By Megan Wirts
When the stage comes calling, you answer.
I am a performer at heart. Some of my first memories are of me standing on a chair belting out “Over the Rainbow” to anyone within earshot. I fell in love with musical theater when I was in middle school. My first show was “A Christmas Carol” where I played Mrs. Cratchit with my very own solo! I vividly remember the aching nerves and the rush of being on stage. I remembered my lines, but I did spill sparkling apple juice all over the Cratchit’s table. I’m pretty sure nobody noticed, I hope. All throughout high school and into adulthood I found my way to the stage. I performed in various shows over the years when my life would allow it. Then it all came to a screeching halt when I was diagnosed with a neurological movement disorder and I couldn’t do the things I did before. I would go to shows only to feel an emptiness and longing to be in the lights again. The grief of losing that part of my life was too much to bear for quite some time.
I dabbled with stand up comedy for a couple of years, but nothing compared to being in a musical or play. I never thought I would be on stage again until I was doing my daily nosey scroll through Facebook and I saw an audition notice from my old theater stomping grounds LionHeart Productions. It said “Lionheart Productions is hosting auditions for Motherhood the Musical. This musical shows the humorous struggle of motherhood that all mothers will understand.” My interest was piqued. A humorous musical about motherhood set for mother’s day weekend? I had to know more.
It had been eight years and one brain surgery since my last show and I wasn’t sure if I could actually be part of one again. Would I be able to learn the lines? Hit the notes? Not trip and fall on my face? My body isn’t the same as it once was. My brain and my muscles don’t always communicate well with each other and I’m a bit dizzy and wobbly on my feet. I also haven’t danced in years. Not that I was a great dancer before, but I could follow simple choreography and shake my booty when necessary. I figured if this show involved just a little shimmy shimmy now and then, I could handle it. I messaged the director, “So, how much dancing does this show involve?”. When she told me that it wasn’t going to be too much and encouraged me to audition, I decided to give it a try. Despite my nerves and anxiety, I was offered the role of Tina in the Motherhood the Musical. I was thrilled!
The first night of rehearsals was filled with so much laughter, my face literally hurt the next day. The cast clicked immediately and it has been a dream to work with each and every one of them. I had not forgotten how it felt to form a bond through the theater. It’s unlike any other. When you are in a show this small and intimate you will get to know each other in ways you never thought you would. You eventually start showing up to rehearsal dressed a like, you will randomly bust out into song or dance if you run in to each other at the grocery store, you will know each other. I missed that part of theater so much. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on the stage, with the spot light on me, the heat, the butterflies in my guts, the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I missed who I was when I was on stage. I am me, but bigger, brighter and more alive. I missed all of it, but the relationships made behind the scenes are what makes the theater worth loving.
This role has been one of my favorites. Tina is a compassionate, newly divorced mother who loves chocolate cheesecake and her kids, but also cannot wait for them to go to sleep or learn how to clean up after themselves. The entire show is made up of sassy, funny and caring moms. The content is relatable, funny and will leave you wanting to see it again. Every single night we rehearse, we laugh or cry or laugh and cry. You would think that you would get tired of hearing the same songs and saying the same lines agian and again, but not with this show. From songs about leaking, going on strike and a love letter to all things bulk, the laughter is non stop! There are more emotional moments too with ballads like, “Danny’s Mom”, “Every Other Weekend” and “Now I Know”, the tears will flow. It also doesn’t help that two of us in the show have daughters about to graduate high school in just a few short weeks. When you sing a song called, “When The Kids Are Grown”, it hits a little different this year and you need to have tissues stuffed in your bra just in case. Motherhood is an emotional rollercoaster and this show captures all of it.
I don’t know when the next show will come around for me, but I am so happy that I answered the call from the stage this time.
You can catch Motherhood the Musical on May 6th and 7th at 7:30pm at the Grant Fine Arts Center. Tickets are $10 and available for pre order online at https://grantfac.booktix.com/ or at the door the night of the shows.
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