This weekend I will be missing the Bay View Player’s 35th Anniversary. I have been scrolling through all the updates and celebratory photos on Facebook and can’t help but feel so incredibly moved with each new post. I have been even more reconnected to the Bay View Community this year through Janet Tanury’s posts, sharing often the sisterhood’s role in her own journey. She has inspired me countless times with the courage to open herself up and write about her joys and sorrows. It’s made me reflect upon my own journey, of which The Bay View Players were such a huge part.
As I presented my own career path this past week to a group of 6th graders at a local all girl Catholic school, I told them that the friends I had made at Bay View were such a crucial part of my life over the last 25 years. But my very close friends that I see often are not the only women with whom I have a bond. When I go home to Rhode Island from New York, sometimes I am blessed to see girls that I haven’t seen since high school. But I can still talk to them as if they were my own sisters and rely upon them for hope and support.
But the years I spent on the tech crew of the Bay View Players opened up a world to me that I carry in my heart each and every day. After high school I went on to both act and direct in college and bring musical theatre back to a campus that had not seen the likes of which in 20 years. We brought voices back to life that otherwise would have been silent. We brought the incredible lyrics and lessons of Into the Woods (Sondheim, Lapine) back onto a stage which would have otherwise been dark. Music has saved me countless times when I could get no one else to understand; a myriad listing of lyrics has taught me how to live. Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns”, which I first heard sung from the Bay View stage, is a song that forever reminds me of the complexities of timing in human relationships and to always pay attention to the most important things in life.
I can still see the tube lights around that famous Bay View stage and hear the drums that matched their beat. I can see the sequins from the costumes reflecting exploding energy back to their audience. I can hear the tap shoes in the hallways click-clacking “Audition” from 42nd Street. I remember extra large iced coffees, “extra-light/extra-sugar” to get us through Tech Week. I remember sitting under the blue lights with the crew when all the cast was gone listening to “Load Out/Stay” by Jackson Browne, thanks to Susan Tanury. I remember the evenings after the performances when the doors opened and the spring air would hit you and you knew you had found where you belonged.
I wouldn’t be half of who I am today without my Bay View’s Cabaret experiences. I will not be there in person this weekend, but I will be there in spirit. My love to all… …break a leg.