Saturday, April 25, 2020

My First Show

In the thirty plus years that I have been going to the theatre, I have seen hundreds and hundreds of shows. Most of those being in New York City. I have seen long running shows like The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago, life changing shows like Rent and The Secret Garden, and of course so many flops like Side Show and Chess. All of them I loved, and all I still listen to this day. However my first show was in 1979. A local high school production of Oklahoma! From that moment on, I was hooked.

For the next eight years, I saw every production I could. Then in 1987, I auditioned for my first show, and for the first time, I was a part of something that I loved more than life itself. Now even though that Rodgers and Hammerstein classic was my introduction to live theatre, I want to talk about the first show I saw beyond the walls of my small town of Paris, Illinois. Big River. I first discovered the show in 1985, during that year's Tony Award telecast.

Of course immediately after it was over that night, I was determined to find out everything I could about the show. Only problem was, is that is was 1985, and a little thing called the internet hadn't been invented yet. So, I did what any other obsessed kid would do, and headed down to the local library to get a copy of the New York Times. Now the year prior, I had read Mark Twain's classic novel Huckleberry Finn. I loved it. And now all these years later, it had been turned into an award winning musical.

A few weeks later, I had saved enough money, so the next time my parent's and I went to Terre Haute, Indiana to go shopping, I bought the cast recording, which of course I made my parent's blast on the ride home. Thankfully both my Mom and Dad loved country music, so they didn't seem to mind. Plus after I told them that the composer was Roger Miller, they were a little more enthusiastic, then if it was say Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Oh and case you were wondering, I did end up making them listen to Phantom just a few years later. Now at the time, I had resolved the fact that I would probably never get the chance to see Big River on Broadway. Then something unexpected happen. The touring production was set to play in Champaign, Illinois, which was only about ninety minutes away.

To this day, I'm still not exactly sure how I was able to convince my parents to take me to see it, but they did. Well as you can probably guess, I loved it. And to this day, it is still one of my favorite theatrical experiences of all time. Oh and by the way, the day that Big River opened on Broadway? April 25, 1985. Exactly thirty-five years today. Stay safe everyone. And don't forget to look out for each other. Until next time theatre fans.

Applause Theatre and Entertainment Service, Inc.
165 West 46th Street
Suite 1107
New York, NY 10036
or 1-800-451-9930
Facebook:Applause Theater and Entertainment Service

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