The closing of theatres forced me to go outside of my comfort zone and learn more about myself.
I truly can’t remember going a single day of my life without singing. Performing has always just been a part of my life. For me, escaping reality and telling a story for others is like breathing. Performing is vital and without it, I’d be completely lost. When I was three, my nanny plunked out the notes to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz on the piano for me and gave me the gift of music, patiently showing me how to use my voice for the very first time. My mom signed me up for dancing classes when I was five because I had boundless energy and continually spun around my house, imitating my idol Julie Andrews. In middle school, I decided to sign up for the school musical because I loved to sing and dance, and figured I’d give acting a shot. Ever since performing in The Music Man, I have never looked back. I began learning to read music and play guitar when I was 13 and pursued songwriting shortly after. My love of performing and creating grew even more then, and since then, I have adored both performing and composing.
As a child, I was not only an avid theatre kid and musician, but I was also a voracious bookworm. I dragged my father to the local library and bookstore every single weekend just to “stock up” for the week. I attended Hogwarts with Harry Potter, solved mysteries with Nancy Drew, created a whole new secret garden with Mary. To this day, reading is one of my favorite past times. If I can sit in the English countryside with a cup of Earl Grey tea, a book, and my kitten Salem in my lap, I am in heaven.
In March 2020, my life, like all of our lives, drastically changed. I was sent home from school and stayed at home for more than three months’ time, stuck indoors with my family as we tried to avoid contact with the coronavirus. When all the theatres closed, and my opportunities to perform live seemed to come to an end, to say I was distraught was an understatement. I had never maintained such a long absence from seeing theatre and participating in it before in my life. I tried to keep my mind off of the national shutdown of theatres by reading and writing more than ever before. I started my own blog, and put my own thoughts, dreams, and opinions on the internet daily. I gallivanted through medieval England with Ivanhoe, I exacted my revenge with the Count of Monte Cristo, and fell in love with Mr. Rochester through Jane Eyre. I also began penning my first novel, which is a historical fiction loosely based on an experience I had while studying abroad in Bath, England. As I was reading and writing, all these new ideas began popping into my head; inspiration for musicals, plays, and books I wanted to write swirled around in my head, trying to push their way out. I had found new ways to exercise my love of storytelling, and I was obsessed with continuing to develop my skills as a writer.
One day, I was on the phone talking to a family friend about all of my new sources of inspiration and my newfound burst of creativity, she pointed something out to me and subsequently changed the course of my life forever. She said, “Why don’t you just combine your literary and theatrical interests and pursue dramatic writing?” Since that day, my life changed for the better. As I was thinking about how to pursue my passions, I decided to take it one step further. As I was reflecting on my love of literature, I then realized that all of my favorite books and shows have strong female protagonists. I then thought about how much I enjoy women’s studies and history, and that I should integrate it into my work. My mother has always encouraged me to be an independent woman, and to chase my dreams no matter what obstacles I might face. After making these connections, I then formulated what my new major would be. Through NYU Gallatin, I am currently studying theatre, creative writing, and women’s studies. My dream is to write and perform in musicals about women, for women. When people ask me what career I’m pursuing, I explain it like this: if Joni Mitchel and Lin Manuel-Miranda had a baby, that’s who I want to be.
Although this year has been devastating in hundreds of ways, for me, at least one good thing came out of quarantine. The closing of theatres forced me to go outside of my comfort zone and learn more about myself. Because of the global pandemic, I have discovered an entirely new artistic path in which I can continue to create art and pursue my happiness. I will be counting down the days until the theatres re-open and until then, I will continue to create, draw from the emotions in my heart, and try to make a lasting difference in this world.