The world of Broadway lost a tremendous talent with the death of Elaine Stritch. A talented performer, she originated many roles that many other actresses have been nervous to recreate when revivals of those shows came to Broadway. Her career lasted for seventy years, that’s incredible.
The death of Stritch makes me think about the Broadway musical. When I watch the movie Hairspray, I often think about how life would be if it were a musical. What if every time we faced a challenge we broke into song to express ourselves? What would life be like if everyone around us knew all the dance steps as if the air infused the choreography into their bodies.
This is the healing part of theater, and for me the musical. The ability to draw you in, put a bounce in your step, and have you humming when you leave the theater is like going to church (or in my case synagogue). The uplifted feeling is contagious. It also makes me wonder when will a group of background singers or a troop of dancers appear in my daily activities.
Those who write for the theater, both plays and musicals, are providing us with a platform to explore our fantasies. They are documenting social and political history as in the show All the Way, about the life of Lyndon Johnson. These shows can provide entertainment and education while providing the audience with questions to ponder after the show.
The other part of the theater experience that adds to its healing properties is the fact that it’s live. You’re seeing and experiencing people in real time. There is no editing and they only get one chance to get it right. The ability for these actors to go beyond simply reciting lines, but immersing themselves in a life created from scratch, or recreated based on research is transformative. Any time you get to witness transformation is serves as a springboard for your own transformative attributes.
Go see a show and enter the world of wonder. Give thanks to the actors and actresses who have graced the stages for years and were trail blazers for an art form that personifies passion!