Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dorothy's Notes

Our second guest column! Isn't this exciting!?

The lovely Renee Scott, who plays Dorothy, takes the helm:

I’m Renee. I play Dorothy. On the first weekend of shoes, we had a family come see us, dressed up in Dorothy costumes. (Well, dressed in the traditional blue gingham. I am a re-imagined Dorothy, and I actually wear a purple dress.) Grandma, Mom, Son and Daughter. When I asked her, the little girl, Leah, told me her name was Dorothy. She was adorable. I was wondering if we were the first play those kids had ever seen.

My first show was 42nd Street on Broadway, when I was five years old. I am lucky to have grown up in Brooklyn, just a short subway ride away from the best theatre in the country. In New York, they run commercials for all the Broadway shows pretty much non-stop. I became obsessed with the commercial for 42nd Street, which featured the song, “We’re In the Money”. I sang that song all the time – at dinner, walking down the street, on the way to school, even at church under my breath – to anyone who would listen. Eventually, I wore my parents down (I am nothing if not persistent) and my Dad took me to see the show. I was so small I could sit crossed legged in the chair and still have room for my teddy bear to sit next to me. We sat in the fifth row. I still remember so many moments from that show. The costumes, the lights, and especially the curtain rising to the sound of all those tapping feet…

I was hooked. Bitten. In love. Fully.

“Say Goodbye Toto” is my 52nd stage show, (and typing that just made me feel ancient). And I am still deeply in love with the theatre. The lights, the costumes, all of it.

My favorite part of acting in a stage show is the repetition. I like a nice long run. When “Cats” closed on Broadway, there was a cast member who had been there since Day One. She had played something like 4,000 performances as a Cat. That would be me. (Except, please God, let it not actually be IN “Cats”.) I would totally do that, because every day, every show, is different. Yes, it is the same script, and cast members. But the energy is always different. And, more than that, you get to live your favorite parts over and over again. You never get to do that in real life, except in your memory.

Every night that I am onstage with this brilliant cast, I learn something. I find new moments, make new connections. The audience always informs something new. And as actors, we bring with us everything that has happened in our day and in our lives up onstage with us. As we evolve, grow, and live, so do our characters.

We get to live so many different lives, I sometimes wonder, “Who WOULDN’T want to be an actor?”

And I couldn’t help but wonder, as I glanced over at little Leah, sitting crossed legged in her seat, holding her little stuffed Toto, if one day she will look back at our play and realize that’s where it all began for her too.

I can only hope. I think the world needs more actors.

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