Back When I Wanted to Be a Broadway Star

[Caution: This post contains some very, very embarrassing old photos so please, no judgment]


You may have heard me talk before about my previous ambitions of being a Broadway actress/singer/dancer/all-around-star. It all started when I was about ten or so, and someone got me to watch “Phantom of the Opera.” Ding, ding, ding! There you have it, folks. I was hooked. I dreamed of being Christine and getting to wear pretty lacy dresses and sashay around candle-lit stages with the fog glowing in the stage lights. Seriously, it was all I ever thought about. I bought posters of New York City and hung them in my room. I begged my mom to let me go and visit. I begged my grandpa to take me to a Broadway play. And I memorized every word of “Phantom”, just in case I happened to get my lucky break when some talent scout randomly asked me to sing “All I Ask of You” in the grocery store one day. You never know. It could happen.

Anyway, when I was eleven years old, my grandpa announced that he was going to take me and my cousin Rena, along with our moms, to New York City for one long, adventure-filled weekend. There was only one slight catch. We were going in the middle of February.

To this day, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so cold in my life. Seattle in January didn’t have anything on a February day in NYC. We lasted about thirty seconds on top of the empire state building, because the arctic breezes nearly fast-froze us. We avoided Central Park, horse-and-buggy rides, and anything that would involve us being outside for more than thirty minutes at a time.

Thank goodness there was only one place I wanted to go that was completely indoors and very-well heated. And that was Broadway. Okay, okay, I know that Broadway is actually a street, and that there are tons of theaters that play tons of shows that range from the childish to the sleazy. But there was only one building I was thinking about, and that was the one with the big blazing signs that read, “Phantom of the Opera” out front. They dazzled, they glowed. It was love at first sight.

We got all dressed up and I distinctly remember that being the first ever night I wore makeup. My cousin wore bright blue eyeshadow and I somehow thought it would be cool to wear hot pink lipgloss and we both donned our best little black dresses for the performance. My grandpa even brought his own tux. Gosh, we were so sophisticated.

I remember that as being the best night of my life, up until that point. I knew every word, every line, every plot twist. But I fell in love all over again. With Broadway. With the stage. With my supposed future.

Well, if you’re reading my blog today, you’ll probably realize that I am, in fact, not a Broadway star. Why? Because one day, I realized I can’t sing. Or dance particularly well. And I don’t exactly have that “star-like” quality that makes people shell out big bucks to come and see your face highlighted in lights.

So I write. And take pictures. And do just about anything possible to stay behind-the-scenes, if you will. But I still have my little indulgences. I hadn’t listened to a showtune in years (Okay, okay, besides “Defying Gravity”, which I completely love and blast all the time, despite having never seen nor knowing anything about the play “Wicked”. Because I’m weird like that), but when my mom surprised me with the “Les Miserables” soundtrack for Easter, I lit up like a little girl on Christmas morning. And proceeded to play it five times in a row on our long ride to Cincinnati, and sing every single line with overly dramatic flair, just to make my mom laugh. “Had you seen her today you might now how it feeeeels… To be struck to the bone in a moment of breathless deliiiiight…”

We all need a little something in our lives to remind us of the dreams we once held high and lofty. And maybe it won’t always be my dream to be a writer, but I sure know I’ll never forget the “breathless delight” that I get from telling a good story. Even an embarrassing one. Like the one I can’t believe I just told you now.


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  1. This gives me hope. If you and I can have equally dorky preteenagehoods, then I could become as sophisticated as you one day, right? Right? I mean, it could happen. 😀

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Haha, you’re too sweet. Yes, I pretty much had the dorkiest preteenagehod EVER, but I’m still dorky ninety percent of the time, so maybe there isn’t much hope afterall! 😉

      | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
      • * Hannah Elise says:

        Haha, I’m dorky all the time too! But you sound so mature anyway 🙂

        Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  2. * Julia Byers says:

    New York City in general–but Broadway especially–is the most magical place on earth, personally (yes, more than Disney World). It’s difficult not to get swept up in it all. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  3. * Bethany B. says:

    I love musical theater! It’s such a wonderful thing to be a part of, even if I’m into writing as well. I actually perform with CYT in Richmond. 😀

    You were so cute!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  4. * Hannah Elise says:

    I love it that you, too, dreamed of becoming an awesome singer. That’s a big dream of mine, but …. anyway 🙂

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  5. * Sydney says:

    This has nothing to do with the post, but how much does it cost to have a literary agent?

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  6. * Lily Gaines says:

    Haha, I must admit that I’m going through that stage NOW 😀 I went to see Les Mis in the theaters and ever since have been completely obsessed! I try to tell myself that I’ll probably never get my dream role as Eponine…but hey, I’ll enjoy it while it lasts 😉

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  7. * Rosie says:

    Oh! So jealous you got to see Phantom in New York! On Broadway, no less.

    You aren’t the only one with weird preteen dreams! I used to believe I’d become a famous Christian music artist and get to meet all my favorite bands and tour Europe. lol If only…

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  8. * Emily Ann says:

    This was great, Rachel!! I used to want to be Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia, or at least some character in a Narnia movie….I even tried finding info on auditions (I think they were in the UK!) for the next Narnia movie when I was 11! Well, I’m not a famous actress, but I’ve moved on from that dream with others.Also, that picture is awesome. =)

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  9. * Katelyn S. says:

    Wonderful! I love musicals, especially Les Miserables and Phantom. My family gets a little sick of hearing Broadway soundtracks and my singing along with them, although my sister will occasionally join in 😀

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  10. * Jenna C. says:

    =O No fair!!!!! I’m so with you on wanting to be a Broadway star hehehe….ever since I heard about Les Mis I got totally hooked…….like..I keep playing songs from it and my mom is like “You’re playing it again?!” =P But it’s all cool…..

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago
  11. * Britt says:

    Oh my goodness. I totally, completely love Phantom. 🙂 Seeing it on Broadway would be amazing!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 1 month ago

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