The actors arrive at the theater, early but not too early.
Naps are taken, conversations are had.
Reminiscing in last night’s performance.
Food is eaten, but not too much.
Tears are shed but not too many.
Notes are given for the mistakes from the prior night.
Dance numbers are run through and songs are sang.
Choreography is reviewed while applying mascara.
Questions are asked.
Questions are answered.
People keep to themselves.
Shit is talked.
The sequins costumes are lined up in order on racks lining the room.
Hats, character shoes, jazz shoes, wigs.
Made specifically for the bodies who will wear them.
Props in their labeled positions on tables next to the stage.
Ballet barres set in the middle of the dance hall for performers to warm up their bodies.
Throat Coat, a singer's tea, is brewing in the lounge area for 12 nervous throats.
Silence fills the theater as actors rest and concentrate for the spectacle.
Band aids are passed around for the blistered feet, cuts and scratches.
Inspiring words are passed around for the blistered minds.
Shoes are polished and cleaned.
Dresses freshly pressed and steamed.
Heads and necks wrapped in scarves to protect them from their worst enemy- the cold.
1 hour till show.
People start lining up at the entrance, battling for General Rush or Standing Room tickets.
Mic check begins, all actors line up to speak a line or two.
The seats in the house are dusted and the floors swept.
The merchandise booths open, overpriced shirts, sweatshirts and cups perfectly folded and stacked.
Lipstick applied and smiles are passed between the cast.
So are the dirty looks from jealous competitors.
Grand Battements check.
30 minutes till show.
Hums and sirens are sung as mic tape is being placed on everyone’s right cheek.
The makeup and costume people come around checking everyone.
No flyaways, no hair out of place.
Every costume is perfect, every face is in check.
Tickets scan, as herds of people enter the theater chatting away.
Playbills being thrown at families large and small, excitement filling the room.
Actors finish up their warm ups, powder up their faces and add some final pins to their hair.
The stage manager calls “5 minutes” as the lighting designer goes through his final cues.
People yelling for last minute props and items.
The line outside getting smaller and smaller as the theater fills up every seat.
Children sit and giggle as they await the magical experience.
Last minute “good lucks” are whispered amongst friends.
Last minute foul glances are passed.
Loud talking is heard from the audience.
The actors line up at the wings.
The last group of drifters take their seats.
The doors to the theater close.
The heart beats quicker.
The mind thinks quicker.
The nerves peak.
Then all at once, it all goes away.
The nerves disappear.
The little girl in row H8 looks up as her eyes light up.
The curtain rises