Sunday, September 9, 2012

Broadway or Bust: Episode 1

I thought that it might be a nice little addition to my blog to give a recap and some commentary on the new PBS documentary, Broadway or Bust. Tonight was the first episode of this documentary following the 60 contestants that made it to the Jimmy Awards in 2012 in New York City. The 60 contestants were from all over the county and won their regional competitions of the National High School Musical Theater Awards.

It was interesting to watch this first episode. It was mostly introducing many of the kids. I had to laugh during a lot of it. They're so young and hilariously funny (and not in the intentional way, I believe). But like I told my mom when I was on the phone with her, if someone had followed me around with a video camera when I was in high school, I would have been mortified within a few years. I can't help but wonder if these kids will look back on this with embarrassment, whether they make it or not.

So many of the kids had never been to New York City before. I can relate. The first trip I ever made to New York was on my Senior trip when I was 17. One of the girls on the show said how much she loved New York. "New York is awesome. But it doesn't care what you think of it." I thought that statement was so profound. That is New York in a nutshell. A major part of the reason New York is so awesome, in my opinion, it because it doesn't care what you think of it. New York is New York. It doesn't try to be something it isn't. And if you don't like it, you can leave.

This show may be the most amazing thing these kids ever do. For others it might be a stepping stone to making it on Broadway (whatever that means). But either way, seeing them work harder than they have probably ever worked in their lives, with actual professionals, is pretty amazing. The choreographer, Kiesha Lalama, even made the point that some of the kids may feel like they can't handle the pressure and decide on a different career path. As harsh as that might sound, I agree. As a person with a degree that I'm NOT using, I wish someone had given me a crash course in my career path when I was still in high school. I might have picked a different one.

I look forward to getting to "know" some more of these kids. And perhaps someday, I'll get to see one of them on a Broadway stage. Broadway or Bust is on PBS on Sunday nights at 8 EST/7 CST for the next several weeks.

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