I recently had the pleasure of being involved in the cast recording of The SpongeBob Musical and was wrapped up in the simple and rather infectious phrase, “its the best day ever”, other wise known as the SpongeBob theme. Its not the cloyingly annoying phrase you might think. I mean I can remember hearing the joy of the “happiest company on earth”, Kinky Boots, and being driven mad by the variety of zippy hashtags, like #youchangetheworldwhenyouchangeyourmind #justbe #werkkween. I felt super left out of that joy, it was another person’s celebration. Please note, I was a little miserable at the time Kinky Boots opened on broadway as I was working on a show that maybe was not the happiest place on earth, but that’s not this story. In fact this SpongeBob phrase as sung by our extraordinary cast is simple and genuine, when you hear it you actually think its possible that it might just be the best day ever and that’s a pretty super feeling. We were several hours into the night session when the cast started singing Best Day Ever and the Producers, Creatives & Technicians in the control booth were clicking away on devices and pushing the clock to not incur too much overtime and as we worked through the song there were in fact involuntary smiles that came across faces. They didn’t even know it, they were grinning, tapping their feet, glancing up from their screens as this beautiful phrase repeated. As the day wound down I became very sad watching this company part ways unsure of our next step in this world of Broadway real-estate where you feel as in control as a extreme liberal on the Senate floor. It’s a cast that never deserts one another, they all look at each other in the eye and make the moment true and vibrant. I know, I know, who’s cloying and annoying now? As a stage manager you get to see the best and worst of everyone, so this feeling of company that came with The SpongeBob Musical felt unique and our time together zoomed by way too fast during the show’s out-of-town Chicago premier this summer. It did come with a lesson however, a lesson that has taken me a time and a couple glasses of rosé to formulate. In my future endeavors I am going to try to be the very human being who stage manages and meets the demands of the *company instead of being that Stage Manager who has a solution for everything before anything occurs. I’m just not a by rote kind of a girl. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have major quirks and I like things done a certain way but I am not going to let those things interfere with me having the best day ever in this stand alone world of Broadway Theatre.
*A company by my definition is the entire group of cast, crew, creatives, musicians, managers… It is not just the cast as is often referred to on postings & notes.
Great post Jules. Every time I read your stuff I wish I was hemming skirts—or in this case, boxy brown shorts—backstage. I love this essay… beautiful!!
Another delightful insight. As usual, gets beyond the specifics and right at being human. Love your posts Jules.