I spoke to a colleague the other night about my first Equity job… the one that got me that ever prized ‘union card’ when so many of us were looking for a break in show-business. It was 1985, and I didn’t attend my college graduation in order to be in Brunswick, Maine to start rehearsals at ‘Brunswick Music Theatre’ (later rebranded as the ‘Maine State Theater’). That was 30 years ago this very summer… and has the time ever flown.
We presented many musicals that summer, the most memorable being a production of Evita, which was still white-hot in theatrical circles. In it, was a song that has stuck in my mind for three decades. “Another Suitcase in Another Hall”. With the following lyrics (and melody) burned into my brain: “So what happens now? Where am I going to?”
Never have those words meant so very much, and never did I expect them to have such an impact on me.
As I sit today in Fairbanks, Alaska I reflect on the fact that with tonight’s premiere performance of Hansel & Gretel, I will have now effectively closed the circle of desire on all the roles that I have ever wished to sing since focusing on a career on the opera stage in 1990. The role of the ‘Witch’ being the only one that has eluded me for decades… until now.
I am extremely grateful that the company with whom I have performed a number of times (Opera Fairbanks) has tapped me to make this role debut. This company means a lot to this community, and the finest singers in the business have come here to perform for just that reason. It also gives us singers an opportunity to try out new material- or recreate comfortable favorites- while having a meaningful seat at the artistic table.
That being said, and with hopes high for a very successful run for all of my wonderful colleagues and myself; I have begun to wonder:
“So what happens now? Where am I going to?”
How lucky am I to actually be able to say that I have now sung all the roles I have ever wished to sing? And make no mistake; I will relish every opportunity to repeat any one of the many roles I have sung–and I have several new roles upcoming that I look forward to premiering as well. But at the same time I can’t help but feel somewhat sad and bittersweet about attaining that which I have always desired: A wish-list now complete.
Perhaps the answer lies in some of the other lyrics in the same song from Evita:
“Call in three months time, and I’ll be fine.”
Looking forward to this, and many more wonderful nights on the opera stage!
A very thankful,