Thursday, December 17, 2009

SOB's Theatrical Firsts Of The Noughties: My First Time On A Broadway Stage

SOB's Theatrical Firsts Of The Noughties: My First Time On A Broadway Stage

Over the course of the last decade, I’ve been truly fortunate to enjoy a number of enlightening firsts in my personal theatergoing that have only served to increase my deep and abiding love for the art form known as live theatre. What follows is one of my ten favorite experiences of the last ten years.

Although I have never had any designs on being an actor, I always wondered what the theatre looked like from on stage. If you read this previous post, you'll know that my first time on the Gershwin stage was compliments of one of Wicked’s cast members.

But my first time ever to set foot on a Broadway stage came about in 2006. Two of my best friends in the entire world happen to be friends with lyricist Chad Beguelin, whom I met when he was putting the finishing touches on the book and score for his first Rialto effort, The Wedding Singer.

After the musical debuted on Broadway, we went to see the show at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Chad offered to meet us immediately after the performance. Although the show received mixed reviews, we all had a great time, which was a bit of a relief as I’m not particularly good at lying about whether I’ve enjoyed a show. Fortunately, I didn’t need to.

So when we met up with Chad, we gave him our thumbs-up. In turn, he gave us a backstage tour, introducing us to the show’s star: Stephen Lynch, as well as taking us onto the stage itself.

I couldn’t get over how much smaller everything seemed up close and personal. I found myself thinking, “Ah, the magic of theatre.” Perhaps even more thrilling than being backstage was being greeted by the throngs of fans lined up at the stage door. They certainly had no clue who I was, but it was fun seeing them try to guess.

Since then, I’ve been invited backstage at three other Broadway venues.

As noted earlier, I have been on Wicked’s stage at the Gershwin.

Additionally, just one year ago as Harvey Fierstein was reprising his turn as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray at the Neil Simon, he personally provided me a rare opportunity to join him backstage. When he escorted us through the stage door into the theatre, little did I know I would be stepping directly onto the Neil Simon stage.

Then, this past summer, one of Billy Elliot’s Tony winning actors graciously invited us to join him for a wonderful backstage tour in which he divulged many of the shows design secrets. That tour was capped off with an introduction to the musical’s Tony-winning director, Stephen Daldry.

How many other Broadway stages will I someday find myself on? To be honest, what’s more important to me is cherishing each of my once-in-a-lifetime experiences I've already enjoyed in “treading the boards” of Broadway. Speaking of which, I made an unanticipated return to that Al Hirschfeld stage earlier this year, but that return deserves a post all its own.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

In keeping with the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations that unfairly discriminate against bloggers, who are now required by law to disclose when they have received anything of value they might write about, please note that I have received nothing of value in exchange for this post. I paid my own way for all performances above.

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At 18 December, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

I saw The Wedding Singer on tour and I just wanted to mention how much I enjoyed it. I'd been listening to the Broadway cast recording for a few months and the songs are so catchy. Chad Beguelin wrote some very witty lyrics.

Someday I'd love to go backstage. That's my next goal!

At 18 December, 2009, Blogger Stage & Screen said...

So far, only twice for me. My first time was meeting a friend in the cast of South Pacific, getting a full backstage tour (complete with their AMAZING dressing room bathrooms,) and then stepping out onto that gigantic stage. It was breathtaking! I think my apartment is about half the size of the stage right wing-space! We then quickly walked through the under-house vom area and we were back at her dressing room.

The second time was at the Al Hirschfeld...after the curtain call of Hair with about 150 of my newest, closest friends, dancing to "Let the Sunshine In."

At 18 December, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, Hopefully one day you'll have your opportunity! ButI certainly count your being able to go on stage in Hair!!

At 18 December, 2009, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Stage &amp, What a terrific story. Sounds like the stage at Lincoln Center is a lot larger than the one at the Gershwin, which was remarkably small (must be its rake that makes it look so large from the audience).

Sounds like you had a similar experience with Hair! Let the sun shine in, indeed.


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