We closed ALL SHOOK UP last Sunday. It ended up being the most incredible piece of youth theatre I have ever worked on or seen (and that's really not my bias - it was a constant rave from those who saw it). It was a great production, and a testament to the hard working staff and cast who were part of it!
Those that love the theatre know that every once in a while you are privileged to be part of a production that isn't just fun or great, but is genuinely special and (dare I say it) MAGICAL. That's what ALL SHOOK UP was... I had a gut feeling when we chose ALL SHOOK UP that it was THE show. That we needed to do this one, RIGHT NOW. I specifically remember that conversation with my producer and dear friend Nancy. Being a girl who likes to roll with the punches, can adapt to almost any situation, and is TOO good at seeing things through others eyes (or walking a mile in their shoes), I rarely make decisions with the conviction that "it's my way or the highway". This time, though, I just knew it in my gut. And my gut was absolutely right - it was the right show for the right cast at the right time. When that happens, it really is a special kind of magic, and I'm so grateful to have been a part of that magic another time.
That's not to say that this production was without its own set of troubles, though. From the beginning, we were always playing catch up because the show was just so MASSIVE, and the cast had an unreal amount of scheduling conflicts. Then, there were the insane demands that we placed on the shoulders of not only teenagers, but KIDS. Add to that the reality that when you put 45 kids and teens in confined spaces for days upon days in a row (kids and teens who have a flair for the dramatic) that drama inevitably ensues. Boy did it ever! And still, STILL, after one very difficult tech week, we were able to open the show with the magic that I knew in my gut was there. I was enthralled with this show that I knew so well by then, and so grateful for this light at the end of what had become a very dark and difficult tunnel.
In the midst of all of the struggle, drama and magic, we also had to say goodbye to some students that have grown up in our programs and are just too old to stay in them anymore, and to a choreographer, Tiffany, who has become my left hand, and without whom I will struggle to go on when the time finally comes for another production.
So that was my weekend June 11-13. It is now nine days later and I am STILL exhausted. Proud, relieved that we made it, and totally creatively and emotionally wiped out.
Thank you to those of you who were part of or who made it out to this truly incredible production. Seriously. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.