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When BROADWAY Was Dark

I got on the train tonight. Found a seat. Then I hear a whispered, “Salisha?” I look up and it’s my friend from college who recently made her Broadway debut. I look at her. She looks back at me. We just share a moment. She’s got tears in her eyes…

It’s Saturday night in New York City. She should be backstage at Wicked on Broadway. I should be making the trek home from rehearsal for the Britney Spears musical. But that is not the case today.

Broadway is dark at least for the next month. And this is different than when Beautiful closed last October. When the show closed, it meant that it was time to hit the audition circuit and get back at it. THIS? Honey, there ain’t no auditions. it’s not about finding the next show. Because right now, the industry straight up doesn’t exist.

Eff this Corona Virus.

Yesterday (which by the way feels like a decade ago) I got up early. I juiced, put my makeup on, spent 30 minutes twisting my hair and trotted off to work. During rehearsal, we had an unusually long break… *sigh* I should have guessed what was coming.

We came back in the studio and we ran the opening number. I jumped in for one of the characters I understudy since she wasn’t there. It was exhilarating!! And then… Our producer updated us saying something similar to what I’m assuming my sister Broadway shows had also heard.... And of course it’s necessary and safety is especially important right now for the community at large. Yet still- a devastating blow. Hearts were broken. The air was immediately sucked out of the room and you could hear only sniffles. That sort of thing is never easy. I felt my own head drop as a tear hit the floor. My cast sang one last song together. And then we were excused for an early lunch with no idea if or when we will ever return.

It’s crazy how only after 11 days of rehearsals, we all got so close so quickly. I think at first glance, no one would expect a Britney Spears musical too… I don’t know... fill in the blank. 😂 But by some magical force, it is GOOD. It’s better than good. And it has HEART. And I cannot wait for the coronavirus to pass over so people can be healthy and feel safe again so that we can share this musical with the world. It’s effing empowering.

Cast of One More Time Bway 📸 Raymond J Lee

I have faith.

You guys. We are going to be OK. So many things are unknown and that can be scary. But we are not alone. None of us are alone. Not only are we in this together but we have the privilege of living HISTORY in real time. We are here in America at the scene of the crime. And when it’s over and we’ve lived to tell about it, we are going to have some unbelievable stories.

During this time off, I’ve set a few goals for myself that I’d like to commit to. There are things that I want to accomplish during this stay at home time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be watching a few shows. But best believe I will not be spending all my free hours on Netflix. Those of us that have been given this disguised blessing of time at home have an incredible opportunity to create something really beautiful. That could mean very different things for all of us. Personally? I’m considering starting a podcast. And the book that I wrote is actively being worked on by my editor. (God is so good PS. But y’all, it’s so juicy.... I may not be able to share it because it could ruin me. Stay tuned.)

The point is, though COVID19 is a real life physical threat, it’s also a state of mind. We don’t have to be prisoners in hiding. For my creatives out there with some extra free time, let’s make something beautiful. And remember, you are not alone.



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