I believe in musical theatre. I spent from September to December of my senior year preparing audition songs and monologues for college auditions in order to major in musical theatre. Each college musical theatre program accepts about 10 to 15 students out of an 800 to 1,000 student applicant pool. I auditioned at nine schools, traveled to Cincinnati, Indiana, New York, Pittsburgh, and Boston as well as a few other places, missed tons of school and social events, and I got rejected from every musical theatre program. I wanted to hate musical theatre. I wanted to give up every dream I ever had of being a struggling actor in New York City. But the worst part about musical theatre is that it takes such a hold on your life. The passion and love for it never leaves. It has the ability to change your life for the very best or bitter worse. But more than anything, I could not hate musical theatre because I believe in it. I believe in it because of what it has taught me throughout my life.
I have learned to always be myself. When I was a freshman in high school, I was so concerned about my social status that I decided not to audition for the spring musical at my school. My mother, who had been making all of my costumes for all of my shows since fifth grade, knew how much I loved doing musicals and how much I would regret my stupid decision. So, she forced me to audition. Reluctantly I did, landed a chorus part, and showed up to the first rehearsal only to realize how similar I was to these musical kids. I fit in much more with the quirky musical crowd than the “popular” one. I started being myself, hanging out with my musical friends, and not worrying about my popularity.
I have learned how to work with other people. I have met some very talented and very amazing people, and have formed true friendships from being in shows. I have also met some very stubborn, obnoxious, and self-centered people through shows. But, when you put on a musical, your cast becomes your family. Everyone in your cast works to put on a great show, and you have to learn how to deal with people you do not like. Whether or not I loved or hated someone in one of my shows, I had to work with them. And through those experiences I have learned to be respectful and kind to people, even if I don’t like them.
I have learned that rejection is a part of life. I didn’t learn this lesson until about a month and a half ago, but it is the most important thing I have ever discovered. Just because I work my hardest and do my best does not mean that I am going to get handed everything. If there is something that I want, I have to stop at nothing to get it.
So flashback to forty seven days ago when I opened my final rejection letter that politely stated “we liked you, but we really don’t want you,” and all I could think about was “what am I going to do now?” Well, I am going a different route. I am going to college to major in communications. I am planning on re-auditioning in the fall to try to double major in theatre and communications. Through my rejections I was able to reevaluate my future and decide that a BFA in musical theatre won’t get me to Broadway any faster than a communications and theatre degree will. So I will continue working towards my goal of being a struggling actor in New York City my own way. Because life is too short to not do what you want to do.
So stop caring about what people think about you, branch out to kids you would never branch out to, make up with someone who you never got along with, and never give up on what you love to do. These lessons are the most important lessons that I have learned. They are lessons that I carry with me every day when I am randomly breaking out into song in class, or harmonizing in the hallway with my friends. Musical theatre has impacted my life in ways I will never forget and it is in that bipolar little art form that I place all of my faith and belief.
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