Quote of the Day: There’s No Business Like Show Business

I decided not to use the quote, “The show must go on,” because it’s too heartbreaking. While the show is still going on in some capacity, live theater is on hold, along with most other things, during this time of the Covid-19 Quarantine. As some businesses are opening up and people are venturing back out into public, any place that would normally hold large crowds is still off limits. Who knows when we’ll be back in the seats of theaters and stadiums?

I called a local shop to inquire about an add they’d posted on Facebook, a cute top, hand sanitizer, and a couple hand stitched towels. The owner took my order and told me I could come in to pay, and look around a little. I tentatively pushed the door open, feeling awkward about being in public. I wasn’t sure about wearing a mask. I felt weird about touching anything. I carefully found the top I liked in what I hoped was the right size and brought it to the counter. They had another one hanging that I liked, and they found the right size for me. We laughed. We chatted. We interacted, and by the time I left the store, I had a feeling of euphoria. Yes, there is such a thing as retail therapy, and it’s not just about taking home something new to spruce up the wardrobe, it’s about the interaction. Being Quarantined is hard on the soul. 

Attending All Is Calm at Theater Latte’ Da with my boys, a Christmas outing, 2019.

I’m part of the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers. We are an enthusiastic group of theater lovers in Minnesota who attend shows and write reviews in hopes of encouraging others to attend live performances. We all miss it, and at the same time know how important it is to keep our distance so we don’t contract this nasty virus or spread it. While we’re in Quarantine, one of the members volunteered to create a Playlist of songs that we’ve been listening to to help us through these difficult times. Here’s what I came up with, and some explanations. I created my own Quarantine 2020 Playlist on YouTube. 

1. I start with two songs from my favorite musical of all time Come From Away, about the great acts of kindness shown to stranded passengers in Gander, Newfoundland during the time after the attacks on 9/11. The stories and music are hopeful and heart wrenching. I wept through the performance, but in a good way, because of all the good that can come from a difficult experience. The ones that give me comfort during our current situation are:

Prayer, Make me a Channel of Your Peace
Darkness and Trees
Darkness and Trees (Reprise)

2. For Good from Wicked, for all the people who have come and gone in my life, especially thinking of piano students, some who have graduated or moved on, for the ones I could still connect with via video chats, and the ones who needed to take a break. I missed them. Lessons via video aren’t the same. The connection is often sketchy, and there is little time for interaction. I miss the energy and stories they bring when they come to my studio. I plan to have them start coming back this week, for a lesson in the garage on the keyboard, to prepare for our Driveway Concert series. (A few students at a time, sharing their recital songs, and more.)

3. Stars from Les Misérables because it is so beautiful and heart wrenching.

4. On My Own also from Les Misérables, not that I’m sitting home pining for some man, but feeling the loneliness, missing people and interactions, wondering how long this will last.

5. You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen, moving into a feeling of hopefulness while acknowledging that people feel lost and alone. Don’t give up, you will be found. You matter. Your life matters. 

6. Waving Through a Window also from Dear Evan Hansen, so many postings of people celebrating life through windows, at a distance, with car horns and cheerful waves. People being creative in how they stay connected and celebrate. 

7. Michael in the Bathroom from Be More Chill, while this song is actually quite sad, about a boy who doesn’t want to interact at a party and is feeling like an outsider, it also has humor, and an exciting beat. I dedicate this one to all the moms who would also like to hide out in the bathroom for a while just to have a minute to themselves! 

8. Let Your Freak Flag Fly from Shrek, the Musical, is about embracing who you are. It’s happy and positive and feels like a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day. It’s permission to be you, like what you like, form your own opinion, let your gifts shine, and don’t apologize for it!

9. Marion the Librarian from The Music Man. This is a nod to the production currently on hold at The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Chanhassen, MN. They have a beautiful production. I was able to see it as one of the last performances before the lock down. This song always gets my toes tapping and puts a smile on my face.

Michael Gruber as Professor Harold Hill and Ann Michels as Marian the librarian in The Music Man at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Photo by Dan Norman, 2020

10. A Musical from Something Rotten, as a symbol of pure silliness. The song itself pokes fun at musicals. To me, it’s like those nuggets of inspiration that I’ve felt during these times. It was a time to slow down, to process, to reflect on what is truly important. It gave me time with one of my sons, and a chance to focus on a small trickle of things versus the usual waterfall. And, I smile every time I think of this musical. I mean, how can you not like a musical that includes a song called “I Hate Shakespeare!” My friend Joanna and I drove through a Minnesota snowstorm to see this show, and I’d do it again! And, for the record, I don’t hate Shakespeare. In fact, one of the shiny nuggets that I’ve enjoyed during this Quarantine time is listening to Patrick Stewart read A Sonnet a Day on his Facebook page. 

11. And finally, There’s No Business Like Show Business. I’ve been impressed by the performers and companies who quickly found ways to still create, produce, and share their work. It’s been a blessing to me. The show will, and does, go on, in new and inventive ways. We have all turned to music, movies, shows, and books for comfort and distraction. So many people have gone back to their own art form, and I love seeing what they post. Stevie Ray’s Comedy has been doing their Improv Show about once a week using Zoom and YouTube. It’s not quite the same as in person, but it is done live and you can offer suggestions in the comment section. A good laugh goes a long way in easing the stress during these times. 

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: What’s on the Playlist of your life right now?