Sunday, July 15, 2012

Good Riddance

This is my third attempt at writing this post. The first two have come across as disjointed or unemotional. But it’s hard to know how to put my emotions into my writing when I’ve spent the past week trying to hold all of my emotions inside. But the truth is, they’ve been sneaking up on me for a while, refusing to be ignored. Sooner or later I have to deal with them and today’s the day.

I can’t help but feel a little emotional. Okay, if I’m being truly honest, I’m quite emotional. Sure, every tour must come to an end. But my emotional connections to this show, and more specifically, this tour are so strong that I am a mess of emotions right now.

A little over two years ago I saw a show that touched my heart in such a strong way that I felt the need to see it several times. The trip to New York isn’t an easy one for me. But I made it several times in a year, simply to see the show. And I loved the show so much that I planned on seeing it on tour, even though it came no closer than 6 hours away from my house.

Other than the post I wrote about the American Idiot tour stop in Detroit that I attended, I’ve not written about the tour. But truth is my best friend and I have attended other stops. Detroit, Raleigh, St. Louis, Dallas, and finally, San Francisco. Each stop, other than Detroit, we saw the show multiple times.

Sure, people have made fun. I’ve been called a stalker by some co-workers and "friends" more times than I’d care to admit. I didn’t expect to love this tour as much as I loved the Broadway version. I wasn’t sure I would. But I fell head over heels for the tour as a whole. I love the cast, I love the show. I love the tiny changes I see each time I saw the show. I loved sitting in the front row and knowing that the cast knew we were there.

People used to sit outside the Nederlander Theatre for hours (sometimes overnight) to get rush seats for RENT (before it went to a lotto policy). I once met a kid that followed the Spring Awakening equity tour to several stops and then saw it every single performance when the non-equity tour came to Nashville.

Sometimes a show touches you that much. Can I say why this show and this tour touched my heart so strongly? Not really. I can’t say anything about the show that I’ve not said before. The show itself touched my heart. But when you add in the spectacular cast, who were not only talented onstage, but truly kind and caring off stage…you reach a level of special that I’m not sure many people ever get the chance to experience.
As I write this post, the tour has ended. I’ve made my way back home. I’ve had a few days to process. There are still so many things running around in my head, but the biggest thing is about the great relationships that American Idiot brought to me. I met new “Idiot” friends. People we sat next to in the St. James. People we met on twitter. People we met in rush line on the stops of the tour, right down to the last amazing stop in San Francisco.

I’m also so, so thankful that I got to know, however slightly, a majority of the cast members of this tour. They started out as faces on twitter, turned out to be amazing and kind actors, and ended up being people who know us, if not by name, at least by face. I hope that somewhere in their minds they remember those crazy girls who traveled all over the country to see them and smile (or laugh). One of the cast members said it best while we were chatting at stage door after the closing performance. They said there was something different about this cast. It was special. And it was. I have no doubts that such a spectacular cast of not only talented, but kind and funny and loyal people will be hard to find again.

There are a few things I regret. I won’t lie. I regret that I never saw Jarran Muse play St. Jimmy. I regret that I never saw Jillian Muller as Extraordinary Girl. I regret that I never saw Kelvin Moon Loh as Will. I regret that I didn’t get to see Tommy McDowell as Rock & Roll Boyfriend. Are you noticing a pattern here?

I don’t regret spending a majority of my time in San Francisco sitting on the sidewalk outside the Orpheum Theatre. I don’t regret the money I spent or the miles I traveled to see the show and the people in the show. I don’t regret the tears I cried each time I saw the show.

So what comes for me after this tour ends? I’m sure of this, I will be returning to New York more often. Pretty much all of my time and resources this year have been dedicated to seeing this tour. Because of that, I’ve not been to New York in months. Actually nearly nine months have passed since the last time I walked down the streets of my favorite city in the world. I miss seeing shows. I miss my bagels (they just aren’t the same anywhere else). I miss the quirkiness of the city.

What happens about my love of American Idiot? Well, there is the non-equity tour coming up. I won’t be traveling to see the non-equity tour in the same ways that I have traveled to see the equity tour. You guys have my heart. But when it comes only a couple of hours from my house each direction, I’ll be going to see it then. What do I expect? I’m not really sure. But I don’t expect to ever have a connection to the cast the way I feel like I connected with this cast.

One thing I can be sure of is that I will never forget the experience of the final performance of the first national tour of American Idiot. The conversation with the other people in the front two rows. Our decision to participate WITH the cast in their pre-show chant. The extra fun and silliness the cast put into the final performance. The walk on of all THREE swing members for the end of Homecoming and all of Whatsername. The final “Good Riddance” while we all stood and the flowers that many of us gave to the cast as we all cried. The stage door with all crazy fans that pushed and shoved, while those of us who had been in for the long haul simply stood off to the side, waiting patiently. All of these things are things that made this incredible journey worth every dime and every second of time that I invested.

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