Monday, September 10, 2012


Last night I watched the premiere episode of the PBS program BROADWAY OR BUST, following 60 incredible teenagers competing for the National High School Musical Theater Award.  I didn't want to watch it. First, because I dislike reality television and worried that this program was on the wrong side of that blurry line between "documentary" and "reality tv entertainment." Second because, at 8 PM on Sunday night, I didn't want to think hard or feel deep emotion.  I wanted, well, THE BIG BANG THEORY (and this is not a dis because I enjoy this show).

But something kept me from changing the channel.  The talent level of the kids varied but their passion, their drive was consistently compelling.  Also incredible was the real, honest, not-at-all pat or self-promoting guidance given to the kids by the excellent mentors on the show.  No Randy Jackson saying "I felt it, dog" (or whatever he says).  No triple-bleached Xtina saying "I need you on MY team."  No, here were kids getting REAL training from successful professionals who got how much work and sacrifice they were demanding.    Professionals who acknowledged the special spark they saw in a few of these kids and the fact that some had gone as "fur as they could go." (That's a punny little riff on Ado Annie from OKLAHOMA for you non-total-musical-theater-geeks.)

I'm still on the fence about Smash, still wondering whether or not Glee has jumped the shark or might be able to paddle safely back to the sunny sands of specialness.  But, one thing I know for certain.  Whether or not my heart feels strong enough to take the journey next Sunday night, I'll be watching.  Because the rough, raw gut-burning emotion of BROADWAY OR BUST is what I need to feel to write, too. It's art.

Learn more about the show at

1 comment:

Elise said...

Did you watch The Glee Project? I was obsessed. Totally thought Aylin was going to win.