The first live show I ever saw (outside the occasional play put on by the high school’s drama department) was Footloose on Broadway. It was still early my freshman year, and I hadn’t really established a strong group of friends. I heard there were some free tickets available through Concordia’s Student Activities, and a van heading to the city for the show. Manhattan was intoxicating. Any excuse to hop a train or claim a seat in one of the school vans and I was there.
I had no idea what to expect, no idea how the next few hours sitting in the dark theatre would change me forever, alter my perception at the very core. I’ve always appreciated music and visual artistry and storytelling, but live musical theatre? It’s the closest I may ever get to seeing the face of God while I’m still alive and breathing on this earth.
There’s something about the costumes, the way the sets come alive, moving and changing as if they suddenly started breathing on their own. There’s something about the way the actors melt into the scenes, crossing the threshold of reality and pulling you right along with them. There’s something catching a glimpse of the orchestra in the pit, feeling the crescendo hit you right in the chest. At times, just being in the same room with such immense talent is almost more than I can handle.
One show, and I was hooked.
The best thing though, is sharing the experience. I’ve dragged Stevie along to shows, my Mom, Momma Dawn, my friend Erin and her daughters, my siblings. I’ve taken Cadence to see Cinderella, and my all-time favorite Wicked this past year. And no matter how many shows I see or see again and again, it’s always magic.
For Christmas, Momma Dawn and Mark got tickets for us to take the kids to The Very Hungry Caterpillar at the Lied Center. Cadence has inherited my fascination with theatre, so the moment we told her we were going to a show, she was all in. I had my fingers crossed that Henry would make it. After being so sick this past week and the show not starting until 7:00 pm, I knew we were playing with fire whether he would even have the energy to make it. But, the little dude has been OBSESSED with The Very Hungry Caterpillar ever since the butterfly unit they studied at school.
H-man was nearly bursting with excitement from the moment we arrived at the Lied. The FamFest before the show was perfect. We had a chance to make some fun caterpillar crafts and eat a little dinner. The kids scored some tattoos and face paint. And then it was time to go find out seats and enjoy the show.
And even something as simple as some children’s stories, acted out with puppets and glow in the dark props against a blacked out stage, turned into an hour of absolute wonder and magic. As soon as it was over, Henry was asking to go again. And I smiled and promised him that there would definitely be more.