I am a theater nerd. You might be shocked to hear it if you know me (note to those of you who don’t – that is DRIPPING WITH SARCASM), but I saw my first musical when I was six months old, and I am pretty sure I have been hooked ever since.
But, as with any long-term relationship, theater and I have had our moments. There was the teenage rebellion when I decided I would try and see who I was without theater (this didn’t work – apparently my brain has been wired to filter everything through theater, so you are very likely to hear me say something like ‘yeah, Lincoln was a great president, but man, you should hear the song that Sondheim wrote about Booth’), there was the college years when I had a brief and intense affair with Anthropology, which still has a part of my heart. There was the dark time earlier this year when I felt like it had been such a long time since I had seen something really exciting, I wondered if maybe things were changing, and theater and I just weren’t what we once were anymore.
And yet, I always come screaming back, cutting my study abroad trip short so that I don’t miss the revival of ‘Assassins’ at Studio 54, forcing my friends to listen to hours of Urinetown so they too can appreciate the brilliance, and anxiously updating my TDF membership so that I don’t risk being without it for a day. We may have our moments of disagreement, theater and I, but we’re linked together forever, because it is too large a part of who I am, and what I love, for me to imagine parting from it for long.
Part of this is for a very simple reason – I love theater because I love theater people. There is nobody quite like our odd little group of talented misfits; to say that we are all the same kind would be reductive, because we are the class clowns and the prom queens, the nerds and the outcasts as well as the beautiful people and the smart people and the funny people, the cool kids and the kids who became cool by embracing their glaring uncool-ness. Basically we’re a mish-mosh, united by our shared love of this strange little community of people, and our shared understanding that there is no more exciting place to be than in the audience of a show when the lights go down and the curtain is about to go up.
Well, there is one other thing that tends to define us as a group – a certain warm-hearted willingness to pitch in for a cause. Also, that theater people are just really fun. And the following video – created by Susan Blackwell and the cast/creators of the MOST brilliant [title of show] (that would be Susan plus Jeff Bowen, Heidi Blickenstaff, and Hunter Bell) to galvanize people to vote for TonysPlate.com, a very cool app that helps kids stay healthy (vote here!), captures entirely why I so love to count myself amongst the theater people – I dare you to watch this and not want to hang out with these guys, whether it’s through their show (which is awesome, and captures perfectly the strange and fabulous and hilarious and achey thing that is being a theater person) or in life, or to do whatever it is they are telling you to do (in this case, vote! it literally takes two minutes).
I love you, theater people.