It wasn't, of course, the worst performance ever. I probably shouldn't even call it the worst production of my life.
I've been in a version of Guys and Dolls with a Sarah who couldn't sing, and in a 42nd Street where we didn't run the entire show uninterrupted until opening night.
But a show I've been a part of the past few months, one that has taken my evenings and my energy away from this blog, crossed a line tonight.
Background: the show, which is not your typical musical, which does not end on a happy note, was great. Our best performance to-date. In the showstopers the audience was engaged, enthusiastic, and in the heart breaking moments at the end of show, when turn arrives and we slip from dark into tragedy, you could have heard a pin drop.
That's the magic. Theatre does that, and I don't think any other art does, except perhaps dance. Music can transport and inspire, and painting and sculpture can make profound, provocative statements. But only theatre, really only musicals, can bring together all the other arts and then add the response of the audience to completely overwhelm your emotions.
I love this show. I would not have spent the last 3 months working on it otherwise. And I auditioned- I decided a year ago that I had to do this show- and I took a part in the chorus, because I really do believe that I would rather be in the chorus of a show so brimming with talent that we can break the audience's hearts, than to be the lead in a mediocre show.
And we could have broken their hearts tonight, until the curtain call and the final bow. And we had to sing a verse of Happy Birthday to someone in the cast. And I could feel the magic slip- this was just another community theatre again, just another show.
It broke my heart.