There’s something to be said for good endings. They make good beginnings possible.
Our run of Billy Elliot: The Musical at La Crosse Community Theatre is just about over. When the curtain comes down later today, nearly 5,000 people in the La Crosse area will have seen the show. Nearly every performance was sold out, and if we could have gone another week, I, for one, would have been willing.
One of the funniest, subtlest lines of dialog–which I had missed until we reached opening night–is Mrs. Wilkinson (Taylor Haggerty) saying, “Remember the Golden Rule, girls. Never hide your light under a bushel.” This isn’t, of course, the Golden Rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”), but it hardly matters, given the context of the story. Her misguided reference to Matthew 5:15 is just as important.
A lesson it has taken me some 50 years to learn is how beautifully unique each of us is. We each have our stories, our skills, our failures, our foibles, our weaknesses, our strengths. If we are lucky enough, we have the opportunities and support we need to share these with the world–not as obligations but as gifts. I will never know how living my passion might influence a child or adult I happen to meet, and I want to share whatever of myself I can with the world. (To quote Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’ “)
To that end–and harkening back to a previous post or two–I’d like to suggest again that we are called to “look after each other.” Like the miners’ headlamps in one of Billy Elliot‘s closing scenes, each of us can be a light in the darkness by which others might find their way. Even when we are out of each others’ orbits, we might serve as stars looking down, providing a sense of continuity, inspiring others to be their best selves.
Our run of Billy Elliot: The Musical has come to an end. It has been such a gift to have shared this experience with my wife, Ellen, with the production staff, and with the 100+ volunteers who contributed to it. It’s an experience I will treasure always.
So, too, ends ten years’ employment with LCT as I return to pursuing a long-deferred dream of professional ministry. I started out at LCT just looking for a paycheck and was glad to wear whatever hats were needed, but I quickly came to appreciate LCT’s role in bringing stories to life in our community in ways that could change people’s lives for the better. I am proud to have contributed in whatever ways I have to that mission, and I can’t imagine life without community theatre.
LCT’s staff members and volunteers are top notch and can be rightly proud of their projects and productions. It has been a privilege to work with such dedicated, creative, and talented people. If season tickets or a donation are within your means, please give generously. If you can give of your time, I invite you to volunteer. You will be supporting such a worthwhile organization. For details, visit http://www.lacrossecommunitytheatre.org or contact the box office at 608-784-9292.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure as a Billy Elliot cast member. If you would like continuing updates on my intern minister experiences with a 1,200-member congregation in the coming year, please “follow” this blog.