Last week, the Dance Spirit editors were discussing how much we loved the Broadway shows we've seen lately: Annie, Bring It On, Elf. And that got us thinking about our very first Broadway experiences. Do you remember the magic you felt the first time curtain went up and the star stepped into the spotlight? And singing the songs for weeks after the show? There's nothing quite like it. Read all about our first trips to musical theater paradise, then tell us about the first Broadway show you ever saw.
"Every year, my middle school hosted an eighth-grade class trip. We all boarded charter buses in New Hampshire and, with one adult chaperone for every four kids, drove through the night to NYC. While we were there, we saw Beauty and the Beast. We were seated way up in the balcony and I remember being freezing cold the entire time. I liked the "Be Our Guest" scene when the giant plates, cups, forks, knives and spoons danced with Belle—but then I, and most of my class, fell asleep! We were all so exhausted from our long trip and busy day of sightseeing that we all snoozed in our seats through the entire second act. (Luckily I've made up for my poor first audience showing by attending dozens of shows since then and staying awake for, well, the majority of them!)" —Alison Feller, editor in chief
"My first Broadway show was The Lion King during my very first trip to NYC. I was 11, and my mom and I spent a night in the city on the way to my sleepaway camp upstate. We had terrible seats—all the way to the left side of the balcony, so we could only see half the stage—but I was obsessed. So obsessed that when the show toured to my home city, Chicago, later that summer, I practically dragged my entire family there to see it—and sang along the entire time." —Rachel Zar, managing editor
"I actually didn't see my first Broadway show until I was a teenager. It was "Miss Saigon," and it was the highlight of a family NYC trip. I remember being completely bowled over by the fact that they somehow got an entire working helicopter onstage." —Margaret Fuhrer, associate editor
"I flew to NYC for the first time when I was 12 to compete at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals. I also saw my first Broadway show, Fosse. Looking back, I'm not sure I really appreciated it (or that it was appropriate for a 12 year old), but boy am I glad I can say I've seen it. I recently flipped through that very first Playbill and couldn't believe the cast I'd seen— Elizabeth Parkinson, Desmond Richardson, Sergio Trujillo, Scott Wise, Andy Blankenbuehler! Seriously, people! If only I knew then what I know now." —Michael Anne Bailey, assistant/fashion editor
"My first Broadway experience was a present for my 18 birthday. We went to the touring production of Phantom of the Opera, and I thought it was spectacular." —Josephine Dano, senior art director
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.