Spoiler alert: it’s about more than the mares and stallions.
By Allie Zito
In high school, like so many of my cast-mates and our beautiful tech team, I did theater. I performed in 3-4 shows every year, and the cast and tech team were my family. If I had a rough day at school or if I was stressed out by the daunting task of applying to college or what have you, I would never worry too much, because chances are, I had rehearsal. For me, rehearsal usually meant that I would pile into a sedan with four other girls from Merion, my all-girls high school, and we would make the 30 minute drive into Philly to go to St. Joe’s Prep, the all-boys high school. When I walked into the theater, I was home. I was always greeted with the smiling faces of my friends, a joke from our director, Tony, and something uplifting from our music director and choreographer, Sonny.
Theater was my happy place in high school; if I was there, I was doing something that I love with people that I love. When I got to college, however, I wanted to try new things. A part of me was afraid of becoming dependent on theater because so many of my friends from the Prep came back and told me that college theater isn’t the same; they said that it was so much harder to find a family. So I took their advice. I went to the a cappella O Show and auditioned for the group that said they were looking for new family members, and I made my home in the Vocal Chords.
I performed with the Vocal Chords and stayed involved in theater by helping out with tech here and there. I assisted the props and costume directors, and I felt myself quietly wishing I would audition, but I was always able to tell myself that I was too busy. However, last semester was bad. It was academically challenging, I was experiencing difficult changes in my personal life, and I realized that I needed something more. I needed to find a new happy place. So, for the first time in three years, I auditioned for a show, and by some miracle of God, I got in.
For the first time in three years, I feel like myself again. I found a family in this cast and tech team. When I wake up in the morning, I excitedly check my planner to see who I get the honor of working with that day. I bounce into rehearsal, and I run to the stage. Claire and Erich always make me feel welcome and important, and no matter what has happened that day, my cast-mates are always happy to see each other.
The musical ends on “The Song of Purple Summer.” It’s a song that can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me, it is a song of hope after all of the terrible things life can throw at you. Throughout college, I’ve dealt with things that have made me tired and upset and heartbroken. However, my involvement in Spring Awakening has been my own personal “Song of Purple Summer.” After all of this sadness, doubt, loss, and grief, I have found hope and happiness in the people I have met here, and I know that I will continue to find a home in the friendships I have made through this show.