birthday, birthdays, Broadway, Broadway musicals, Cinderella, entertainment, Les Mis, Les Miz, musical, Musical Theater, Musical Theatre, musicals, New York City, Norm Lewis, Phantom, Phantom of the Opera, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sierra Boggess
I’ll admit it; I was bummed that no one threw me a surprise party for my 30th birthday. Sound egocentric and ungrateful? Yeah, I thought so too. I decided to throw myself a birthday party the following year and themed it around my main interests: fairytales, music, musical theatre, and film/TV. I decorated the sunroom with princess tablecloths, plateware, and cups. I put music notes all around the house, hanging them from the ceiling and making them the centerpiece at the dining room table. My friend gave me a film clapboard, and I put up an entertainment-themed banner in the entryway of the TV room. We played “Kelly Trivia”, listened to musical theatre soundtracks, and enjoyed one another’s company. It remains a highlight in my life, and I look forward to throwing another one soon.
Birthdays are meant to celebrate YOU! You, with all your quirks, varying interests, and struggles. So many times I hear people say, “It’s just another day.” They don’t like celebrating their birthday. Want to avoid it at all costs. If the day passes without a “Happy Birthday” uttered, then it’s a good day. Even in the midst of low self-esteem and spiritual crisis, I always recognized the joy that was my day of birth. I felt special in a world that frequently promoted normalcy. You are important and deserve to be celebrated. So, next time your birthday comes around, consider throwing your own party. After all, it is a day about you and what/whom you love.
There are some birthdays that went by as any other – work/school, dinner at home, and watch TV at night. However, here’s just a few that stood out:
- My Sweet Sixteen party was one of the most memorable birthday celebrations I can recall. I had a small-ish number of close friends over. We proceeded to watch The Mighty Ducks and my mom surprised me with a birthday cake adorned to look like a TV set. Written in icing was All My Children in the center of the cake. Boy, does she know me well! It was a perfect day because I was surrounded by people I cared about and we celebrated not only the anniversary of my birth day but mutual interests, good food, and laughter.
- Last year, I celebrated my birthday in New York City (a place I consider to be a second home) with family and friends. We stood in line at the discount ticket booth in Times Square and got our tickets for Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. We walked around the area, picked up a princess crown for me to wear, and had lunch at one of my favorite NYC restaurants: Ellen’s Stardust Diner. It was a beautiful day, and I was so grateful to share an interest of mine with people I love.
- This year, I originally thought to do something different than last year. Until I heard the amazing casting news from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA; Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess will be on-stage together again as “The Phantom” and “Christine”. They played father and daughter in The Little Mermaid a few years ago. (Read the full news article here.) You only need to watch the Les Misérables in Concert: 25th Anniversary to see and hear Norm’s brilliant talent. He gives me chills and makes me cry every time I watch it. He’s a perfect fit as “The Phantom”! Besides, I saw my first Broadway show around my birthday in 1994, and it was a show that Norm appeared in – The Who’s Tommy. That show remains one of my favorites even twenty years later. The beauty in Sierra’s voice is matched with a beautiful spirit within. She’s a gifted artist who continuously promotes acceptance, self-love, and belief in one’s abilities. If you’re not already “following” Sierra on social media, you’re missing out on uplifting and insightful posts. Both Norm and Sierra excel in their craft due to a combination of exquisite vocal talent and magnificent acting skills. Going to see these two phenomenal individuals on-stage together is a birthday treat to myself this year. And most definitely worth the expense!
I look forward to my birthday every year, because to be completely honest I’m very happy to be alive and sharing my life with an amazing family and tremendous group of friends. Those who know me well wouldn’t find it surprising that I decided to go to California during big award show weekends or that I planned themed parties in honor of my favorite Broadway musicals. They’d get a chuckle at the fact that the selection of music on my phone consists of animated films and vocalists known for their musical theatre talent. I’m proud to celebrate the artist within and cling tight to the empathetic spirit that guides me. I love who I am today, but am just as excited as who I’ll be five years from now. That’ll be a celebration!
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