I can safely assure you I am not a West Ender, though I hope to be the 25th Anniversary Elphaba one day. But I am into theatre, musical theatre, specifically. I watch musicals on YouTube, listen to soundtracks, watch the movie counterparts, read the books, everything I can do to get myself as close as I can to that legendary stage in my small-town world, I do it. But my small-town world would remain the way it is – no spotlight, no stage. I would just be one more fangirl in the world, dreaming for forever.
Or so I thought.
I came across an advertisement for auditions for the musical Peter Pan: The Never-Ending Story in the local papers. You know, the local papers that we small-town girl leaf through because we have to do research for school reports.
Except that I felt that my small-town life was going to change.
I understand that one must be crazy to actually go audition like that too.
So I’m crazy. And I’m glad I am.
Because if I weren’t crazy, I wouldn’t step into that studio and belt out ‘On My Own’, wouldn’t have acted when told to, wouldn’t have freaked the judges out and wouldn’t have gotten into the musical.
It seemed for that moment, my world wasn’t so small. It seemed like I could escape reality and step onto that stage.
And that moment lasted a week.
A whole week I was called to perform, alongside a wonderful cast of professionals and young hopefuls like me, both which were so, so nice. The professionals made us feel so welcomed, like we belonged on stage alongside with them, and Sandor Sturbl (Peter) and Lilly Jane Young (Wendy) even came in to wish us luck on the first day (thanks guys and last long!!).
And during our first curtain call? That was the best. The ensemble were so encouraging, telling us how awesome we were and when we were all nervous, they just pushed us further out front towards the audience and screamed, “GO ON! GO OUT THERE AND ROCK IT!”
Every day was equally amazing, even backstage.
When we finally weren’t allowed to say hi to them ((and on the last day too! :()), guess what they did?
THEY CAME TO OUR DRESSING ROOM TO SAY TAKE SELFIES WITH US AND GAVE US THEIR AUTOGRAPHS!
They were just so, so sweet, and it was such an honour to perform with such a beautiful group of people. The day before the last, we (well, mostly my junior from primary school I as delighted to reunite with) gave Lilly and Sandor (ship name LiSandor) an instant camera because Lilly joked about wanting one and we decided to make it a reality.
It was great, basically, being with these musical theatre stars, and being on stage despite we kids getting only silent roles. I still felt like a diva as I stepped onto that stage in front of an audience, and acted as though my life depended on it each time for all eight shows in full costume (we got to pick our costumes and I chose something similar to Eponine Thenardier). I felt like I belonged there, that one day, that stage that I was on would be that of West End’s.
But then every night, when everything was over and the costumes are off, I have to take the subway back to my small-town world again, and, apart from a backstage pass hanging from my neck like some sort of medal, I am back to being a thing plain and common. And I look forward to going out of my small-town world again each day, to go back to that glory of curtains and limelights. To go out and see the world and the prevailing minds in it. To stand, jubilant, in that applause, though I knew they clapped for the leads and not for me and my fellow young hopefuls.
Or maybe, just maybe, the clapped for all of us.
And like any other actor or actress who has been part of this wonderful performance, professional enough to be on Les Miserables or just a hardcore Mizzie thrilled to make their mini debeut on stage, I can proudly declare that not only have I been changed for good, but I believe in fairies.