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Saturday, April 10, 2010


It's the big night.
An hour and a half before the show will make its debut, the actors begin gathering in the dressing rooms, putting on makeup, placing props where they need to be, and donning costumes. They have weeks and weeks of rehearsals under their belts, and last night's final dress rehearsal went marvelously. Still, there's a thrill of nervous excitement in the air. Will everything go as smoothly tonight as it did the night before?
Crew members flit about anxiously testing lights, administering microphones, and setting the stage. They have only a short while to make sure everything is perfect--if it isn't, the actors will be the ones to suffer. The orchestra warms up and awaits its first cue.
The spectators begin trickling into the theater and finding their seats. Although they aren't supposed to, cast and crew sneak peeks at their audience through the curtains. Their delight is tinged with hope; will this audience, large though it may be, react favorably to the show they've worked so hard to perfect?
Before anyone knows it, everyone is gathered backstage waiting to go on. The director stumbles out and makes a quick preshow speech, trying not to let on that he's just as nervous as his cast members. When he cracks a joke and the audience chuckles, the actors shoot each other encouraged grins.
With the director's speech completed, the orchestra's first tentative notes pierce the stillness of the auditorium. Cast, crew and staff draw in their breaths. Here it is. The moment of truth. Now or never. Here goes nothing.
The music swells into a crescendo as the orchestra picks up speed, and in a sudden burst of movement and color, the cast explodes onto the stage. The nervous energy the actors have been swallowing back all evening only drives their performance onward; nothing can stop them now. This is the moment they've all been waiting for. It is this moment that keeps them coming back again and again.