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Watching a Musical Six Times

Over the prior couple of weeks my oldest has been part of the pit orchestra for the high school musical. She really enjoys musicals in general, and this has been a great way for her to be involved in one. Especially since she’s not a singer or dancer or actor.

Over the years we’ve noticed that some families who have kids in the musical will go to almost every performance. I always thought this was pretty absurd. It can be as many as seven or eight performances some years and, well, don’t they have anything better to do?

When my time came to make the obvious decision to spread my time among many various pursuits I made the clear choice and … attended almost every one of her performances. There were not many other things going on in my February life. Every afternoon when I thought I’d sit out that night I realized my evening activities were destined to be watching something on television or playing a video game. My other two daughters as well as my wife wanted to go to the musical every night. So what better choice did I have?

I found seeing the musical over many performances to be a different experience than simply watching a musical one time. It was a little like attending a sporting event. I could see who had stronger performances on a given night. I could see someone stepping up with increased confidence. I could notice changes from prior nights. And like a sporting event, we talked about these differences amongst ourselves when the performance was over.

I gained an appreciation for each kid’s take on their character. We all have preferences and those often dictate how we judge the quality of a performance at the end of the night. Over time, though, I would realize that the kid who I thought was very mediocre on night one was actually doing some pretty great work with their character. Perhaps I didn’t love their take on it, but I could tell they were working really hard to do exactly what they were doing.

Do I recommend watching a musical this many times in a short period? I mean, probably not. I actually think with professional performers it would be more boring than with student performers. Professionals probably hit their marks and notes with great accuracy, making a six-performance engagement more similar to watching the same movie six times. If you have a kid involved, though, and if you know a lot of the other student cast members, it can be a pretty interesting way to spend fifteen hours in the dead of winter.