Usnavi and Sonny on stage at Philemon Wright High School’s 2017 production of In The Heights.

Back in high school, I never had any interest in getting involved with the drama department.

Now look at me: I’m middle aged and I’ve become a big old musical theatre nerd. Clearly I missed my calling; I should have spent years cultivating a life in community theatre.

Not as a performer – I don’t have the talent, let alone the confidence to get up in front of an audience. But I would have been happy to take part in the behind the scenes stuff.

As it stands, I’m not even stage-adjacent, let alone in the spotlight!

That’s not really a regret – I simply wasn’t interested back then. I didn’t have passion for theatre. That is only something I’ve cultivated as an adult.

But even if it’s not a regret, if I look at it through the eyes of my present self, I still feel like I missed out. And that point was driven home on Saturday night as I took in a local high-school production of one of my favorite musicals: In the Heights.

The choreography in the club scene was stellar for a cast of teens. They’re choreographers deserve a huge round of applause.

The production was wonderful. Was it perfect? Hell no. The kids made plenty of mistakes, but despite all the flaws, the passion behind the performances more than made up for it and the hard work of everyone involved was evident.

It was such a fun evening – capped off during curtain calls when one of the performers asked his date to go to prom with him (she said yes!)

It was during curtain calls that I had my realization. It was closing night so the entire cast and crew were on stage to thank their teachers and to give each other love and congratulations.

The sense of community was wonderful – and that’s what struck me: I have never been a  part of putting together a show like that; part of a crew that is completely dedicated to putting on the most entertaining product they can muster.

Even the set was on point.

I know there are still opportunities. There is a robust community theatre culture in town, and I even know a few active members of that community. But I don’t really know what I can offer.

I don’t have the talent to be on stage or in the band. I don’t have any particular artistic vision or skill to get involved with sets, I don’t have the technical expertise to do lighting or sound.

So I don’t know. I’ll need to give it some thought because I want to share my love of theatre with like-minded people, and to help spread that passion to a wider audience.

I just need to figure out the next step.

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