Do you remember your first time in the theatre?
I can remember every detail about it. I remember driving downtown for a night at the theatre. I remember that I sat three seats from the house left aisle and we were seven rows back. I remember that I was six years old and was wearing my prettiest pink frilly dress. I remember the seats were red velvet and I remember that my mom let me walk down before the show started and look into the orchestra pit.
There were people down there. They were tuning instruments and all dressed in black dresses and tuxedos. Then suddenly the lights dimmed and mom rushed me back to our seats and rising out of the ‘orchestra pit’ came a man with a baton. Oh the anticipation. I could see his head only as he stood to thank the audience and then he turned back to the people under the stage and the lights went dark. And the music started.
The stage had a big heavy golden curtain with fringe on the bottom. And together we took a collective breath in as the curtain began to rise. It was my first musical… Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The music made you want to dance and the costumes were beautiful. Lumberjacks in their suspenders danced and sang and whirled around their brides with brightly colored dresses whooshing past the lip of the stage.
I remember having to hold onto the arms of the seats… because mom told me we couldn’t dance in the aisle. And I remember walking out of the theatre singing and dancing and so excited.
While it probably wasn’t the most challenging piece of theatre… for a six year old, it was magical. And in the end I walked out of the theatre with 1,000 other people tapping their toes and feeling happy. It’s why we love the theatre, right? That magical moment when you take a collective sigh and want to burst out singing together. In an instant you build a community.
Four years ago I came on as the producer because I saw the seed of that magic. Together we have traveled a wonderful journey of discovery and today we take our next big step. I am so proud of Wade and Kristin and what they have created from that seed and today I sit here on the edge of that red velvet seat again with my feet dangling over the edge, holding on as the curtain begins to rise.
The conductor’s baton rises and we all take a collective sigh, as we are ready to burst out singing.
-Samantha Swaim, Producer