The Set Up
Last night, settling into my brain-dead exhaustion from an extra long work week, I sat down to catch up on some Netflix TV, finishing up season two of Glee. Spoiler alert if you haven’t watched it and plan to, abort blog post here. I was extra beat at the end of this week, finishing out with two 6a-4p shifts (that ran over like usual). When I’m on my own time, I tend to get up with the sun, but getting up before the sun and for work, instead of a run or a hike, has never been my strong suit, and probably part of what kept me from considering a General Surgery or Ob/Gyn residency. Anyways, yesterday, I tried to combat the fatigue initially by hitting the tennis court after my shift, giving myself a taste of my own medicine. I always preach to patients, friends and family, and discussed in Natural Prozac that exercise actually improves your energy level – evidence based! 45 minutes in, realizing I couldn’t look any more lazy unless I layed down on the court, holding my racquet out hoping to hit a ball, I gave up. Not surprisingly, when I got home, I had a second wind as I prepared dinner and caught up on the phone with my fitness guru old pal.
Glee Hits Home
So there I am, in the safety and comfort of my own home, basking in this show that goes after my musical theatre-loving heart, when this scene happens:
Watching this scene, mid-bite of deliciously perfectly smoked/grilled fish, I’m all choked up, and allegedly, shed a tear.
And Kurt and Rachel go on to sing on a Broadway stage for the first time. “For Good” from Wicked .
My parents are the first party responsible for my adoration of musical theatre. From the first musical they took us to at the Valley Forge Music Fair I was hooked. I wanted to sing in every choir, ensemble or show imaginable. Fueling my passion for musicals, when I was seven years old, my father informed me that I couldn’t carry a tune. Dad recommended sticking with gymnastics, something I seemed to have a talent for. Painfully proving him wrong, I spent the summer before 4th grade pitch matching on the piano the entire score to CATS every waking minute of every day. The task had its rewards. Mrs. Bogusz awarded me with the lead in our 4th grade show The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen. I was Hans, and I had many a tale to tell! From there, Mr. Goltz, my middle school music teacher, provided such an intense music and musical theatre education that I wanted to stay put at that awkward age. I honestly did not want to leave 8th grade and go to high school because of Mr. Goltz and his classroom of music. Like many others who went through his program, I took the music with me. Here’s a clip of Mr. Goltz’s students singing a song he taught us, some in his class at the time, others already in high school and college, at a Saturday night bat mitzvah party; this was how we had our fun:
Since then, I’ve been surrounded by fellow musical theatre nuts to learn from and share with. One co-musical-theatre-junkie showed me at age 16, how to get on the train, land in NYC 2 hours later, and catch five shows in under 48 hours. He’s the same friend who helped me develop Wild Medicine Girl, making me buy the URL the second we came up with the name. Same friend that showed me how to access a TON of sheet music at the library at Lincoln Center. In high school, my best friend and I guaged how much we studied by how many times we made it through Evita or whatever musical we were listening to repeatedly at the time.
I’ve spent a lifetime loving musicals, catching shows on National Tour and regionally, catching a show every time I visit NYC, seeing shows constantly when I lived in NYC, and in my fantasy life, in those big daydreams I have on a really long run, I play Eponine on Broadway.
A few summers ago, on a family vacay/staycation in NYC, my dad somehow got us 3rd row tickets to Hair. I had seen it the summer before at Shakespeare in the Park, and was over the moon excited when the cast invited the audience to come up on stage to sing and dance for the finale Thrilling! At this particular performance on Broadway, I sat on the aisle in the third row, next to my little sister who was 13 at the time, and my dad and step-mom on the other side of her. During the opening number, “Age of Aquarius”, cast members ventured into the audience to “play” with audience members. One topless cast member made a b-line for our row, and before I knew what was happening, I was the recipient of a lap dance from the character Claude, played by this guy:
But the best was yet to come. After the finale, during an encore, the cast invited audience members to come up on stage to sing and dance with them! My little sister at 13, loved musical theatre as much if not more than I did. I grabbed her hand, looked her in the eye, and said “We’re going.” Looked at my parents and said “We’re going.” And then, we sang and danced on Broadway with this awesome cast, singing the highly charged and energetic “Let the Sunshine In.”
I’ve had some exhilarating experiences in my life – I’ve watched the sun set and rise from Everest Base Camp, rafted the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, watched the sun rise over lakes in the Sierras, skied powder in the Italian Alps by day coming down on a snowmobile at night (sorry Mom). I know what it feels like to cross the finish line of a marathon, how it feels to save a life, and how it feels to be in love. The reason that little scene from Glee hit me like that is because it brought back the exhilaration of singing and dancing on a Broadway stage with my little sister, definitely in the top five of my favorite moments in life.
I’ve only done this once before (different circumstances – catching up with a college acquaintance when I saw his name in the program of a show I went to). We waited at the stage door for this opportunity