Why Theatre is Life Changing

Jessica Rizzo

I’m someone who has always felt out of place, someone who never knew where they belonged. As I entered JCHS my freshman year, I didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be. I remember being so intimidated by all the upperclassmen, who seemed so daunting, thinking they’d never talk to a freshman like me.

At the urging of my friends and one of my teachers, I auditioned for the spring musical that year, Seussical the Musical. I remember being so nervous , almost inaudible as I sang the words to my audition song completely off-key. Nevertheless, I was cast in the show as an ensemble member, and my life was forever changed.

While I can’t recall the specifics of my Seussical experience two years ago, I distinctly remember how amazing it felt to be a part of something; the feeling that I was doing something that really mattered. As I took my final bow my freshman year, that was the first time I was truly happy since I first entered high school, and that magical sound of the audience clapping will forever resonate in my mind. I also got to know so many upperclassmen through the show to the point where I considered them close friends rather than of distant peers. They made my transition into high school much smoother.

From there it was onto Legally Blonde my sophomore year, and it was then that I met my current best friends. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush you get from stepping out on stage and performing in front of a crowd with your best friends alongside you.

Many people don’t realize that theatre instills more comradery than a sport does. It’s only through theatre that you experience a twelve hour tech rehearsal and experience a true bond with people. That’s why those of us who participate in musicals consider ourselves to be one big family. From November to March, we see each other every day after school. We see each other during our most vulnerable moments and our best moments. We laugh together, we eat together, and we cry together.

While some friends may come and go, theatre friends are for life. And I don’t just mean the cast- there’s also crew and pit. The cast, crew, and pit really come together at the end of the show process, better known as tech week. Tech week is full of long dress rehearsals, where we spend weeks after school together from 3- 11 p.m. After a lot of persuading, I got my friend Arielle Bernstein to do makeup crew for our recent production of Fiddler on the Roof, and she told me how she “met a lot of new people who were super sweet and not judgemental at all,” and how she can’t wait to hang out with these people outside of school. Giovanna Gjoni, a current junior at JCHS, joined the cast of Fiddler on the Roof this year, never having done a production before. She told me she was so glad she joined. When I asked her to elaborate, she said that “this experience was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made. I found a place where I can be me and I made the greatest of friends.”

The stage is one place where you can always be yourself, and you never have to fear being judged by others. I love becoming another character and getting to share that character with the audience. In my opinion, there is no better feeling than evoking immense laughter from the crowd. When I hear them laugh at my feminist remarks (Enid Hoopes) or crazy Yiddish accent (Yente), I know that theatre is my one true calling in life and I will do everything I can to make sure that my dream of performing becomes a reality.

If you or someone you know is looking for a way to get more involved in the school, suggest they audition for a future school musical. They just might discover a hidden talent, new passion, amazing friends, or an incredible experience they will remember for the rest of their life.


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Courtesy of Jessica Rizzo