10 Weeks to 10 Years: Part 3August 5, 2016
New Broadway 101
2008 was my first time sharing a stage with a group of the most passionate and dedicated performers I have ever had the honor of working with. The show was New Broadway 101 and I am forever changed because of it.
I was lucky enough to act during CenterStage’s 2nd annual show with a concept that gave a full theatrical experience.There were hours of memorization, numerous costume changes, fancy cane twirling, and special sound effects. (And I’m not even talking about the band and choir!)
The audience was attending a class about the new age of Broadway. The course’s professor was set in his traditional teaching style, while his plucky assistant (yours truly) was determined to find new ways to teach about the wide world of musicals.
This TA character was very energetic, up for a challenge, and unafraid to think outside the box. Not only did that fit right into my wheelhouse, but this character also seemed to represent everything I’ve come to love about CenterStage.
I was not around for the entirety of the show’s preparation–only coming in during the last month or so of rehearsal– but even then I knew that CenterStage was where I was meant to be. These performers were so alive and so talented and none of them were afraid to take chances or look silly. (And there is now plenty of video evidence to prove I have adopted those same qualities)
One of the many things that I love about CenterStage is the supportive and welcoming environment. I never felt like the new kid or an outsider- for that season I was part of the team. I will never be able to thank the group enough for taking me in all those years ago.
I’ll never forget walking onstage in a Wonder Woman costume and bright yellow heels to introduce a song from the Lion King, wearing a devil’s tail and horns delivering lines with a distorted voice, or doing my best Fonzie impression. I was given every opportunity to make the role my own, and was encouraged to give it everything I had.
I helped introduce 23 show-stopping Broadway numbers and I was there to watch the audience light up at the spectacle, clap along to familiar tunes, and fall in love with new music. There were moments that almost brought me to tears on a nightly basis and there were numbers where I wished I could jump on stage to join in. I did have fun dancing and singing backstage.
In an interview with City Pages in 2008, Tom Brunner said, “It’s a blast at rehearsals. If we can portray half as much fun as we actually have, the audience will be giddy when they leave.”
Much like the audience, I left the show giddy. I was hooked on CenterStage and wanted nothing more than to share my love of music with these wonderful people. It took a few years, but I eventually became a performing member of the choir, a board member, and resident blogger. To think it all started with a few show tunes.
Now, in 2016 we are preparing our second go at Broadway music with our show A Night on Broadway. Even if you attended the show in 2008 you can bet we’ve raised the bar in our renditions of some of our favorite songs.
If you were in the audience for 2008’s New Broadway 101, bring your notes and make sure you keep a lookout for these throwbacks to our first Broadway show:
- The choir will be singing selections from Ragtime, a musical that was highlighted by the band in 2008.
- The choir will sing “One Short Day” from Wicked again– this time as part of a medley.
- This year a small ensemble will be presenting a song from Mama Mia, the title song of which was performed by a string quartet in CS’s first Broadway show.
- The choir will revisit The Lion King, singing “Circle of Life”. Last time they sang “Shadowland”.
Whether you were with us the last time we presented a Broadway revue or will be joining us for the first time, we can’t wait to share this amazing show with you.
My wish for you is to find CenterStage as welcoming as it is entertaining. I hope you find yourself dancing and singing in your seat. I hope you leave giddy! More than anything I hope CenterStage brings you as much happiness as it has brought me these last 1o years.
Come see A Night on Broadway September 29th, 30th, and October 1st.
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