I’ve always felt my love for musical theater was just a little strange amongst my peers. Growing up in a small, rural town in the Midwest where my high school had no drama program, you had to travel a few hours to see a traveling production of any Broadway show. It was only after my parents went and saw Phantom of the Opera in Toronto for their anniversary that I got hooked.
For anyone who knows me, it is no secret that I love musicals. I can’t help it. There’s something about the way music interacts with stories that I just can’t get enough of. I remember the exact musical that started it, too.
The Phantom of the Opera.
The funny thing is, I didn’t fall in love with Phantom because of my experience seeing it. No, I fell in love because of what I heard. See, when I was really young, my dad took my mom to Toronto for their anniversary to see the production. They came back with the soundtrack. For weeks and months after that, I would listen to that soundtrack during the hour-long drive to gymnastics practice three to four days a week. I sang like I was an opera singer (or tried to) and memorized all the words. I loved the fact that I could create the storyline in my mind and picture the scenes, simply by hearing the music and piecing together the lyrics from different songs. There was kind of a pact between my dad and I that, when I was old enough, we would go see Phantom of the Opera on stage.
Finally, when I was in the eighth grade, I got to go see it when it was on tour in Detroit. I remember we were in the very back row, right in front of the air conditioner so I was freezing. It didn’t matter, though. I was enthralled with the voices and the story. If I wasn’t hooked on musical theater before then, I was now. Could there be any more perfect world than that of a musical? Wouldn’t life be more wonderful if people just burst into song to show their feelings? I thought it would and continue to believe that to this day.
Since that night at the Fox Theater in Detroit, I’ve found a love for many more musicals. Rent, Wicked, The Lion King, Hairspray, Chicago – some of them I’ve seen, while others I’ve just become familiar with through song, much as I did with Phantom. No matter which show it is, though, it never fails that I am taken into that world, where everything can be explained in a song.
Are you a fellow musical theater fan? Is there one show that started it all for you? I’d love to hear about it!