personal theatre & dance

Act 2: The Post-Musical Era

July 10, 2016

My favorite number from the show.

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.


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1 Comment

  • Reply Connor July 11, 2016 at 2:33 AM

    I’m going to post this here just to say it, because I’m too scared to post it publicly on my own social media yet. But I feel the EXACT same way. In fact, it’s safe to say that I have grown to hate musical theater.

    But it’s not that cut and dry. I still make over half of my salary from singing it and do so all over the country for thousands of people. One could argue that even though I’m not on Broadway, that I am still in the top 10% of successful musical theater performers based on my income from performing it alone.

    And I still get chills singing “Being Him Home”, or the way I can make an audience of thousands laugh with “Adolfo”.

    But I think it’s the people that ruined it for me. The actual musical theater actors. It’s ironic because some of the most amazing, selfless and well rounded friends I have very had have come from it, yet the rest are by far the most arrogant, obsessed, narcissistic, vapid people I have ever met.

    They don’t like musical theater. They are obsessed with it. It’s all they can talk about they have no other interests and look down on you for thinking they need to. They know every single show, every single song, and will use the term “competitive” as a cover for just wanting all the attention on them. I truly believe that most young musical theater performers today do NOT go into the field for the love of performing, but moreso the desire to be famous.

    And let’s be honest. Nobody in musical theater is famous besides Hugh Jackman, Idina Menzel, Lin Manuel and a handful of others. I’m talking famous here. I absolutely adore Ramin K, and he is a huge deal in musical theater, and if he walked down the street outside of New York or London, my guess is absolutely nobody would recognize him nor know his name.

    Beyonce is famous. Brad Pitt is famous. Musical theater actors are not famous. But they think they are, and that’s the rift with me. Literally more Americans would recognize the guys on “Pawn Stars” than Broadway actors. It wouldn’t even be close.

    When I meet a musical theater actor now I instantly don’t like them and they have to prove themselves to be a good person rather than the other way around sadly. Whereas if I meet a person not associated with musicals who happens to love it, I love it too. It’s adorable and reminds me why I loved it for so long.

    You’re right though, it’s a young person’s game, and I think it’s because we are taught if we are not obsessed with it we don’t like it. It’s ok to just have a few shows you like and some songs you enjoy singing, you don’t have to be absolutely crazed over the Tony Awards. Enjoy it as you would enjoy a small hobby and it makes a lot more sense.

    That’s my two cents anyways. Good post.

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