Footloose opens at Richmond’s Dogwood Dell on Friday, July 26 and runs for five performances over two weekends. I’m playing the part of Ren’s Uncle Wes.
I’ve loved the re-awakening (if you want to call it that and I do this morning because I haven’t had enough coffee to come up with a better word) of my involvement in theatre. It was a love and a passion of mine in high school and college and I sort of let it be pushed back because I just didn’t have the time. I still don’t “have” the time. I’m making it.
Being involved with the Music and Fine Arts ministry at West End Assembly of God for some fifteen years has fed a lot of that passion for the arts. I love that, and will continue to make that my priority.
But a few seasons ago I started to branch out by auditioning for shows in the Richmond Theatre community. I went to several auditions before actually getting cast last year in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Now, I’m getting ready to open in my third show this year. I’ve been in rehearsals or productions since January.
After Footloose I’m taking a short break because Glorious Christmas Nights kicks off in September. I’ll still be involved elsewhere during that time. Among other things, I’m helping CAT Theatre with promotions for the 50th Anniversary season.
What prompted this was a post over at Wayfarer, one of the blogs I follow. I like what Tom writes because he’s an actor who is involved in ministry and who does both in addition to his day job.
Tom wrote last week about music and more specifically musical theatre. Initially he told a friend he preferred traditional theatre to musical theatre because in life we don’t always break out into song (I’m paraphrasing his paraphrase of a conversation). His friend disagreed.
Anyway, the point of the post came down to the fact that, while we may not break out into dance numbers, our lives are surrounded by music. Personally, since I saw the first one, I’ve always wanted to participate in a flash mob dance scene. While we don’t do that, each of us really has our own sound track.
If you’re like me, there’s always music running in my head. Usually at weeks like these it’s music from rehearsals. With the curtain going up Friday night, that’s a good thing. Except the song from this morning is from a scene I’m not in.
Tom quotes from Lamentations:
The elders no longer sit in the city gates;
the young men no longer dance and sing.
Joy has left our hearts;
our dancing has turned to mourning.
Lamentations 5:14-15 (NLT)
Tom says, “I get to the end of the prophet Jeremiah’s poem of Lamentation this morning and stumbled on the verse I pasted at the top of this post. How fascinating that after describing scenes of societal breakdown, starvation, cannibalism, torture, and rape the prophet sums it up by saying: our young men no longer break out in singing and dancing, the joy has left our hearts.”
It’s an interesting take that the music stopped when life fell apart. It’s probably true that we don’t feel like singing when life sucks.
Still throughout history some of the best, most inspiring music has come from times of struggle or stories of triumph over darkness. Music has been a part of that whether it is the story of a family fleeing the Nazis in The Sound of Music, or a story of hope and redemption in Les Miserables or the songs of the Underground Railroad which legend tells us were used as a guide for slaves to navigate the path to freedom.
Life does stink sometimes. The media gives us an incessant pounding of all the bad news when the reality is we have enough of our own troubles to deal with. But music gives us hope. It gives us rest. And sometimes it gives us the determination to just keep moving.
Sometimes for me it’s show tunes (I’ll pause while you snark), sometimes it’s classical, country, gospel and many times it is the traditional hymns of the faith. But, there’s always music.
What’s on your sound track today?