I've been reading This I Believe, a compilation of the NPR series, and have been inspired to write my own essay.
I believe that all of life's answers can be found in musicals. Mostly Sondheim musicals, but some others as well.
I've often said that the theatre is my cathedral, so it shouldn't be surprising to learn that I truly believe in the life's lessons learned in experiencing the human condition through one of our greatest art forms.
Now before I lose everybody because you think you don't like musicals (that is, if I haven't already), I have to say, that statement is about as valid as saying you don't like all movies!
There are many, many different types of musicals. While I like more than your average Jane, I can't say I love them all. I love the ones that say something about us.
It wasn't until Into the Woods, however, that I truly began to understand how musicals spoke to me about what I believed.
Sondheim took fairy tales and changed their messages by adding a 2nd act about what happens after Happily Ever After. I cannot listen to this cast recording or watch the DVD without learning something new. More than anything, it reminds me that our schemas are not always based in truth; that it's worth exploring what we think we believe when confronted with information that does not coincide.
Wicked taught me that the most powerful relationships don't have to be romantic or relative; we learn from everyone that we meet in our lives and when we're lucky, we have friends that hold a special place in our heart.
Avenue Q taught me that "everything in life is only for now." That has gotten me through the darkest hours of these past 5 years. Every time I start to wonder if I actually can make it through this, I turn on "For Now" and I remember all of the times I previously thought I wouldn't make it through, and I did. It is how I know that every emotion has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Rent reminds me that whenever I feel like no one gets me, we all have a community. I have several communities; theatre friends, work friends, online friends, lifelong friends. Sometimes, I just need to reach out to another network.
In the Heights taught me that you can change the world by serving your community.
I believe in music. I believe that characters that feel something so deeply have to sing it. And sometimes, I do, too.