If ever you have the chance to be in a musical, try it.
From September until now, I have had the privilege of becoming Meg March for the UU production of Little Women: the Broadway Musical. Tonight was our final night of performances. It was a bittersweet event, with many smiles and many tears. It was our best performance, in my opinion. In a way, all of them were.
When I auditioned for the play, I determined that I’d consider myself lucky to get any role. I’d be glad to have the role of a potted plant. Normally I land character parts, or villains, and occasionally unicorns—but significant roles have evaded me since high school. I didn’t think there was any way I could be one of the four sisters. How could I? The March girls are angelic romantic heroines. I’m—well, I’m Rizzy.
I had been told I couldn’t act. I had been told my singing voice was ugly. Even if those words only came from one person—which they did—and even if they were lies—which they were—they stung and they stuck. I didn’t think I was anywhere near good enough for my dream. I’ve dreamed of being in a musical since I was a little girl. Here was my chance.
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered I had been cast as Meg—the most romantic March sister. I was hugging total strangers and telling them I was in a musical.
Meg proved an interesting acting challenge. Before this play, she was my least favorite character. We are not at all alike—or so I thought at first. After all, her first line is “Jo, I hate being a governess. I should be out meeting eligible young men.” I wouldn’t mind being a governess, and marriage isn’t my chief goal in life. Meg is a hopeless romantic. I am a cynic. Meg is very concerned about what people think of her. I wear mismatched clothing for the fun of it. Meg is insecure. I am…
And there I found the common ground. While we’re insecure about different things, Meg and I both have our fair share of insecurities.
Meg’s greatest wish was to go to the St. Valentine’s Day ball at the Moffatts. My greatest wish was to be in a musical. Meg got an invitation. I got a role. When faced with the reality of attending the ball and playing a major role in a musical, Meg and I both cried:
“What will I do when someone asks me to dance?”
I had to learn to dance. I’m about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe with inner-ear problems. Rehearsal after rehearsal went by, and I began to wonder if I could do it. For the longest time, I couldn’t. But I had a supportive director and cast and friends and family who all told me they believed in me. It’s amazing how far that can get you.
I would say that the stars aligned in such a way as to make being a part of this cast an easy part of my life—but they didn’t. It was a challenge keeping all my juggling pins in the air. I didn’t do it alone. God made it clear from the beginning that He wanted me on the cast—another story for another day—and He gave me the grace to handle every project, every scene, every relationship, this blog, church programs, being society chaplain, every homework assignment, and every test. I could not have done this semester without Him.
Performances came and performances went. No member of the cast or crew had an agenda to push or tried to hog the spotlight. We shared it. We were and are a family. That can’t be said of every cast I’ve belonged to. God blessed us. We wanted nothing but His glory. And that’s what we got.
I will never forget being Meg. I have never been so stretched before. I am sure more challenges will come, but never has a challenge been so delightful and so satisfying. It was a Christmas gift for which I will always thank my God. Because of Meg, I am a stronger little woman. That alone is wonderful enough.