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.
Labels: Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Billy Elliot The Musical, Broadway, Chad Beguelin, Gershwin Theatre, Hairspray, Harvey Fierstein, Imperial Theatre, Neil Simon Theatre, Stephen Daldry, The Wedding Singer, Wicked