The strangest thing happened.
I attended a rehearsal for Caught in the Middle, the musical that I wrote more than a year ago for a summer camp. It's being produced by a local theater company and makes it's world premiere on Friday night.
You should come.
As I'm watching a scene, one of the characters stands, moves to center stage, and begins talking about the nature of teaching. "There are two kinds of teachers..." she begins. Then, after a series of jokes, she speaks lines I don't exactly remember writing, but I can hear myself onstage, I hear someone other than me saying things that I believe with all my heart.
It was like watching a different version of me. Someone with all of my beliefs in a decidedly younger, more female body than mine.
It makes sense, of course. It's only natural for a musical that I wrote to contain lines that have come from me, but it was surreal to see a person standing in for me onstage, spouting my philosophy. Filling my role. Professing my beliefs with the same conviction - albeit faked - as me.
Ever since I wrote my first musical - a rock opera entitled The Clowns - a few years ago, there have been few things as thrilling as watching actors speak my words. Even if you've never wanted to write a play or musical before - and I never did and often still don't - I can't recommend it enough.
Hearing the words that you write in your head is one thing.
Hearing a professionally trained actor - or in the case of Caught in the Middle - a talented teen actor speak your words is remarkable.
And if that's not enough to get you excited about writing a play, you can look forward to the day when you can bring your seven year-old daughter to a rehearsal and watch her stare in wonder as your show unfolds before her eyes.
Wait for the moment when she asks you to write a show just for her, so that she can take the stage and sing and act someday like these big boys and big girls in front of her.
Wait for the moment when she tells you that she loved what she saw and can't wait to see it for real this weekend.
Wait for the moment when she kisses you and says, "You write good stuff, Daddy. Funny, too."
It's a pain in the ass to write a play. Even more so when you're writing a musical.
It's an even bigger pain in the ass to get someone to produce it.
These singular moments make it all worth it.