This past week has brought a tremendous amount of ‘firsts’ into my life - my first flight into the States (turns out the Minneapolis airport has an abundance of giant, fake moose); first time in New York (lights! Loads of people! Death-defying cabbies!); first coffee trade show (hundreds of people who love coffee in one place = awesome); and a host of other smaller firsts that blurred into one sensuous experience crammed into a short four days...
But the first that stands out the most to me was seeing my first Broadway musical. And, oh, it was a doozy - the marvelous ‘Wicked’.
We almost didn’t see it - my co-worker and I tried for tickets on Saturday, but only premium (*cough*expensive*cough*) tickets remained. Truth be told, we weren’t sure it was worth it, so we passed on them. But Sunday rolled around, and we admitted that we both badly wanted to see the show, especially since it was our last night in the city. So I called Ticketmaster - and they were sold out. My heart sank. My co-worker saw my face and her expression dropped. I asked the extremely sweet agent to check one more time. She did - and two tickets popped up on her screen. She was stunned, seeing as she was sure there had been nothing a moment before. I took it as a sign, and told her to snag those tickets for us immediately.
We made it to the theatre just in time (the cabby had no idea where it was, so we had to er, hop out and find our own way). Now, I will admit I was still a little hesitant at this point - I’m not a huge fan of musicals on screen, and well, I’d never been to a professional play, so I didn’t quite know what to expect...
The lights dimmed, the curtain rose and the swell of music and voices celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch metaphorically grabbed us by the shirts and dragged us willingly into the world of Oz. Willemijn Verkaik gave a breathtaking performance as the green witch, Elphaba, while Alli Mauzey was the perfect counterpoint as Glinda the Good. By the end of the show I was quietly sobbing in my seat, simply tingling from the experience.
I had many ‘aha’ moments while watching Wicked - creativity of any sort tends to kick-start, reinforce and revitalize any other creative energy it touches - but the most critical realization came in response to a long held fear of mine. At the start of the play I had wondered somberly if the actors ever became sick of repeating their parts, night after night - if what they loved ever became a ‘job’, something they felt they had to do in order to survive. But Willemijn and Alli were so full of passion, their performances so earnest and commanding, there was no doubt they were enjoying themselves. Even more powerful is the fact that Willemijn has performed the roll of Elphaba over 1000 times, in three different languages.
When we’re told to ‘do what you love’, it can be easy to scoff or fall into polite silence punctuated with a knowing, ‘yeah right’ look. After all, it sometimes feels like our dreams are out of reach - right behind those bills we need to pay, and the ‘reality’ of everyday life. To actually see someone doing what they love for a living, though, is an exceptional, life-shifting experience. One I wish for everyone reading this post.
~*~ Today’s post was inspired by Bridget Zinn. Bridget’s debut novel, Poison, was released this week by Hyperion. Unfortunately, Bridget died from cancer in May 2011, at the age of 33. Being published was her dream. Please visit her site to see how you can get the word out about Poison, and help show others they can keep moving towards their dream, no matter their circumstances. ~*~
From her website:
About the novel
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she's the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom's future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king's army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she's not alone. She's armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can't stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she's certainly no damsel-in-distress—she's the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
About Bridget Zinn
Bridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the "summer of love" and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died.
Her last tweet was
"Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect."
Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers' copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads.