By Max Granitz
In the opening lyrics of the song “Journey to the Past” which can be heard eight shows a week at the Broadhurst Theatre, in the stage adaptation of the animated film Anastasia, the title character sings “Heart don’t fail me now, courage don’t desert me, don’t turn back now that we’re here. People always say life is full of choices, no one ever mentions fear. Or how the world can seem so fast, on a journey to the past.”
The performing arts were where I found solace during some of the most trying periods of my relatively short life, and continue to find solace. I’ve made friends, lost friends, sung Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side” out to no one in an empty theater on an empty stage like a television musical teen drama cliché. I’ve taken on a number of roles over the years, in shows and in different ways of being involved in the process that makes the magic of the theater possible.
Hell… I’ve used my opportunity to perform in a concert featuring alumni of my school district’s high school choir programs, to process the way I felt about relationships at the time.
The past fifteen weeks, working for GEM Theatrics, have been an absolute blessing. I’ve learned so much, more than I had initially expected, about just what it takes for a show to get through the process of going from a concept or idea to a full-fledged production on any scale. I’ve also used this experience to successfully name my candidacy for and be asked to serve as promotional marketing designer, of the upcoming production of David Mamet’s Oleanna at Grand Valley.
And I prepare to once again travel to the city that has my heart, New York, and witness the sheer intense power of Broadway, understanding that such things are not possible for all to experience, and companies like GEM Theatrics offer such experiences, albeit on a smaller scale, but just as importantly, to audiences who may never sit in on a Broadway show. There is something truly amazing about the arts ability to adapt and survive in any situation, and the resilience of arts professionals.
It has been an honor to serve as the intern for GEM Theatrics this semester, and I am beyond blessed to have had this opportunity. Immense thanks go out to Gary Mitchell and Mary Beth Quillin for their support, guidance, and honesty.
I encourage anyone who reads this to think about the importance of the arts in your own life, and also to support GEM Theatrics by attending their production of Jerry Mayer’s 2 Across at the Dog Story Theatre in February, as part of the Lake Effect Fringe Festival.