Student Blog: A Tour Through My Theatre 'Eras'

All of the shows that defined the different eras of my life as a theatre kid!

Student Blog: A Tour Through My Theatre 'Eras'
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I often find myself reminiscing on the shows that served as my introduction to theatre. The golden age film adaptations of beloved stage shows that raised me; the first shows I saw live; the shows that made cult followings of my generation of theatre kids; all of them hold a special place in my heart. But when I look back on these shows, I realize that the stages of my theatre-kid history can be divided into distinct “eras,” based on the shows that I most listened to at the time, and the other shows that I discovered through them.

Today, I’m finally taking a walk down memory lane as I pinpoint each “era” of my life as a theatre kid, and how it turned me into the theatre fan I am today.

My First Era: Movie-Musicals

An era marked by classics like Oliver!, Annie, and The Sound of Music, my career as a theatre kid prior to seventh grade was primarily based on easily accessible films that my parents (or the school music teachers) deemed appropriate. This is where I get my love of classic films like Singin’ in the Rain and Meet Me in St. Louis, and I performed these songs in my garage well before I ever learned what Broadway was.

Student Blog: A Tour Through My Theatre 'Eras'

My First Musical: Phantom of the Opera

Growing up so far from New York often made theatre seem like another world. Little did I know, it was closer than I ever could have imagined. In seventh grade, my mom took me to see the touring production of Phantom of the Opera, and I instantly fell in love with the buzz of being in a crowded theatre to see a show. I’m no opera singer, but I belted those songs for months on end, likely leaving a few headaches in my wake.

The Teen Years:

Any Gen-Z theatre fan could probably guess what this era entails…shows like Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Falsettos, and Next to Normal played on loop in my headphones throughout my last year of middle school and first two years of high school. Of these shows, Next to Normal became a fast favorite, and I recall watching the Tony Awards performance every morning on the way to school for several months. It was a score I truly never grew tired of, and one that undeniably shaped me in some of my most foundational years.

My Short-Lived Performing Era:

Silly as it seems, I hadn’t even considered that participating in local theatre was an option until high school. After watching a local production of Les Misérables and then seeing the touring cast only a month later, I decided to take a leap of faith and audition for my first show: Mamma Mia! It was a period of immense self-discovery for me as a sixteen-year-old, a time where I began to feel comfortable being myself and performing onstage. I had never felt more connected to the arts.

Only a month later, the entire world would shut down due to a global pandemic. With no access to live theatre for years, I forgot the joy it brought me. I applied to colleges and moved on with my life, leaving my “theatre kid” history in the past.

When I Re-Discovered Theatre:

If I were to pinpoint when everything changed, I would credit Hadestown as the catalyst for this “era.” I was fortunate enough to see the touring production back in late 2022, and it reignited something in me that I had lost touch with during the pandemic.

An Existential Crisis:

My first Broadway show changed everything. From the moment I sat down to watch Moulin Rouge! The Musical, I knew it would change everything.

Being able to experience a Broadway show live was more impactful on my life than I could possibly express through a few words buried in a post. I had never realized just how much of an advantage these experiences provide to anyone fortunate enough to have them. I have since been passionate about making theatre more accessible; so much promising young talent is excluded from the world of theatre because they do not feel that its doors are open to them.  


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