Curtain Call

Opening nights in the theatre world carry an inexplicable exciting energy; an energy I felt in my stomach for the first time when I hopped on stage in a mostly white, middle-school production of Once on the Island. Since then, I’ve experienced opening nights onstage, backstage, in the audience, in auditoriums, in a barn, and of course, at Hartford Stage. Unfortunately, the last year or so has left me feeling a bit jaded to the opening night energy I love about theatre. I work a long day in the office and then work and attend a pre-show dinner for donors; by the time the 8pm curtain comes around, I’ve been running around too long to really allow the opening night excitement to seep in. Often, I don’t even see the performance as I make my way over to a local bar to prepare for the cast party. Friday night’s opening of Gem of the Ocean at Hartford Stage put that exciting feeling back in my tummy.

This particular opening marked the end of my time at the theatre where I began my professional career at the ripe age of 21. My three year journey at Hartford Stage feels like a play in itself- Each department I journeyed through is like a separate act with a unique plot line, setting, and cast of characters. In one scene I sat backstage squeezing lemon after lemon and orange after orange to provide a star actor with her specifically requested freshly squeezed juice. A few scenes and costume changes later I was featured as a producer with a luxury problem: a line of customers that stretched out the door to the end of the block. Opening night gave me the chance to reflect on my journey, reconnect with the inexplicable opening night sensation, and look forward to the next act.

By the way, opening night also gave me the chance to see a quality piece of theatre directed by a friend and mentor I met on my Hartford Stage journey. If, like me, you’re going through a crazy life upheaving transition, you should check this out.

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