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For The Theatre Lover: Becoming a “Play” Person

Theatre Lover
By Mena Buscetto

I have always been a “musicals person” when it came to theatre. When the season was announced each year of my collegiate theatre experience, my brain instantly started thinking of audition songs for whatever the musical that year was. Auditioning for the play rarely crossed my mind.

It was, after all, just taking up time before the main event rolled around, which was to me at the time the spring musical. If my family went to New York City to see a show, I skimmed through the long list of plays that were naturally much cheaper but did not catch my interest as much as the flashy logos for Wicked, Hamilton, or Dear Evan Hansen, shows whose songs occupied 90% of my Spotify playlists.

I’m ashamed of it, to be very honest. I took acting classes growing up, so I knew how important it was to complete scene studies, memorize lines and blocking, etc. But to me the main event of any musical was the 11 o’clock number, not the dramatic scene between the two main characters.

When I moved to New York City in July, it’s safe to say that my mind was almost instantly changed and I cannot express in adequate words how grateful I am for that moment of clarity I had when I realized how powerful a good play can be and the impact the last few I have been fortunate enough to see have had on me.

Angels in America

This show impacted me so much, I dedicated an entire article to it. Check it out here.

The Lifespan of a Fact

This play, which ran from October 18, 2018 to January 13, 2019, starred Daniel Radcliffe, Cherry Jones and Bobby Cannavale (all-star cast, to say the least) and explored the complexities of fact and fiction in journalism. I saw this show on a whim with a good friend of mine, and it’s safe to say that not only were we hanging on every word, but by the time the show reached its cliffhanger ending, we were literally on the edge of our seats!

Summary (Courtesy of Broadway.com):
Based on the true story of D’Agata’s essay “What Happens There”, The Lifespan of a Fact follows Fingal, who has a small job: to fact-check articles for one of the best magazines in the country. His boss has given him a big assignment: to apply his skill to a groundbreaking piece by legendary author D’Agata. But now Fingal has a huge problem: D’Agata made up a lot of his article. What starts professional quickly becomes profane.

The Ferryman

This show had been on my list for months and when two of my best friends, who are also avid theatregoers and self-proclaimed “musicals people” said they left the show absolutely speechless, I knew it was time to check it off the list. When I found out that one of my all-time favorite onstage and onscreen performers, Brian D’Arcy James, was the lead of this show, I instantly knew that it was going to be fantastic.

Since the masterpiece that is Something Rotten! came to Broadway, followed by Hamilton, and his television/movie appearances in 13 Reasons Why and Spotlight, I am convinced that everything D’Arcy James touches turns to gold. He, along with all of the other actors in the show, kept my interest through every plot twist and turn and stinging line of dialogue. After a shocking ending that left me both speechless and breathless, I could not stop talking or thinking about this piece of theatre for days after it ended.

Summary (Courtesy of Broadway.com):
Northern Ireland, 1981.The Carney farmhouse is a hive of activity with preparations for the annual harvest. A day of hard work on the land and a traditional night of feasting and celebrations lie ahead. But this year they will be interrupted by a visitor.

Torch Song

The best part about this show was that it took you on an emotional journey. One minute I would be laughing hysterically and the next I would be crying just as hysterically. Any show that can make you feel so many emotions so deeply in the span of a few hours is something special.

Summary (Courtesy of Broadway.com):
Hilarious and heart-wrenching Torch Song follows Arnold Beckoff’s odyssey to find happiness in New York. All he wants is a husband, a child and a pair of bunny slippers that fit, but a visit from his overbearing mother reminds him that he needs one thing more: respect. Join Arnold on this all too human journey about the families we’re born into, the families we choose and the battles to bring them all home.


I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences related to the arts since I moved to the city nearly a year ago. At the top of this list, unarguably, were these plays. It goes to show that a self-proclaimed “theatre person” doesn’t always have the mindset that they should expand their horizons in terms of what they see–but they should.

While my love for musicals has not faltered and I am still dying to be in one at the first chance I get, I can confidently say that the plays I have seen in this past year have far surpassed the quality of the musicals overall. They have inspired me, motivated me and made me think about them for days past the final curtain call. So, as a theatre fan and as someone who always finds value in stepping outside my comfort zone to try new things, I encourage you to do the same. If you’re a “play person”, see a musical. If you’re a “musical person”, see a play. If you’re not a “theatre person” whatsoever, go see a show and give yourself the opportunity to experience and enjoy it.

 

Also by Mena Buscetto:

Broadway Workshops and Labs: Why We Need Them

The Drama Book Shop Lives On: Thanks To Lin-Manuel Miranda

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