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BWW Blog: I'd Rather be 9 Peoples Favorite Thing!

At my last District Competition, I had the pleasure of performing a Small Group Musical entitled 9 Peoples Favorite Thing from the musical, Title of Show. When choosing pieces to take to competition, this song spoke to me because it relies on one simple message: to have confidence in yourself even when others don't believe in you.

What does this song mean to you?

GD: This song is an ode to what it means to believe in yourself and the work you produce. How you should never listen to the haters!

FM: This song goes beyond any other musical piece I've been in. The lyrics are so powerful yet so quirky. It's a hopeful song. It's a reminder to never give up. To be yourself and everything else will follow. And beyond just the outstanding lyrics in the song, this piece represents the beginning of my career. That spark that since only grows bigger for theatre and everything with it. I've grown up and improved so much since this piece, yet this is one of the pieces that warms my heart the most.

MM: The song itself reminds me to never give up hope even if the odds aren't always in my favor. Follow your instinct and remember it's not always about pleasing everyone.

AG: This song makes me feel like I'd rather have a close circle who I know I can rely on rather than a larger circle. The main lyric is "I'd rather be nine people's favorite thing, than a hundred people's ninth favorite thing."

A lot of times in the theatre were told that we'll never succeed. But if there's one thing you can take away from my piece this week, it's that nobody ever got anywhere by playing it safe. Title of Show rings true to this mantra because even though Jeff and Hunter's show doesn't have a "bankable" star, like Sutton Foster or that it was written in three weeks, they choose to rely on the power of their creation and the friendship that all four characters in the show have. What makes this show so special is that it is a true story in every way. The concept of writing a show about two people writing a show was indeed very true for best friends Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell. With the help of their female friends (Heidi and Susan) who are also characters in the show, it became a realistic interpretation of what it means to write a musical. Each new song heightened the tension between the characters and what was felt while writing the show until finally, we get to "9 Peoples Favorite Thing" (A later addition to the shows run).

Why did you choose to be a part of this small group?

GD: I chose to be a part of this small group because I myself have struggled with self-confidence, I felt like I could relate to Jeff's character in the fact that I just needed to let go of what other people thought of me. It was time to learn to love myself before I decided to love anybody else. Being with a group of people such as Fabiana, Aaron, and Marisa, made the experience more enjoyable. I felt comfortable trying new things and breaking out of my shell.

FM: I was a choir girl at the time and was just starting to become a member of my troupe. I wasn't a thespian yet and truly had barely an idea of what I was doing. When I saw there was an opportunity to learn more about musical theatre I was all for it. I ended up falling in love with the art in the process.

MM: Being a part of this small group was like an "aha" moment for me. At the time we were thinking of different options we could do that were a bit different than the usual "fan favorites" in theatre. I love the spotlight on all four characters and the interactions they have with one another. The song is so uplifting and important to me that it just stuck and that's what we decided to go with.

AG: I felt like this group showcased the best of our abilities. We all merge really well together to create beautiful harmonies.

The rehearsal process allowed us to explore new opportunities when it came to blocking, singing arrangements and characterization. One memory that I hold dear is when we all went to Aaron's to rehearse. We had been rehearsing for about two hours, we just got so fed up with figuring out harmonies and where we should stand that finally, we said, "let's make a pizza!" And we did! Reenacting scenes from Waitress with the flour we used, we finally found our inspiration. The more and more we performed the number in front of our Musical Theatre class, the more and more comfortable we got with letting the song and emotions speak for itself. District Competition was rapidly approaching.

It was the big day...I.E. Day at District... Tensions were high as everyone was preparing to perform their pieces in front of adjudicators. I pulled Marisa, Aaron, and Fabiana into a small huddle and we just held hands for two minutes straight with our eyes closed... absolutely no talking. We all went around and expressed our love for one another and how proud we were to even be performing. There is something so magical in just the art of performing and I personally believed that art is not meant to be timed or judged. Performers do what they do to make the audience and themselves feel something.

What was going on in your head before you performed?

GD: I just remember being so nervous and then I glanced over at my teacher who was in the back of the room and she mouthed the word "BREATH" to me. I finally realized that I just needed to take a deep breath and like all the characters in the show, let the performance speak for itself.

FM: There were so many mixed emotions going on that day. I was beyond nervous, excited, scared, and so ready. I felt so blessed. I literally got so many butterflies in my stomach. I felt proud of myself and my ensemble. We all worked so hard and I can honestly say it was worth it.

MM: There was always a rush of excitement before going on. I wanted the audience to react and have fun to watch us perform so I felt a bit nervous. Although as a group we always went in with the mindset of trying our best and giving it our all in every performance. There was a sense of being there in the moment where everything became second nature and we had lots of fun with our characters.

AG: I was extremely nervous. I knew that if we did our best we would succeed!

How did you feel while performing this number?

GD: I felt this rush of adrenaline come over me and shortly after the song started, I forgot people were in the room watching because I just got so comfortable with what I was doing. I was still nervous but there was a certain ease to the feeling.

FM: I was very proud. We had all worked so hard to perform our best and understand our roles. This was one of my first musical pieces to be a part of. So I wanted to go deep into my character. I wanted to "be" her not just act like her. My goal was to help people laugh and feel inspired by Susan's words just as much as I was. I was extremely touched to hear great feedback from the audience and judges. Playing her was such an amazing experience. I wish we could do it all over again.

MM: Performing "9 People's Favorite Thing" in front of district judges and even our theatre class was amazing. I felt more and more confident each time we performed it because of how involved we were with our characters.

AG: I felt good about performing this number. We got straight superiors and we performed to the best of our abilities. Most importantly we had a great deal of fun working together!

The scores are in... the moment of truth. It's a tradition in my troupe to sit in a circle and discuss our scores. Never was a moment more intense than the one that was playing out in front of me. "And finally, the small group '9 Peoples Favorite Thing' received..." my teacher said as my heart was pounding. "Straight Superiors!"

What is one thing you want the audience to take away from this piece?

GD: I really want the audience to take away how genuine all of us felt while performing this number. That we were just performers there because we loved performing and not there to get judged. The lyrics send such a powerful message in just being confident in yourself and what you put out there so seeing the smiles on everyone's face when we finished was the cherry on top... receiving STRAIGHT SUPERIORS for the piece didn't feel too bad either of course!

FM: The most important thing I would like the audience to take from this is to believe in yourself despite anyone else's opinion. You matter. To stay true to those who really love you for you and everything will fall into place from there.

MM: I would want the audience to interpret it as a constant reminder to never give up hope and to be true to yourself and your intentions even when everyone is showing disdain towards your ideas and or aspirations. It's important to always trust yourself even when you're in a world of people who are trying to change you for what they want you to be or who they think you should be. I really hope that message resonated with our audiences.

AG: I want the audience to realize that you don't need to have a ton of friends. The more friends you have the further apart you are from them.

Marisa, Fabiana, Aaron and I ran into a circle with tears rushing down our face and hugged our hearts out. We felt accomplished knowing that our work was appreciated, we truly earned out superior. If I were to put in all the memories while working on this piece in this one article, it would be excessively long. From singing the same harmony so many times I wanted to never sing again to laughing about all the crazy ideas we had about blocking, I truly loved working with these people and on this heartfelt number.

Being confident in theatre means to believe in what you're putting out there. The moments you share with the people that build you up along the way make the performance more special. Just be true to yourself because it never goes out of style!

A Special Thank you to Aaron Gulacsi, Marisa Medina and Fabiana Montilla for lending their voices to this article.

Watch the performance below!

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