It seems only yesterday I wrote my first piece for Lavender number 152. Now, in the blink of an eye, it’s the magazine’s milestone 500th issue!
Of the many things I could relate about my Lavender experiences from April, 2001, to July, 2014, the most important and affecting have been the opportunities afforded me to encounter people and events that might otherwise not have crossed my radar. Take the magical evening of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s annual SpotLight Showcase we attended June 8 at the Orpheum Theatre. The SpotLight Musical Theatre Program, now in its ninth year, is open to any Minnesota public, private, or parochial school, and features the talents of some 5,400 students from 67 participating Minnesota high schools.
The atmosphere in the Orpheum that night was electric; cheers, photographs, a susurration of teenage (and adult) theater energy. We sat next to proud parents whose freshman son was in the chorus of Eagan High School’s production, All Shook Up; together with the other parents, friends, and relatives, they cheered as they saw their kids’ hard work coming to fruition.
And work it is. Not only the original show, produced and performed during the school year, but now, a full week at the Orpheum, practicing the medleys and routines for tonight’s big show. Musicals are intricate, collaborative efforts, involving many more individuals than are seen on the stage. They, too, were honored, the techies, lighting and sound technicians, assistant directors, choreographers, set and costume designers, stage managers–the unseen multitudes who erect the armature upon which a musical is built.
From my arrival in Minneapolis back in December of 2000, through my assignments at Lavender, I knew I was blessed to be in a veritable Land of 10,000 Theaters. I was privileged to be able to see many marvelous shows. But while marvelous shows are, well, marvelous, this recent glimpse of the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s SpotLight Program made me realize just how deep is their commitment, not only to bringing superb theater to the Twin Cities, but to enabling Minnesota youth to flourish and become the theater forces of the future.
And so, continuing on to the magazine’s future, issues 501 and beyond, I look forward to enjoying yet further new Lavender-borne adventures and revelations.