I have a confession: I loved Hamilton, but I don’t *love* Hamilton–not in the way a good musical theatre person should. The day the Ben Brantley review came out, I bought tickets. Brian and I saw the show on Halloween, and yes, it was revolutionary (See what I did there?). But I’m certainly not obsessed with it, and it’s not the best thing I’ve ever seen (I saw the original cast of Rent in previews when I was 16). I didn’t buy the cast recording. I didn’t buy the “Hamiltome.” I bought the vocal selections for my students, but I haven’t even read through them. I am a bad musical theatre person.
But here’s the thing … I don’t think I am a musical theatre person, not anymore. I don’t want to do them. Unless they’re really, really, really good I don’t want to see them. I just don’t care anymore. This is weird for me because I very clearly remember thinking not so long ago that I would never not want to do musical theatre. But, here I am.
A big thing for me was finally voicing my shame about my work as an actor. I carried my self-perceived failure around for a long time. When I worked up the courage to share it, the need to prove myself (to myself) dissolved. Along with that, I’ve always viewed my 20s as a period of performance psychotherapy. I had some issues to work out, so I worked them out on stage. I don’t feel the need or drive to perform like I used to. In truth, I feel I have more to offer.
Everyone always says of the entertainment business, if you can be happy doing literally anything else, do it. Well, I know the direction I want to go, but I haven’t yet worked it all out. I really want to make a difference in the world, and I believe I can do that better through work off stage. Music Therapy was the right direction, but the wrong route, if you will. Feminism, advocacy, activism. These are ideas that excite and motivate me. I found an MA/PhD program in sociology and got butterflies. I haven’t had butterflies in a long, long time.
Do I have to give up music and performing to do this? Of course not! It’s easier to be a non-professional, for reals. And I think that I can work music into activism and advocacy, but right now, musical theatre is not meaningful to me. They say musical theatre is a young person’s game, so maybe this just means I’m old, but it’s the truth.1