I was a Gleek before being a Gleek was cool. My mother says that when I was but a wee child she knew when I woke up from my nap because I’d be singing in my crib. I was in choir, small choir, and voice lessons in high school. I sang solo at my graduation. I sang in a group that toured Ireland in college. I don’t know that there’s been a day of my life that I haven’t lifted my voice in song.
I love musicals. I think I must have been every popular musical during my stint living in the UK, when I could go get student tickets to just about anything playing in the West End. It’s something I really miss. Touring companies come through Albuquerque now and again, but the tickets are nowhere near as cheap as student tickets and I can never get the good seats.
The musical I most want to see is Wicked. I love Idina Menzel. I also love Kristen Chenowith. This love goes way back, before they appeared on Glee. They are Broadway royalty. I went through about a month where I listened to the Wicked soundtrack almost every day in my car. This week I found the soundtrack again, on the floor of my car.
Unfortunately, the soundtrack has had a rough time in the last few months, and is all scratched up. But I’ve been singing along anyway, despite the fact that I’ve had to figure out how to sing in triple time through all the jumps and skips on the CD. But my two favorite songs, Popular and Defying Gravity, are ruined. So I’ve downloaded a second copy of the soundtrack and burned it to CD for the car. Totally worth it.
While searching for a YouTube video of Wicked, I came across another video by the Wicked touring cast. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the influx of gay suicides taking place in the US due to bullying. This breaks my heart. As someone who works with young people, I know the trauma that they feel, real or perceived. I want to make my classroom a place that’s free from fear. Honestly, I won’t even let my students say “That’s GAY” within earshot of me. I know I’ve had gay kids pass through my classroom, and I never want to see them discriminated against or harassed. The fact that these kids feel there is no choice left but to take their lives is a tragedy. There is now a YouTube channel for the It Gets Better Project, letting kids know that over time, their lives will improve, and it will not be so hard to be gay. I was pleased to see the Wicked touring cast participate in this project and share their personal experiences. Props to them.
*(Yes, I do feel awkward using the “word” pwns. I think I’m too old for that one. I won’t be trying that again.)