Friday, October 3, 2014

Growing Up Musical; How [title of show] Continues to Inspire 8 Years Later

Contributed by Gabby Weinstein
Today started out as a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. And then, by some twist of fate I was introduced to one of my original theatre idols Hunter Bell and was reminded of my love for musicals and for Indie Theatre.

To give you some context here: yes, I was born in 1994, but I promise you that in no way hinders my ability to love and appreciate theatre. And was raised in NYC by two moms who taught me to love theatre without censorship. They took me to many a show where I was the youngest in the audience.

My history with [title of show] starts when I was 12. My mom had sent me a letter at camp with the New York Times article enclosed and a letter which said something like,

“A musical about two guys writing a musical, about two guys writing a musical! - I’m going to take you kids to this when you get home”

When the time came, my brother and I, being couch potatoes at heart, both were grumpy to be pulled from our regularly scheduled Nickelodeon programing to walk the 5 avenues to The Vineyard Theatre.

When we got there my mom pointed to a poster for Avenue Q - I had been listening to that soundtrack for around two years at that point (my moms wouldn’t take me to see it, but gave me an iTunes-burned soundtrack, save for one or two choice songs)- and told me that it had premiered here, and was in the same festival that [title of show] came from. (Note: I think that this, in fact, is wrong, but it was nonetheless important as a memory) I remember thinking how crazy it was that there were musicals in places other than Broadway stages. A whole festival for shows that didn’t take place in Times Square? My mind was blown.

I can still remember exactly where we sat in that theatre and the strange looks we got when we toted a booster seat for my eight year old brother through a row of mostly middle aged men and women. Seeing that show was an experience like no other. I hadn’t exactly grown up on Oklahoma or Fiddler on the Roof (in fact I had to go seek those out myself), but [title of show] taught me that there is beauty in quirky musicals and that you can make a business out of loving theatre. My whole family listened to that soundtrack for years. My mom even took me to see it on Broadway in 2008.

In a class of mine recently I was asked to write down a list of pieces of theatre that had most made an impact on me. I read my list to the class.

“All musicals?” my teacher asked.

I realized that nobody else had a list even close to mine; which was filled with shows like [title of show], Avenue Q, and Bat Boy. This is not to say that I don’t love plays, I do, but musicals are my fuel and my fire.

I could feel all the eyes in the class on me and I realized that all of my classmates thought that plays or experimental theatre were somehow greater than musical theatre and not equal to. It was like I was someone who binged on The Real Housewives in a room of Mad Men diehards.

After I met Hunter today, and listened to [title of show] for the upteenth time on the subway ride home, I realized something. My love for musicals is something to be celebrated. Hunter and the rest of the team created a show that encapsulates a love for musicals that can’t be put into words. After listening to it again I started to understand jokes that I hadn’t even known were jokes when I first saw it.

I love Indie Theatre because it celebrates artists and their love for what they do. Indie Theatre is the theatre that matters because it supports theatre that matters to real people. [title of show] is a show that reminds me what it means to be a theatre artist and to love my craft.


Gabby Weinstein: 2014 Innovative Theater Awards Intern. New York CIty based Theatre Artist and Stage Manager. She is currently the Social Media Intern at the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation. She has recently worked with the Keen Company on their eighth season of Keen Teens and as the Production Stage Manager of Lysistrata Jones at the New Studio on Broadway. Other recent Stage Management credits include: Execution of Justice (SM), Spring Awakening (ASM), and The Who's Tommy (PSM). She is currently pursuing a BFA in Theatre with a focus in Stage Management and Lighting Design from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

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