My Last Musical


Here’s how I pictured it: it’s closing night and the cast is in a circle. I just finished giving my senior speech, and I’m receiving a generous round of applause. Our stage manager shouts, “Places!” We all respond with “Thank you, places.” The show begins, and Act I goes off without a hitch. Intermission is spent chugging water and talking to the other cast members about how we’ll we’re doing. Act II is just as good, if not better. We all take a bow and exit the stage. I revel in how far I’ve come and shed a tear at the fact that it’s over. That didn’t actually happen, but in a way, it kind of did.

I started doing theatre in sixth grade. I was inspired to join after seeing the previous musical, Seussical, and thinking that it was the greatest thing I’d ever seen in my life. People that I knew personally, performing something that seemed so difficult was enamoring to me, and I had to do it. I would soon perform in many productions across the district, out of the district, and even do a season with the Papermill Playhouse Show Choir, where I got to perform at pride festivals, the Empire State Building, and even on ABC. I’m incredibly proud and grateful for everything that I’ve been able to do. However, even though it’s how it looks, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

We were right in the middle of production for The Drowsy Chaperone when COVID-19 hit. While a musical getting canceled isn’t the end of the world and nowhere near as bad as the rest of the things that happened in 2020, it still made me really upset. I spent a lot of time researching and preparing for the Man in Chair role (the core of the entire show), and to have all of that thrown out the window was crushing. However, that wasn’t my senior show. When my senior year started, I had no idea that a musical would even be considered, but it was announced in February that a musical would happen. The Shows Must Go On! was a revue consisting of songs from shows that had been performed at the high school from the past twenty years. I was essentially reprising my role as the Man in Chair from Drowsy, except the show was structured in a way that it was like presenting each song like a research project for the History of American Musical Theatre class in a Zoom call, so my name was actually Man in Breakout Room, but I was pretty much just playing myself.

In the show, which was performed at OSPAC, the local outdoor theater, I got to open with “Modern Major-General” from Pirates of Penzance, which is quite possibly the most difficult number in all of musical theatre. Afterward, I introduced each song with some quirky dialogue, and the phenomenal cast performed the song. This went on until we got to The Drowsy Chaperone, where Maria Nalieth and I sang the titular song, “As We Stumble Along.”

The experience was nothing short of wonderful. I got to do my final musical surrounded by friends, new and old, and reminisce about all of the other shows we’ve done together. I couldn’t have asked for a better ensemble to perform with, and I’m so excited to see what they do next. Remember when I said that what happened at the beginning of the article didn’t happen, but it did in a way? Well, everything I said is true (except there was no Act II) except for one thing: I didn’t shed a tear. I looked around and smiled, knowing that West Orange’s theatre department would be in good hands and that I’m ready to start the next chapter of my life.