For weeks I have been looking forward to our move into The Music Box Theatre. I knew our first day there would be exciting and thrilling. But on the day in question I was running a bit behind, so there was no time for excitement or thrills. Our call was at 1:00, and when I emerged out of the subway into the slow moving sea of 42nd St pedestrians it was already 12:57! I sprinted through Times Square weaving between packs of loitering tourists and checking the time every five seconds to see whether I was late yet. I arrived at the stage door on 45th Street at exactly 1:00, was ushered up the stairs in a frenzy to the dressing rooms, dumped my coat and bags, and ran back down to the stage where rehearsal was beginning. I hadn't stopped moving since exiting the subway, so it was only when I reached the upstage curtains of our set that I stopped for a second to consider the fact that I was about to walk onto a Broadway stage for the first time - not as a backstage guest after seeing a friend's show (I had done that plenty of times) but as a cast member myself.
After taking a moment to catch my breath, I walked onstage. The theater was alive with the tell tale signs of tech. Makeshift work tables covered with sound and light equipment stretched across the seat backs. Thick coils of electrical chords wound around the theater. Busy stagehands wheeled set pieces and equipment across the stage. Gazing out into the beautiful and bustling house, it finally hit me; this show is really happening! After several heartbreaking "almosts" on my road to Broadway (for those who missed my first blog post, I was previously cast in two different Broadway shows which failed to open due to financial issues), I felt I finally knew for certain that this time, the show really WOULD go on!
This sudden realization filled my heart to the brim, and I promptly started to cry like a big blubbering cheese ball. Ha! Two of my cast mates, Andrew Fitch and Anthony Wayne, gave me big, knowing hugs. They have both already made their Broadway debuts and have both been there for me at various times throughout this process when I had doubts or needed encouragement. As I have mentioned in previous posts, this is a very close cast. I feel so grateful to be sharing this incredibly special experience with such wonderful and supportive people.
After recovering from that initial wave of emotion, I had some time to explore the theater. The Music Box is stunning. Built in 1920 to house Irving Berlin's famous "Music Box Revues," it has a feeling of old world glamour that is ideal for our production of "Pippin." Ornate painted woodwork covers the walls and ceilings. Vintage chandeliers of clear and amber crystal hang throughout the house. Lush brocade draperies frame each awning. The theater is now owned by The Shubert Organization, and its website notes that the theater was built more in the style of "a dignified manor or country home than in the typical theatrical style of most other Broadway playhouses."
"The Music Box" truly is an appropriate name for the theater, because it does sort of give the feeling that you have stumbled inside some precious jewel box or treasure trunk. Coincidentally several scenes in our show utilize the image of an antiquated treasure trunk opening to reveal the wonders hidden inside. It is befitting to house the show in a space that makes you feel you have magically stepped inside that very trunk.
"Journey! Journey to a spot exciting, mystic and exotic..."
West 45th Street
Backstage at the Music Box
"Pippin" tech underway
The ornate lower lobby at the Music Box Theatre