Theatre Nerd: An Origin Story
LIVE from a blue parlor room I definitely don’t accidentally sleep in multiple times a week, it’s the Caroline Rambles About Musical Theatre Show, a spectacular display of Broadway obsession and useless knowledge performed by a human with no discernible talent in singing, dancing, or acting!
As the first of many blogs I will use as an outlet to share my love of theatre, I thought I’d open up with a general overview of how my obsession got started and how I’m still impacted by those initial discoveries today.
My love for musicals began in about the most cliche way possible, sitting in front of my Mammaw Carolyn’s TV, discovering The Wizard of Oz for the first time. I have no actual memory of this happening, only the aftermath, which included:
constant screenings and reenactments for any poor soul scammed into watching
a yearly homage on Halloween #noodlebraids
an intense adoration for Judy Garland
a lifelong affinity for gingham
a grassroots movement to have the book series added to my elementary school library
extensive and unbelievably useless knowledge of all Oz-related media
an EXTENSIVE merchandise collection that may someday make me rich and/or warrant an episode of Hoarders
a high school graduation speech i’m no longer proud of for obvious reasons
As you can see, I have a problem.
As unhealthy as it may be, my devotion to The Wizard of Oz set the tone for a lifelong love of stories told with music. It is from that nearly 100-year-old film that I learned at a very young age just how transformative and cathartic musicals could be.
From there, little Caroline discovered Annie, The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and a plethora of other movie-musicals only your grandma could love.
Unrelated Sidenote: The Sound of Music is almost 3 hours long and required 2 VHS tapes to watch and I’m not sure how on earth my 5-year-old self had the attention span for that, but then again I’ve never had much of a social life so I had to fill the time somehow.
I didn’t really have a concept of what “Broadway” was until my mom picked me up from Kindermusik camp one summer day and told me she’d just bought a soundtrack to a new musical about the Wicked Witch and Glinda the Good. They call Wicked the gateway drug to musical theatre, and honey, I was hooked. "Popular" was my anthem. The Gershwin Theatre was an untouchable temple and Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth were my gods. My mother fought tooth and nail to get us tickets to the first touring production and lost out to hoards of fanatic fans ahead of her online. It was madness.
Wicked walked so Hamilton could run.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I saw my first Broadway show in New York, Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I was 10 years old at the time, so I didn’t have the sense to really take it all in, and thus about all I remember is some impeccable Heelys work made to look like swimming. I had no idea I was watching Tituss Burgess of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt fame, and Sierra Boggess, the Christine Daaé who single-handedly sparked my middle-school obsession with Phantom of the Opera, playing singing sea creatures, and I hate myself for not appreciating their talents earlier.
After that, all bets were off; I was a theatre nerd.
A year later, this little show called Glee came out, and I decided that I would model my entire life after a true shining star, Rachel Berry. Like me, she was ambitious and Broadway-obsessed, and we both shared a deep love of cardigans, ballet flats, and argyle. We were also both insanely annoying know-it-alls but that’s neither here nor there. It’s really through Glee that I was introduced to so many of the musicals and Broadway stars that I still love to this day, and while I’ve said that I’ve outgrown my Glee phase, that’s a bold-faced lie, so expect some extra gleek-y content in the future.
In my next entry, I’ll share some of my favorite musicals, movie-musicals, and show people to let y’all get a better idea of what I’ll be rambling about for the foreseeable future.
If you’re a theatre person and this is relevant and entertaining to you, please contact me ASAP because ya girl is lonely out here.
And if you’re not a theatre person and everything I just said is gobbledy-gook, I encourage you to stay tuned anyway, because you can roast me and that might be fun too.