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Student Blog: My Favorite Theater Moments of 2021

I am very grateful for what we've all been able to experience and I'm very excited for what the next year is going to look like.

Student Blog: My Favorite Theater Moments of 2021 My friends, we have finally done it. In just a couple of weeks from now, we will be leaving behind the mess of a year that was 2021 and going into the hopefully bright future of 2022. Let's take a trip back through 2021 and talk about some of my favorite theater moments we experienced this year, from next-level movie musicals to the re-opening of Broadway.

One of the things that I hope we, as a community, remember in the new year is the activism and collective fight for things to be better. Two major events that I think represent the work this community has done are the March on Broadway and the Trans March on Broadway. The March on Broadway, organized by Courtney Daniels and The Race Against Race. It took place on April 22, following the allegations made against prominent producer Scott Rudin. The march looked to advocate for a safer, healthier, and better Broadway for everyone. The Trans March on Broadway was organized by Sis to "reclaim the conversation, centering it on the many trans artists, advocates, and allies who have been fighting for visibility and respect in the theater industry." These two movements have brought the systemic issues within the theater community to the forefront of our minds, reminding us that there is always work to do.

Moving onto something more positive, this was the year of movie musicals. We really got to enjoy a full spectrum of movies, from the critically-acclaimed West Side Story to the controversial Dear Evan Hansen. We all have our favorites, but each movie really brought musicals to the big screen in their own special way. Personally, I think that Andrew Garfield in Tick, Tick...Boom! was one of the best performances I've seen in any movie this year, along with Rachel Zegler's first-ever movie performance in West Side Story. Along with the amazing movies we got to witness this year, we also got information about exciting developing musicals. For example, the official casting for the hopefully soon Wicked movie, with Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande playing Elphaba and Glinda, respectively.

The biggest thing that has happened to the theater community this year has been the return to live, in-person theater. We began to see outdoor, in-person performances including Shakespeare in the Park come back during the middle to late summer. On August 4, Pass Over by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu opened on Broadway, being both the first play to return to Broadway and the first new play to open. This return was incredibly exciting for so many. Shows are still slowly opening up, some taking a bit more time than others to return to in-person performances. Personally, I got to make my return to the Great Wide Way in September at Six, which you can read all about here. Along with Broadway, we got to see the return of national tours, regional productions, and West End shows. It was very incredible to see in-person performances returning, even if we are dealing with the next wave of COVID-19. The reason that we're able to return to the theater is because of vaccines and science. As someone who worked in a theater over the summer as we were returning to in-person performances, I can speak for most people when I say that we are so lucky to be vaccinated and back to work.

Also this year, we have been given so many announcements that give us a lot to look forward to within the next year or so. As I talked about earlier, we have official castings for the upcoming Wicked movie. Also expected to be released in 2022 are the movie versions of Matilda, 13, The Little Mermaid, Disenchanted, and more. While all of those movies could be moved around due to COVID or thousands of other reasons, those are some of the movies we have to look forward to. Also, we have some exciting new shows to look forward to premiering on Broadway within the next year including the first Funny Girl revival, Plaza Suite, Paradise Square, The Little Prince, Macbeth, A Strange Loop, Beetlejuice, and so much more. There's a very high chance that watching all of these announcements come in and seeing the reaction to them has been one of my high points in the theater community this year.

Some honorable mentions from this year that I don't have much to say about but still want to mention include:

The return of the Tony Awards

The Grammy Awards and Nominations

Annie Live!

Spring Awakening Reunion Concert

The re-opening on the Drama Book Shop

Come From Away proshot on AppleTV

Thanksgiving Day Parade Broadway Performances

Emilie Kouatchou became the first Black actor to play Christine Daae

Brittney Johnson will become the first Black actor to play Glinda full-time

Overall, it's been a long year for everyone, with a multitude of highs and lows. I think looking back on this year is very important because we have the opportunity to see everything we did and make changes according to that. There is so much to improve on and there is so much to be proud of during this last year. I am very grateful for what we've all been able to experience and I'm very excited for what the next year is going to look like.

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From This Author - Student Blogger: Paige Rosko