Once On This Island – 20 Years Later
Musical theater has been a major part of my life since before birth, I like to say I was raised on show tunes and 70’s music. I grew up watching the classics with my Mom, watching the Tony’s every year as it was the closet to a Broadway show a little girl living in Broomfield, CO was going to get, and listening to Broadway cast recordings on the record player on a loop. Like I said, musicals have a been a major part of my 36-years of existence.
Naturally I was involved in the drama department in high school, during my four years at Horizon High School (Go Hawks!) my drama department put on classics like Hello Dolly! and The King and I, and while those productions were great and I was blessed to be a part of them, I was part of the tech crew, the unsung, silent heroes of the theater world. No, it was my Junior year production of Once on This Island that holds a special place in my heart, it was the first real production I was cast in. Sure it was in the ensemble, but as they saying goes “There are no small parts…”, I was just thrilled to FINALLY be able to sing and dance with everyone else, even if I had NEVER heard of the production, I was grateful. The show opened on March 12, 1998
Fast forward 20-years and here I am living in New York City, home of all the Broadway shows and true I don’t go as often as I should (it’s like REALLY expensive these days) I still try to catch a few shows a year. So about a week ago I headed to the Circle in the Square theater to see the revival of Once on This Island. The date was March 12, 2018, 20yrs to the day of when I performed in the same musical in a high school auditorium in Thornton, CO. It was something I never thought I’d be able do.
The show itself was amazing, the cast was brilliant, and the story still emotional. I sat it my seat and lip-synched the whole show. The second the music started it was like no time had passed, hell I still remember some of the choreography. I sat there in a dark theater surrounded by strangers with tear-filled eyes, and while all those other people might have had the same reaction, my tears were not brought on by the story, no it was brought on by the full circle my life had come. If you would have told 16-year old me that one day she would be calling New York City home with all the ups and downs that comes with that privilege, she would’ve laughed in your face.
I have had amazing, life changes experiences and truly found my self in this city, but it was sitting there in a Broadway theater in mid-town that I realized just how far I’d come from that 16-year old girl who wore the weird shoes, dressed like a spice girl, and blasted cheesy pop music from her car. I’m now a grown women who traded her weird shoes for Keds, always has a least once piece of Disney merch on her, but I will still blast cheesy pop whenever I damn feel like it, that will never change.