Everyone in St. Louis is wearing blue these days as we enthusiastically cheer on our hometown hockey team, the Saint Louis Blues, to what we hope will be a historic Stanley Cup victory! But on Sunday, June 9, this girl isn’t excited about game 6 of the championship along with the rest of the city. Instead, I’m wrapped up in my own game, my personal Super Bowl taking place on the Great White Way. A magical night filled with both victory and defeat that I look forward to all year long with great anticipation. I’ll be cheering on the best of Broadway as I watch the 73rd annual Tony Awards!
My Musical Theater Beginnings- My fascination with musical theater began at an early age. My dad was a high school art teacher who designed the sets, supplied the props and was in charge of the house (ticket sales, posters, program design, ushers) for the annual high school spring musical. Having an “in” with the house manager privileged me with front row seats to every performance! I must have been five or six when I saw my dad’s first show, “West Side Story”and I immediately became hooked. I remember sitting there completely mesmerized. I fell in love with everything… the music, the dancing, the emotion, the set, the costumes, the spot lights! A new world opened for me and I eagerly entered in by acting out the shows I saw in our backyard and critiquing the performances (I saw each show three times).
As a child, the high school productions introduced me to many of the classics like Rodger and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” and “The King and I,” and Meredith Wilson’s “The Music Man” and “Guys and Dolls.” I also saw contemporary productions like “Pippin” and “Working” by Stephen Schwartz.
One of my favorites was “Grease” and to this day it remains in my top ten. I remember feeling like I was part of that production when I saw my mom’s makeup table and baby blue Samsonite carry-on cosmetic bag being used by Rizzo and Sandy on stage. As an impressionable preteen I related to Sandy, yet sympathized with Rizzo when she belted out, “There Are Worse Things I Could Do.”
Meeting My Broadway Tribe- The Tony Awards didn’t enter my life until high school. That’s when I met friends in marching band who were just like me… Broadway obsessed! It was the era of “Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserable” where musicals were mostly all sung through. We spent hours studying the CD liners, memorizing every, single, word! In concert band and in the pit orchestra for our own high school musicals we played music from the shows we were so passionate about. And on the night of the Tony Awards we gathered together, seeing numbers from nominated shows and cheering on our favorite performers.
The 60th Annual Tony Awards- In 2006 I checked a huge event off of my bucket list when I attended the 60th annual Tony Awards in person at Radio City Music Hall! Jersey Boys won best musical that year. My friend and I dressed in elegant evening gowns and experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity that we will never forget! Although legendary performers like Chita Rivera, James Earl Jones and Julie Andrews appeared tiny from our mile high seats, we were thrilled to simply be present.My story ends with the band geek marrying the captain of the football team (although he played in the orchestra during off season). And we are raising a well rounded little girl who is gaining an appreciation for live theater and live sporting events. So on Sunday, June 9, with an assist from a sophisticated remote and DVR, our family will avoid any interference and have a night choreographed with the seasons greatest singers, dancers and hockey players.