Looking Back From the Finish Line…

As I fly away from Wicked on my broom?

Photo of Times Square and Wicked Billboard taken by Joana Miranda

Earlier this winter I accepted a 10-week appointment on Broadway covering for the regular violist on Wicked .  When I accepted the offer, I was excited since I know and like the show (I’ve subbed on and off at Wicked for the past 3 years), but I also had some anxious thoughts, such as…

What if playing so many shows makes me go crazy?

and

What if I don’t fit in?

and

What if I can’t handle the pressure and the whole show grinds to a halt because of me?

In other words, I had fears that this might be how I ended the run…

The Finish Line Runner cartoon by Joana Miranda.jpg

Today I played the last show of my 10-week run and I’m happy to say that NONE of my fears came to pass.  In fact, I truly enjoyed my appointment and feel like the time passed almost in the blink of an eye.

Although I hardly qualify to give advice for “how to keep a show fresh”, here’s what helped me through playing 8 shows a week for ten weeks:

  1. Gratitude. I honestly felt grateful for every show and for the appointment.  I even felt grateful on the days that I had double shows and was exhausted, though sometimes that gratitude was more because I had good subway karma, or I was simply glad to be sitting in my own chair getting to play off my own stand.
  2. Perspective.  When I started to tire of the music, I reminded myself that most of my colleagues have kept a positive attitude in spite of playing the show for years, not weeks.
  3. Challenge.  I often played mental/musical games with myself, such as….What if this was the last time you could ever play this phrase of music.  How would you want it to sound?  Or…Can you hear what the guitars are playing on the other side of the pit?  Or…What can you do with your arm to make that bow change totally seamless?
  4. Creativity. I cartooned every show during the dialogue sections between musical numbers (a perk of being hidden from view in a very deep pit!)  I tried to create at least one cartoon per show and sometimes I even created two!  In case you missed them, I’ve posted some of my previous “pit” cartoons in this post and this post, among others.
  5. Connection.  Whether it was sharing laughs with my colleagues, hearing the audience reaction at certain places in the production, talking to the stage hand shoveling dry ice or getting to chat briefly at intermission with some of the actors and actresses who passed by in the hallways, I gradually got to know and feel a part of Wicked family.

What’s next?  A week of rest for both me and my viola (but not for my illustrations!)

Little Jo Twirls cartoon by Joana Miranda

Stay ‘tooned!

P.S.  Now that I am off Social Media (I wrote about my reasons for unplugging here), I am grateful to have more time to devote to making this site the best it can be.  Please don’t be surprised if you see some changes to the layout over the next few weeks.

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