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  • Abigail

B is for Broadway

Updated: Apr 9

In the quiet hum of a backstage filled with whispered cues and soft footsteps, I was first exposed to the magic of the theatre. It wasn't a love discovered alone but one gently handed to me by my father. As I mentioned in my previous post, my father was a playwright and theatre arts professor. His world was one of endless rehearsals, late-night scriptwriting, and transforming words on a page into living, breathing stories on the stage. As a single parent, he often brought me to the theatre with him. On the weekends, while he was in the shop building the set, I was off claiming the empty classrooms in the building as my own and playing school. You see, my first aspiration was to be a school teacher.

My father's passion for theatre was infectious. Through his eyes, I saw the power of the stage to reflect, reform, and resonate with the deepest parts of the human experience. As I got older, I found myself poring through his stacks of Fireside Theatre scripts and listening to his original cast recordings of Broadway musicals. In short, I was growing to love the theatre and it was then that I knew that I was destined to walk a similar path as my father. And, with any luck, I might be able to leave my mark upon it and maybe even make it to the Great White Way.

I received my BA in theatre and musical theatre and had the intention to go to graduate school to pursue an advanced degree. However, those plans changed when a family emergency arose during my senior year of college. I moved back home, started working for a temp agency, and scratched any theatrical itches through involvement in community theatre. It was there that I met the man who would become my husband. We got married, started our family, and bought a house. I worked for a corporation that enabled me to help provide a solid foundation for our young family. For a while, community theatre helped me scratch any theatrical itches I had. In the mid-aughts, however, I felt like I needed more. I started to weave my own narratives and build relationships within the New York theatre community. Eventually, the pinnacle of my journey unfolded in the form of a Broadway option for a musical that I had co-written — a dream turning into reality, me walking that path I had spent so many years dreaming of.

But the world of theatre, much like the world beyond the stage, is unpredictable. The spotlight that was starting to shine brightly on my career began to flicker and fade as I faced unforeseen challenges. The Broadway-bound musical released me from my contract as their book writer and the world premiere of my new play was canceled by the producing theatre, both devastating blows that shook the very foundation of my identity as a writer. The rejection was not just professional; it felt deeply personal, as if the stories I needed to tell were somehow unworthy of being heard or as if I wasn't qualified to be telling them.

The aftermath was a period of profound self-doubt and reflection. The theatre, once a source of joy and inspiration, became a reminder of my failures. I was still creating theatre — directing and performing — but there was no joy in it. The passion that had been so integral to my being seemed to be waning, leaving me to question my path and the legacy I hoped to continue.

As I grapple with these setbacks, I find it's time to rekindle the flame that had been ignited in my heart all those years ago. The journey back to loving theatre and writing plays isn't about recapturing past glories or rewriting old wrongs. It's about rediscovering the essence of storytelling, the joy of creation, and the resilience to face the blank page once more.

Rekindling my love for theatre means embracing the entirety of the journey — the successes and the failures, the applause and the silence. It means returning to the lessons my father taught me, not just about theatre but about life: that every setback is a scene in a larger story, every character has depth, and every play, no matter how small, has the potential to touch hearts and provoke thought.

As I embark on this path of renewal, I'm reminded that the essence of theatre is transformation. It's time to transform my experiences, both good and bad, into the fuel that propels me forward. Writing plays isn't just about telling stories; it's about engaging in a conversation with the world, a conversation that I'm not ready to end.

So, here I am, pen in hand, ready to face the blank page once again. With my father's legacy as my guiding light and the lessons of the past as my stepping stones, I step back into the world of theatre. Not just as a playwright seeking redemption but as a storyteller eager to share the beauty of the human experience, one play at a time.

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