LIFE LESSONS FROM “A CHORUS LINE”

My wife Meg, youngest son Brett and I had the chance to see my older son Jake perform last week in Texas State University’s production of “A Chorus Line”; Jake and the cast were amazing and it reaffirmed my belief that Texas State (just south of Austin) has one of the best Musical Theater programs in the country. One of the many positive reviews of the show from the local press included an extensive interview with the director Cassie Abate, who talked about WHY she chose to bring this particular show to Texas State and these aspiring actors, singers and dancers. Cassie described a crucial scene in the musical where one of the dancers badly injures his knee, rendering him unavailable to perform in the musical he and several other dancers are auditioning for. This incident leads the fictional shows’ director (played by the outstanding Nick Lawson) to ask the dancer-hopefuls “what would you do if you could never dance again?” The answers range from “I’d open a dance studio and teach” to “I’d move back home and try to start a new life.” What intrigued me about this scene in the show was how my own son Jake might answer that question; he’s been a committed actor, singer, dancer and musician since he’s been about 14, and I’m not sure what he’d do if he couldn’t keep performing for some reason. I started thinking about what I myself might do if I lost my voice (or just my job)…what would I do to define who I am? I came away with the idea that we all need to have a way to express our true identity and passions, even if it doesn’t equal a living wage.  Or as my successful salesman-father used to say, “have a back-up plan.” I’ll be reviewing my potential back-up plans a little more seriously 🙂

John Young

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