So it’s probably time I justified the title of my blog. “Stagey Theatre Life”, what does it mean to be a theatre obsessive, I hear you cry? Look no further, I’ve come up with a break-down of all of the things that, certainly I, and I’m sure many others do because we love this industry so god damn much!!
5 – Cast Albums!
I must confess I don’t on a regular basis listen to anything but cast recordings, and why would I? Music written for, or in some relation, to musical theatre has purpose. It drives a plot, a character, a scene. It’s there to leave you in disbelief to what you’re hearing, to make you laugh and to make you cry – which is why most of my free time is spent on Youtube or Spotify and blaring the latest Broadway cast recording – “Groundhog Day” being the recent obsession. I have also discovered “Dogfight” recently, which is incredible! And it’s a cast recording, not a soundtrack, because we’re not in a film here…
4 – Seeing the same show again and again (and again!)
Ah, the beauty of live theatre! I understand why some people don’t get it, but it’s different every time – the performances (and most often the performers) will be different, there’s a different energy in the room, someone may deliver a line differently or belt a note or add a new vocal riff, there’s so much to be excited about seeing a show you have already seen! At the end of the day at it’s core it’s the same show, but we go back because we love it, we want to experience those same emotions again, as well as to enjoy showing our support and encouragement to the talent performers and the material we all love! That’s why cast changes or closing nights are very special – we’re at all of those we can get to too!
Musicals I’ve seen the most:
Wicked – 46 (by July 24, 2017)
In the Heights – 7
Les Miserables / The Girls (by July 15, 2017) – 6
Shrek / Kinky Boots (by July 8, 2017) / Dreamgirls – 5
3 – Supporting the Cast…
There’s a reason I follow so many people on Twitter, because they’re all those talented people I admire and get to see in a show whenever I want or whenever they go into something new. We don’t just follow the show, we follow the performers we discover from that show, perhaps see them do their own thing in a solo gig and become excited to see them in that next show that opens later in the year! And we know everyone, not just the leads, but the ensemble and swings…and we obsess over them all!
3 (cont.) – …Including the Understudies, Standbys, Swings and Alternates!
“At this performance, the role of Jean Valjean will be played by…” Now a (for lack of a better word) uneducated theatregoer’s reaction to this may be very different to mine. I’m fucking thrilled! I love it when an understudy goes on! Not only because I’m going to see another new – or familiar face – in a different role and they’re going to put their all into it. Again, it changes the show (if you’re seeing the same one) up completely; you sit in your seat in pure admiration and give them that big cheer at curtain call!
2 – Programmes!
The amount of trees that scarified themselves for my enjoyment is admirable! No, but seriously, I have a shit ton of these. They’re great to keep as a souvenir, to remind you of the experience and the cast you saw. The only thing most people also do that I generally don’t is Stage Door. Meeting the cast as they come out and getting them to sign said programmes. I’ve done it a few times but it’s not a major priority of mine – mainly because I’m tired and have to get up for work the next morning, but sometimes I might!
1 – Seeing different things…and pretty much everything!
In the past few years I’ve been living in London I’ve seen a ‘helluva’ lot, and I guess you would if you saw something at least once a week on average. I’ve been to Woking, Bromley, Stratford and covered pretty much every West End theatre. And we don’t just see the big commercial shows that everyone sees because that’s not fully supporting the industry. We do Off-West End (such as the Arts, The Other Palace and Charing Cross Theatres), regional (catching touring shows as Richmond and Wimbledon) and fringe too! And there’s lots out there: Southwark Playhouse, the Park Theatre, The Cockpit to name a few – all presenting incredible work that the masses (well, tourists) don’t know about, which is a shame because they’re missing out big time, but equally, I prefer it because it feels more of ‘our thing’ and nobody else knows, and that’s pretty damn special!