Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to write; I’ve wanted to write novels and short stories and plays and newspaper reports. I fantasised of becoming a world-renowned author, overflowing with wisdom. There was nothing more that I wanted in the world than to become an author.
And then, when I was eleven, I performed in a school production of Bugsy Malone and my storytelling dreams flew straight out of the open window of our stuffy rehearsal space. Now I wanted to be up on the stage, belting and riffing to my heart’s content, tapping and pirouetting and jiving. I wanted to show the audience the rawness of human emotion every night. I wanted to be in a musical – on Broadway! And dammit, I was not going to give up on my dream!
Little less than a year after Bugsy closed, I realised something crucial – a fairly large boulder blocking my yellow-brick road (our school musical that year was The Wiz) to Broadway; I couldn’t sing or dance.
Uh-oh. You’re twelve years old and you’ve given up on two dreams. What a failure. Time to go back to the drawing board. Right?
No matter how hard I tried, I was constantly pulled back to theatre; I finished The Wiz, thinking it would be my final performance of anything ever (and there never was a more clumsily executed performance of Munchkin 1/Emerald City Gatekeeper), yet I auditioned for the musical the next year – and so on.
Theatre – especially musical theatre – is not my fortè when it comes to practical appliance, ask anyone who saw me in West Side Story and they’ll tell you that I dance like a drowsy hippo: graceless and cloddish. But my interest in the storytelling of musicals, and the direction, the meaning that the creative team and actors are conveying to us through their art – that’s something I’m kinda good at. (Let me blow my own trumpet here, I’m a drama kid at heart.)
Which brings me back to my pen-pushing roots. Beyond the Finale is a blog to discuss, analyse and observe musicals, and the ever-growing, ever-wonderful musical theatre community. I’ll be looking at the social, professional and cultural impacts of shows, current trends on Broadway and the West End, news focused around the theatre body, upcoming shows, and many more topics.
All I hope for, is that I can show someone my love for the two things that make my heart sing; musical theatre, and writing. This is Beyond the Finale, I am Isla, and I hope you have a wonderful day.