I still remember the first time I saw Les Miserables. I was a senior in high school in Levittown, PA and was already a certified theatre/chorus geek. My friends and I took the train from Trenton, NJ to New York City one lazy Saturday to hit up TKTS and finally see our favorite show! We'd been listening to and singing along with tracks like, "Red and Black," "Stars," and "One Day More" for months. The feelings of watching the city skyline approach were equal parts sickly anxiety and unyielding anticipation.
To be honest with you, I don't remember much of the show! The best thing I can tell you is that my friends and I wept through most of it, Javert's Suicice was a solid dose of Broadway magic, and that it was an absolutely a transformative experience for me. I went from a kid who loved music and theatre to a young man who had to do this thing, like...for life. Somehow. Somewhere. Teaching OR performing (both?) There were no other options left for me.
Many (many) years later, it is the privilege of my life to be sitting here at our sitzprobe, watching you all preparing to perform the show that basically set me on the path to where I am today. I've been both exhilarated and inspired by all of your performances throughout our rehearsal process and I can't wait to see you tell your story to an audience later this week. If I could leave you with one thought this week, let it be this:
We all have that thing we have to do, no matter what. It doesn't just make us happy, it's more than that, and when someone asks us to explain it, we can't. You ever hear of Abraham Maslow? He has this pyramid-thing that basically shows us what basic human needs we have. At the bottom of the pyramid is stuff like food, water, shelter, safety. As you go higher up the pyramid, the things we need become more complex and abstract until you finally get to the top: self actualization. When I think of teaching music and directing theatre, self actualization is the closest I can get to explaining it. Either way, whatever that thing is that you have to do, no matter what, do it.
No. Matter. What.
Who knows, one day you might be directing your dream show, or coaching a great athletic organization, or writing a major novel, or discovering the cure for some disease, or caring for an amazing family.
Thank you all for an amazing production and for helping me fulfill my greatest dream.
Have a great production week and enjoy every moment!
Your grateful director,