Let me explain. Of course I was prepared, anxiously waiting for the last year and a half like everyone else. I was also fully prepared for it to be emotional. But wow, these are not the emotions I was expecting to feel on my lunch break. I was not expecting to see dozens of clips all across social media as Broadway bared its soul to the public for the first time in a year and a half.
After closing on January 5, 2020, "Waitress" made a triumphant return to Broadway last night, bringing with it Broadway’s first debut since the pandemic began, with Nyla Watson performing to a Broadway audience for the first time (at least, according to the Waitress Instagram page). The show ended with a touching tribute to original cast member Nick Cordero, who lost his battle to COVID-19 on July 5, 2020. All this and Sara Bareilles as Jenna?! Of course I’m going to cry.
Audience emotions were also running high as "Hadestown" played its first performance. I saw a clip of the standing ovation before the show even began, and you can feel the pre-show energy and electricity in a way that’s different from what it was before the shutdown.
Don’t get me wrong. The fact that artists managed to take theater, something that is built on the very idea of live audiences and interactions, and do it over Zoom is mind boggling and impressive. But there is just absolutely nothing that compares to the whispered energy in the air and the vibrations you feel in your chest during the curtain call applause.
Here’s to many, many more tear-jerking opening nights.
Feature Photo Credit: "Waitress" logo taken from the Waitress Facebook page and "Hadestown" logo taken from the "Hadestown" website