Musical Theatre is Hard Work

I have spent a lot of time on or around the stage over the years. However, although I don’t remember a time in which I didn’t love performing, it wasn’t until 2003 when I would find a group which would allow me to get on that stage and do so many crazy incredible things. It was then where I was irrevocably addicted to the stage and what all it meant.

For the next few years, I would spend as much time as I could on the stage, even jumping from theatre troupe to theatre troupe just to make sure I would get the maximum time up on that stage so I could sing, dance, and act.

It was an amazing time of learning about myself and my limitations as a singer/dancer/actor. Ultimately, this is where I learned about my need for creative expression and what it meant to me. It’s where I met my wife. And it’s ultimately the reason that I write today. While I definitely wrote prior to this experience, learning more about my own creative expression, as well as my need to do so, is what brought me to the point where I would actively work toward finding new ways to express myself through new mediums.

It’s also why I have been enjoying writing for the stage of late. Having such a strong connection to the artform has caused me to feel as though writing for the stage is probably where I should have been from the start, perhaps moving toward books after I had honed my art more.

For the past ten+ years, I haven’t spent that much time on the stage. There have been a few shows that I’ve actively pursued being a part of, but most of the time I’ve been on the stage in the past decade has been when someone has reached out to me saying they need someone to fill a part, and I’ve found a way to cram the rehearsal schedule into my busy schedule. While I’d obviously enjoy the opportunity to do something more than being a background character to fill space, I simply haven’t felt like I’ve had the time to put my all into a role and really run with it, not to mention I’ve become a bit more self-conscious in recent years, something I’ve been actively working on getting better about.

So, when I was approached to be a part of a new production about a month ago, and told it would only require six rehearsals, I decided that I could really use some time outside of the house, and agreed to be a part of a big musical number that would require all sorts of singing and dancing, which are both things I haven’t done in pretty much ten years.

And I forgot how much work they are to do, especially together.

My 40-year old body might not know how to handle moving and singing at the same time anymore. While I’m never going to claim I was particularly good at the two, I never felt so absolutely out of breath doing such simple moves and light singing. A number of years ago I did a show where I was singing and dancing for the entire 1.5 hours of a show and never felt it was this difficult. Last night, during rehearsal, just going through the five minute song meant I was falling over from sheer oxygen deprivation. And sure, I can blame the mask, which might account for some of my issues, but the truth is, I think I might be out of shape.

And who knew that it required being in good shape to do musical theatre? I thought it was an artform for the nerds who didn’t want to do sports.

All the same, if you want to see me dressed in a fat Santa suit, dancing around like an idiot with a bunch of other dudes in fat Santa suits, I might have an idea of where you could make that happen…


2 responses to “Musical Theatre is Hard Work”

  1. I hope there will be video! I have a lot of nostalgia for musical theater–my mom was in a community theater company throughout my childhood, even playing the lead in The Music Man one year. My brother and sister both played in the orchestra. I saw how much fun it was, but also how much time and peopling it took, and never took part but sometimes I wish I had.

    1. There are already a few videos of rehearsal floating around, but since I took this on in the most minimal of ways, I’m hiding in the back corner never to be seen outside in a flurry of red and white. I’ll let you know if, for some reason, a video of the actual sequence goes live somewhere.
      Amusingly, I’ve always been somewhat jealous of the people in the pit and wish I had the instrumental chops to hang out down there.

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