You Can’t Stop the Beat

My Hairspray tickets came in the mail today.

I repeat, my Hairspray tickets came in the mail today.

On September 4th at 7:30pm I will be at the Edinburgh Playhouse checking off one of the musicals from my ‘must see before I die’ list. And sure, it’s about seven months away… but some of us have to buy our tickets a little extra, extra in advance in order to afford them. It’s one of the parallels of being a twenty-one year old (alarming close to being twenty-two) writer who works in a cafe on the other side of the world.

But no matter, you can’t stop the beat ever since they made student discounts and put tickets on sale obscenely early so that poor people might buy them… Bit of a stretch?

So I guess this is probably the part where I confess that I’m a bit of a musical theater nerd.

And I know what you’re thinking…

But Kaycee, you didn’t even like Les Miserable that much, and that’s an Oscar nominated musical! You said it was too long, and there were far too many close-ups. You even dared to say they could have afforded a little more talking as opposed to watching Russell Crowe awkwardly sing-talk at Hugh Jackman again. Plus, you haven’t quite recovered from the death of that wee boy because if you ever have a child, you would want him to be an adorable, revolutionary singer too. And when are you going to stop referring to yourself in third person? It’s getting kind of weird…

So it might shock you to find out that I actually have the Les Mis soundtrack on my iPod right now. And sometimes I walk to work at six in the morning listening to ‘ABC Cafe / Red and Black’ and pretending I live in revolutionary France. Moreover, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making a sandwich to ‘On My Own’ because it’s a much more rewarding, unrequited love kind of sandwich for it. What I’m trying to saying is, I love random outbursts of emotion that people sing and dance to even if it comes in a slightly underwhelming (but still beautiful) movie adaptation.

I just love musical theater, okay? There. I said it. It’s done.

Normally, this would be a less embarrassing confession but in recent years things like Glee have happened. To Glee‘s credit, the first five or six episodes of the first season were new, offbeat and genuinely entertaining. So I’m not quite sure how they are in season four or why it feels like there has actually been a million and one seasons. Also, please don’t put Darren Criss on the show in an attempt to make me stick it out a little longer, because I inevitably will and then I will hate myself for it…

Proudly Glee clean for over a year now. The sky is blue again. I mean, not actually but that has more to do with living in Scotland. And probably air pollution.

But we have been fighting back against this black mark with things like Pitch Perfect, which was both awful and brilliant in the same sort of way that makes Bring It On timeless – the ‘I will never not watch it on TV even if I don’t go out of my way to watch it’ kind of timeless. Self aware comedy with obscenely catchy musical numbers – that’s my style. And if we’re going to keep adding to the record, I will also admit to having a deep love for cover songs (even a capella – okay, especially a capella) on Youtube. And since you’re going to lock me up and throw away the key anyway, I recognized Aaron Tveit in Les Mis because he was also on Gossip Girl (which I also stopped watching, like I do any show where a female character’s choices become subservient. Plus, most ill-conceived ‘plot-twist’ ever?). To be fair, Tveit’s also been in a lot of great Broadway shows like Hairspray, which brings me back to my original point.

I love the theater. It doesn’t necessarily have to be of the musical nature either, though there is something about a big musical number that really speaks to my inner child. I was very fortunate to go to a high school that was renowned for its theater program, and its gorgeous theater facilities. In fact, the first musical I ever watched was on that very stage and for a twelve-year old even a high-school level performance of Grease was very much the word. I was in – hook, line and sinker. So much so that having my first drama class in grade nine with a bunch of people who had to take it because they needed one art credit and were being forced to run around the stage as ‘anger’ still felt exciting. Because even a bunch of hormonal teenagers brutally massacring Shakespeare classics has something that no movie ever will – it’s live. Live performance art.

That’s what I love about theater. It can be unpredictable. Every show can be different from the last. For better of for worst. Forgetting a line on a stage can be traumatic, but ad-libbing an entire conversation to salvage the scene is also a thrilling challenge. You have to stay on your toes. Think quick. The audience isn’t sitting in a cinema millions of miles away from you or on the couch in the privacy of their own home – they’re right there. Right in front of you. You can hear their laughter or their heckling. It’s their energy that you’re feeding off of.

Sitting in the audience watching the one-act play that I wrote and directed was terrifying, but the most rewarding thing I could have done as an inspiring writer. I could gauge the audience’s physical reaction – what worked and what didn’t during the performance, and then we could modify things for the next night. We could play up certain bit for bigger laughs, or tone down parts that weren’t going over as well. Adjust lighting. Cues. And the best part was that even after all that tweaking, no audience is ever the same. No performance ever perfect but each perfectly unique.

And to be honest, I miss it. I miss it a lot.

So even if I have to buy my tickets half a year early in order to afford them – you can’t keep me from the theater. You especially can’t keep me from a 60s era feel-good musical that features a performance in drag, a lot of twisting and jiving, and amazing hair.

So. Bloody. Excited.

Oh, and in case you thought I was ignoring you, internet – the answer is probably never. Cause I love third person, damn it! It might be a bit weird in a blog format, but I can’t be tamed!

Put that in a song.

Not by Miley Cyrus…

3 thoughts on “You Can’t Stop the Beat

  1. Kaycee, I just saw Les Mis the other night. Russell Crowe- so awkward! His singing scenes were slow and dull. That little boy was the cutest! I can completely understand why you would want him as a son, haha. That was the saddest part of them movie…

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