Friday, December 7, 2012

Curtain Up, Light the Lights


Tonight is opening night of Reagle Music Theatre’s annual production of “ChristmasTime.” It’s the 5th time I’ve performed in the show, and I know it well. I know where my entrances are, how much time I have for each costume change, and which props I carry in each scene. I’ve memorized my music and I know my blocking. I’m even solid on my choreography (which is officially a Christmas miracle). I have no fear of making a mistake or not knowing what to do if something goes wrong. And yet, I still have butterflies in my stomach.

The first time I performed in this show, I was terrified on opening night. But that time, I wasn’t entirely sure of my entrances, I depended on others to tell me what costume to change into next, I still wasn’t solid on all my lyrics and blocking, and I was definitely shaky on some of the choreography. But I got through it with the help of veterans who nudged me into position, made sure I was in the right costume, whispered upcoming dance steps, and just generally shepherded me around. And each succeeding year, I was more comfortable and more confident, and the terror subsided into fear, then jitters, and now, it’s pure excitement.

It’s exciting to be a part of a performance that plays such an important role in so many people’s holiday seasons. There are audience members who have seen this show every year for the past 20 years or more. There are people in the audience who used to come with their parents and who now bring their children. There are parents in the audience watching their children play elves who used to play elves themselves. There are new audience members who, by intermission, have already decided to make the show an annual tradition with their family. I have never yet not been thanked by someone in the audience for making their Christmas extra-special.

What a joy to be a part of something with such a rich tradition! What a blessing to be a blessing to others during this holiday season. What a privilege to bring a message of hope and joy and thanksgiving at a time of year when that message is so often lost in the busy shuffle of shopping and entertaining and chauffeuring kids to parties and activities. We may be up on stage to bring joy to the audience, but we can hardly help bringing joy to our own hearts, as well.

No wonder it gives me butterflies.


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