On Monday Broadway World announced that, because of the toll that the pandemic was taking on cast and company, Jagged Little Pill, would be ending its Broadway run. I reached out to my Voices of Hope Boston family and we shared in the heartbreak while also sharing in a sense of hope that, as Greg Chastain said, 'Talent always lands on its feet."
As I thought about what to write after Jagged closed, my theme was going to focus on how we have all learned through the pandemic to seize the day. I was going to wait until 'things got better' to go see Jagged next Spring and I am so grateful that I followed Spirit's promptings to go with Voices of Hope in November. There would not have been a show to see in the Spring. I've learned to generate more compassion and kindness in my interactions with my family and friends, placing in check seeing people and situations through the lens of judgment. We never know when something might end.
Kathryn Gallagher who played Bella Fox in Jagged, was a guest on Stars in the House. She shared how her face reflected that she had been crying all day after receiving the news that her last performance was on December 17th. The show had closed for a few days due to the high rate of positive COVID tests and made the painful decision to not reopen. During the interview she shared how she had a sense that the show might close. During what came to be her last performance, she said she thought about what if this would be her last show. She took in every moment and looked at every seat in the audience. While she shared how she and the members of the company were heartbroken, one could sense her strength and resilience through the pangs of grief.
While once again feeling the sense of loss and uncertainty as a pandemic variant sweeps across the globe, I hold onto hope and light. After all, it IS Christmas - a time for hope, love, light and miracles.
Sean Allan Krill posted on Facebook:
Got to see my dear friend Kathy Voytko go on as Marian in The Music Man on Broadway tonight, and she was absolutely incredible. With virtually no rehearsal, she never missed a beat, never made a false move, looked, sang, and danced like a dream, made me laugh and broke my heart. She’s a STAR. The real deal. And so is the show. The whole evening gave me hope in a very difficult, challenging time. And, okay, let’s hear it for swings, understudies & standbys, for cry-eye! They are kicking ass and keeping Broadway up and running right now.
PS Hugh Jackman was a dream in the show as well, and gave the sweetest, heartfelt curtain speech about Kathy, and all the swings on tonight.
Despite his own heartache, he went out to support his dear friend and support the theater community that pulses through every cell of his body.
I receive emails from Broadway World as part of maintaining my connection to my New York roots and especially during the pandemic to keep up with the news. When I first started this blog in the Spring and writing the sequel to Hope is a Garden, I thought by now we'd be celebrating the robust return of shows and events during the holiday season. I never imagined that there would be news of friends' parents in the hospital during Christmas with COVID this year or that shows would be closing. In the midst of it all there is light, hope, strength and remarkable resilience.
Broadway World shared a video and the transcript of what Hugh Jackman said during the curtain call at last night's show:
Hugh Jackman paid tribute last night to the "bedrock of Broadway" - understudies and swings while bringing forward Kathy Voytko who filled in for Sutton Foster on Thursday night in the Broadway show in a curtain call video captured on Instagram by Katherine Winter. Hugh told the audience "Kathy, when she turned up at work at 12 o'clock could have played any of 8 roles. It happened to be the leading lady. She found out at 12 noon today and at 1 o'clock she had her very first rehearsal as Marion Paroo. This is unprecedented. It's not only happening here at the Winter Garden...but all over Broadway. This is a time we've never known. We're in our 4th preview and we're all still learning, so swings and understudies have not had a chance to learn. They've watched from the corner of the room while we rehearse; while we get to practice over and over again. They just get to watch and write notes and then 5 hours before a performance they're told, you're on. All of these people here - the swings, and I'm emotional because it humbles me. The courage, the brilliance, the dedication, the talent. The swings, the understudies, they are the bedrock of Broadway."
The arts, especially musical theater are the bedrock of our lives. They take us through the entire range of human emotions and have the power to transform us. The collective experience of live theater bonds strangers together as time and space suspend during the performance. Musical theater has the power to make us laugh and cry and be in a state of awe immersing ourselves in another world.
If we look at what's happening right now, it would be easy to get drawn into the vortex of darkened theaters with shows and events cancelled due to the pandemic. But there is always a ghost light that stays on. That ghost light is our beacon of hope and resilience. We have vaccines, strength, resilience, faith and protocols to manage this phase of the pandemic. We have love to uphold us and heal us. We know we can do this. The show must go on!
From my heart to yours
In health and wellness,
Be sure to visit my website at https://marymcmanus.com to learn about my journey to health and wellness in the wake of paralytic polio and trauma
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