Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's over now, the music of the night.

*happy/sad/bittersweet/nostalgic sigh* The Phantom of the Opera. is. over.




I'm just sort of in awe of how awesome the entire experience was. Every single performance was absolutely incredible, and the only time we didn't get a standing ovation was one of the school shows (and that was the audience's fault ;)). As I've mentioned before, all of our leads and the entire cast were phenomenally talented and absolutely amazing. The crew was extremely dedicated and there were no technical glitches, and the orchestra sounded wonderful.

Of course, there were a few defining moments.

* The very first show. It was a school matinee at 9 am (we had to get there at 7 am!), and so many people were so, so nervous. But the whole show went wonderfully, and we recieved a standing ovation. That totally blew us away, seeing as it was a school show and our very first performance, and several people, such as myself, started crying during curtain call. :) I was already crying, actually, because of the Phantom's amazing performance in the lair scene.

* The Bathroom Boy Singers. haha A lot of the guys had learned this song called The Prayer of the Children in men's choir at their various schools, and one day they decided to sing it in the bathroom because the acoustics were amazing. So about 15 of them crowded in there and the girls clustered around the door in the hallway, and they sang that song. It was so, so beautiful, and one of those funny, awesome moments where it's really beautiful and touching, but kind of weird when you stop and think about it. But that's the best kind of wonderful moment. So they became known as the Bathroom Boy Singers and gave several performances during our breaks between shows, and "The Prayer of the Children" became our theme song. I'm listening to it right now...gah, it's making me cry! It's always going to bring back so many wonderful memories and make me nostalgic...and it just happened two days ago! It's such a beautiful song.

* Something that the man who played the elderly Raoul said before the last show. He's a music professor and the choir director at the college in town and had led a lot of the vocal warmups the week of the show. Just after warmups before the last show he told us, "There is so much ugliness in the world, but you all have brought so much joy and beauty to so many people in the past few days." That was awesome...that's exactly what I love so much about the performing arts.

* Spending about half an hour on the last day sliding down the hallway in rolling chairs. The dressing rooms were in extra classrooms off the main part of the school, and the girls' dressing room was accessed by a sloping hallway. On the last day, two other girls and I entertained ourselves by rolling up and down the hall on rolling chairs. :D Naturally, everyone who saw us had to laugh and shake their heads, but we just told them that it was tons of fun and that they shouldn't judge. ;)

* The last show. It was absolutely wonderfully epically perfect. It was so bittersweet, but so beautiful. Hearing the overture and watching the chandelier go up for the last time brought tears to my eyes...I love that part. It makes it so easy to believe, as you stand warming up backstage in your Hannibal costume, surrounded by your friends who are also dressed in exotic costumes, that you really truly are a member of the ballet corps of the Paris Opera. Masquerade, which I've decided is my favorite scene to be in (and definitely my favorite costume!) went beautifully and was full of energy and excitement. Then there was the lair scene. Ahhhhh. *blissful sigh* The entire cast has to crowd into the two wings to sing the "Track Down this Murderer" parts, and usually I would stand with my friends and dramatically pantomime what was going happening on stage, but this last time I just wanted to watch what was actually happening on stage. So I sat in the wings, my vision slightly dimmed by the fog machines, just a few feet away from the action, and watched. They all gave it their all...it was absolutely incredible. The Phantom was really, truly crying, and I was almost afraid he wasn't going to be able to sing the emotional, sorrowful, and, on that night of nights, so very poignant last lines of the show: "It's over now, the music of the night." But he did, and he sang them the best he's ever sung them.

* The last curtain call. I cried, just as I knew I would (although I didn't completely lose it like I was afraid I would!). The audience rose to their feet right when the ensemble came out, as they had every night, and the clapping and cheering kept rising and rising, growing louder as Christine and Raoul came out, until it reached its crescendo as the Phantom stepped onto the stage. The energy, the joy, the excitement, the emotion of the audience is so palpable in those moments that it's almost overwhelming. And then, right as the lights dimmed and the curtains closed for the very last time, all 56 of us clustered together in a huge group hug. It was the perfect ending to what had been a perfect show.

Gah, I'm crying. :')

I am going to miss this show SO much, though! It's always hard when a show ends (unless you absolutely hate the show, which did happen to me once, lol), partly because it's just so sudden, but this one was harder than usual. We'd been there for hours every single day for the past two weeks and for three hours every week night for the previous month, everyone got along wonderfully and there was a real family feeling among us, and POTO is just such a wonderful, epic musical that leaving it was ten times harder than usual.

And there were so, so many wonderful moments, especially in the last few weeks. Blasting music in the dressing room (it's rather amusing to leave the hallway hearing "Il Muto" and then hear Lady Gaga when you open the door); singing show tunes at the tops of our lungs in the dressing room, makeup room, green room, and up and down the halls; incessantly curling hair; putting on what felt like way too much makeup; eating lunch that was prepared by the awesome moms in the commons and getting into shouting-and-chanting-and-pounding-on-the-tables competitions; knowing all the words to all the songs and mouthing them whenever we were waiting in the wings...oh, good times. :)

I also absolutely loved all the directors - they are AMAZING. Our main director is particularly amazing and we all love her! I think lots of people started crying during her last speech before the last show, especially when she said that, even though it sounded cheesy, she was going to hang the big picture of "Masquerade" we'd gotten framed for her in a very special place in her house because we all had a very special place in her heart. I'm sad that this is probably the last show I'll do with her!

So, to quote the Facebook statuses of practically the entire cast..."it's over now, the music of the night." I'm so, so sad that it's over and will miss it SO much, but I really am happy to have so many wonderful memories, the knowledge I was in such a great show, and the friendships I've made.