I've talked about how much I love Glee before. Many times before, in fact. But last night's episode sealed the deal for me. Right now Idina Menzel, who is universally adored for her work on Broadway and admired for snagging the very handsome Taye Diggs, is starring as Rachel's mom. When she sang "Funny Girl" last night, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. And that's the difference between someone who sings and someone who performs, which is kind of the point since the episode was titled "Theatricality." But the real scene stealer was near the end of the episode where Idina and Lea Michele sang Lady GaGa's "Poker Face." I will be the first one to admit that I am not a GaGa fan, and that I question the song choice a bit for something that was a really moving moment, but it wasn't really about the song at all. What was really playing out in the scene was a mother and daughter doing something they both love, and knowing that this was it for their complicated relationship for the time being. It was breathtaking to watch.
While I don't have a tragic family story, or Lea or Idina's pipes, I do have a love for music that was fostered by my parents. My dad sings, my mom plays the piano and sings. From the time I was little, they encouraged my musical talent. My mother, bless her heart, took me to piano lessons when I was six years old, in hopes that I could play like her or my Grandpa Gus (who used to play the same jazzy number for us at every family dinner and, oh how I wish I could hear that again!). Sadly, I cannot play the piano. The joke was always that I visited more with my piano teacher than I ever played. Thankfully, my mom didn't give up. When I was seven, she had me join a community theater group and I spent every fall until I was 19 putting on shows.
My grandparents gave me even more opportunities to love the theater. Every summer we would go to the Muny or the Fox to see something, a musical or a concert. And I remember every one. And when I was a senior in high school, I got to go to New York and finally see shows on the real Broadway stages. It was every bit as grand as I hoped it would be. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to live that life. I don't really want to trade, but there is something magical about nailing a number and hearing that applause. We don't get enough applause for the things we do in everyday life. There's no theatricality to doing a load of laundry or helping a kid pass your class. People who just break out in song randomly are a little weird (and trust me, because I am one of those people). But that passion, that need is something that is hard to put in to words if you aren't one of the people that feel it. I imagine it's the same for people who loves sports or skydiving or whatever else.
I've been a "drama queen" all my life, a real-life Rachel Berry, minus the parental drama. I was born that way. And while I have learned to to tone it down for the most part, the passion will probably keep burning. I'd bet that Idina and Lea can relate.