities, but you feel like you can't because you aren't close enough or don't know where to begin.

9. "So you got what you always wanted, so you got your dream come true, good for you."

This song is a turning point in the musical where Evan's actions begin to creep back up on him. It shows that even though you get what you wish for, it isni't always perfect all together. This line shows also that what you first think you want isn't always going to lead to the perfect life or the perfect girl or the perfect family, and you must not face your struggles with lies as Evan did.

10. "Your mom isn't going anywhere your mom is staying right here no matter what, I'll be here."

This comes from the song "So Big/So Small," when Evan apoligizes to his mother about abandoning her essentially for Connor's parents and she confesses to the hardships she has faced as a single mother who doesn't make much money. This is one of my favorite quotes, because it displays unconditional love from your family, and shows that no matter what it is you go through and no matter how much loathe you may feel for yourself, your family loves you and supports you.

11. "Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a great day and here's why: because today at least you're you and, well, that's enough."

These opening words to the finale close up the message of the show: that you are enough, no matter what anyone tells you and no matter what you begin to tell yourself. Making mistakes is human, as is having depression or anxiety, and just because you make mistakes or you have depressed thoughts does not mean that you are any less of a person than someone who doesn't feel the same as you. This musical and this line taught me that no matter what, you are wanted, you are needed, and you are worth it no matter what you do or what you go through.

Cover Image Credit: Dear Evan Hansen Official Website

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We Need To Give Theatre At Festivals A Chance

Watching theater being performed outdoors and in smaller places is the old way of watching shows.

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With May being about Mental Health awareness, It shows that we need to expose people to the arts more often. The Orlando Fringe Festival is the longest running festival in the Orlando area. It provides an accessible and affordable outlet to bring the community together to create experiences through the arts. This festival takes place around the Loch Haven Park for about 2 weeks leading up to Memorial Day. It has around 500 uncensored performances each year and has something for all ages. Imagine something like this in every city. I feel like it would bring up the morale of each of the populations and get that vitamin D that everyone needs.

The artists that put in for the Orlando Fringe go through an application process and the cool part is for those outside Orlando that there is housing guaranteed for up to 4 people. That's something you don't hear everyday especially if the event lasts about two weeks. A festival like this is good for the soul and also good for the wallet. It gets people out into the community and provides exposure to the arts in an age-appropriate way. It provides an opportunity for people to go outside and enjoy the weather as we transition into summer. It's a perfect way for artists to showcase their craft and to expand their creativity. Its a prime example of why we should never stop learning.

If you are heading to Orlando Fringe from May 13th to 26th. I would check out multiple shows. Through talking to some of the artists, I found that the "How to Eat A Bear" Show is one of the shows to see. Luke Balagia and Mack Stine are the directors of the show. The show is based off a weird joke on a dating profile for Luke. These two met in an improv class 4 years ago and have been creating material ever since. They refuse to call it working because of it not being "Baller." It is a perfect example of if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life. With all of the love and care put into this, why wouldn't you want to go see it? The alternative is two men in the theater crying...

How To Eat A Bear Flyer Orlando Fringe

Imagine if the world was exposed to more of the arts, how much less mental health issues. Why do you think there is art therapy for those with mental health therapy. I've noticed that when people attend any celebration of the arts that they are happier people and make the best conversationalists. Being able to provide an alternative perspective on life is a beautiful gift that not a lot of people can give. With festivals like The Orlando Fringe, it provides a cheaper way to view the arts while going out into the community. Would you rather be stuck inside doing nothing or go out into the community and learn something about the arts?

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