It's been a long time since I've seen a big, no expense spared, epic show. Heck, its been a long time since I've even seen a musical. Most of the theatre I see is at a smaller venue, such as The Factory or Boston Playwrights and its usually straight plays. However, two Sundays ago I saw Broadway Across America's Mary Poppins at The Boston Opera House. (Side note: The Opera House is an insanely gorgeous building. INSANELY GORGEOUS. If you have the chance to go inside, I highly recommend it. But moving on.)
I forgot what it was like to see a show on that scale. I have not seen a production like that since 2009. (Ragtime at The Kennedy Center definitely put me in a different emotional spot, but I digress.) While walking to the theatre from the train, I was enthralled by all of the hair bows, tiny purses, and patent leather shoes on little girls, all dolled up and dragging their parents toward The Opera House. There were questions and giggles, and "hurry ups!" When I met up with my own pint-sized companions, they were just as fancy and just as giddy and their excitement made me smile even more. As we watched the show, however, one thing became apparent to me. I was enjoying the show, but I was enjoying watching the reactions of the children I was sitting next to and the ones around me even more. When they gasped as Mary Poppins pulled a floor lamp out of her bag, so did I. (Okay, maybe I was the one gasping, but it was pretty freaking cool.) When their eyes widened when the statues danced around the park, so did mine. When they "oohed" and "ahhed" at Mary Poppins as she flew over our heads, that was when I turned and looked at the little ones next to me and grinned.
I'm not one for musicals. I'm not even one for super-sized productions. I like to see intimate, real theatre. I like to see connection. I think this is because THAT'S the type of theatre that I'm interested in making. I don't think I could direct a musical. I definitely couldn't be in a musical. (Sometimes I'm jealous of you coordinated, in-tune folk.) HOWEVER, I enjoyed myself for the evening. I enjoyed being in a packed house of the next generation of theatre goers. I enjoyed seeing the show with my friend and her daughters. I know we here in the fringe life don't like to admit it, but big, sparkly productions are necessary to our survival as a medium. Just think, we were in a sold out house, if even 20% of those children remember enjoying Mary Poppins and audition for their community production this summer, and 10% percent of those go on to do theatre in college, and 5% go on to do it professionally, we're still engaging and educating our youth and propelling our craft forward. The next show I see definitely won't be at the Boston Opera House, but I'm looking forward to the next time I head to the theatre. And I'm looking forward to the future.