My obsession with Broadway musicals started at a young age. I have always loved the live performances. Bringing a story to life through music and dance brings me joy. I love sitting in the audience and watching it all play out. Over the course of twenty-one years, I have seen ten musicals. From the classical Wicked to current Tony Award winning musicals, like Dear Evan Hansen and Hamilton. The best part about these musicals are the Play Bills and the memories behind it.
Wicked was the very first musical I have ever seen. It’s a blur on what the actual day was like, but I can remember going to a condo in the city with friends we don’t talk to anymore. There were comments made and we don’t talk to them anymore. It was fun because it was my mom and I. She was more excited because I had no idea what was going on. When we got to the theater, it was huge. Even though I was under the age of ten, to a twenty-one year old, the auditorium is still huge. I remember changing my seats because my mother did not like the view. What stood out to me the most was the dragon. It seemed so real and I thought that Elphaba was green in real life. This was the first time I saw a PlayBill and a mother-daughter bond was born. Now, listening to the sound track, it brings me back to the hype. It reminds me why I feel in love with musicals in the first place. The way the music can tell a story with only words. “Popular” plays and it brings me back to singing this song in the car with my mom. It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. I can’t help but sing along with Kristin Chenoweth and imagining who I would sing this too. Probably someone I hated even though this song is Glinda helping her roommate.
Beauty and the Beast
I have seen this twice. Once was at a place called the Marriott. I call it the circle stage because it was a circle and I never thought a stage could be like that. It was different seeing all the characters run up and down the aisle and having to be careful not to stick my foot out so I don’t trip them. Whoops. It was a fun time, from what I can remember. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney movie and Belle was always my favorite Disney Princess. However, seeing this play as an adult changes everything. When I was younger loved Belle, because our names are so similar, but now it’s because she wants adventure in the great wide somewhere too. She’s stuck in a small town in France and I am stuck in a small town in Illinois.I don’t care how old I get, “Belle (reprise)” will forever be my favorite musical number.
The Lion King
This was a whole different experience. When the starting notes to “Circle of Life” started, it felt different. Then the animals started coming from the aisle. Eight year old Isabella found it amazing and so did twenty year old Bella. This play hits home for me and it didn’t hit until the second time I saw it in New York when my mom leaned over and said “seems familiar.” It was the scene when Mufasa died and left Simba alone. I did not realize it when I was younger because it something didn’t click. I just thought it was a play. But now, at twenty, it made me realize that Simba and I had something in common. We both lost a father. At that moment, I realized that there was more to the “Lion King” than anything. The song “He Lives in You” really speaks to me. Saying that my father lives inside me no matter what and he will always be with me.
South Pacific, Oklahoma and Pretty Women
I’ll admit, these we’re not my favorite musicals. I don’t know what it was, but these two didn’t leave me a good impression. It could have been the stories and how I just couldn’t find a good connection to them Or the music and how it wasn’t memorable.
Kinky Boots and Matilda
These two musicals were the first two I saw in the Big Apple. There was something different about both of them. Kinky Boots was the first night and it was magical. On this trip, it was the first trip where my mother and I didn’t fight. The first night when we landed, we had a good time without bickering. We went to see Kinky Boots and I wanted to see an actual drag show after that. Matilda was a spur of the moment. We had no intention of seeing the movie turned musical. Nonetheless, I thought it was cute and the music was catchy.
Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen
Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. From listening to the sound tracks to seeing them live in person was truly amazing. Hamilton was the first I saw out of the two. The music was so upbeat and the story was throughout. I am able to be at the show whenever I want because of that. When my mom first bought tickets to see the show, I wasn’t as excited as I should be. Who wanted to see a musical about a dead founding father. But after hearing the soundtrack, I was ready to learn about all of them. There was something different about the music too. Never would I have thought to put rap into a musical. But it was a refreshing experience.
Dear Evan Hansen was different in the best way possible. There was one song that stood out to me for the same reasons as The Lion King. One song in the second act “So Big/So Small” was talking about after Evan’s father left them. It was him and his mother, just like it was me and my mother. Our house felt so big, but everything else was so damn small. The only difference was his father just left him, while mine passed away.
After all ten musicals, I still owned nine of the ten playbills. I don’t know where “Wicked” went because after moving to live with my grandma, it must have gotten lost. But those playbills bring back memories well spent in a theater. Even though they are not displayed in my room, I will always treasure them.