Why does it take catastrophe to start a revolution if we’re so free? We can never go back to before. We must seize the day. A new world is just beyond the corner. Can you feel the brand new day? Everyone (no matter their race, their gender, or their economic background) deserves a chance to fly. If this time of pandemic has taught me anything, it’s that maybe our normal was not okay. Maybe, something next to normal would be okay. I’m not asking for paradise, y’all. All I’m asking for is change.
If your first hyperfixation was not musical theatre, you might not know that the entire preceding paragraph is paraphrased from different songs from musicals. Luckily for me, musical theatre has prepared me for a future without capitalism. A new world where gratitude, naming our desires, and relying on each other is what keeps us going. That we have to raise our voices, we’ve got to celebrate being alive, that we have magic to do. We are in the cocoon stage of life, the old is dying, a new something is being born, but what is it? How can we make sure people hear us when we state our demands? How can we make sure everyone is cared for?
I wish I had the answers. Everything would be so easy if we just knew how to break down a centuries old system that doesn’t want to be ended. But if anytime is the time to think about it, it’s now.
These songs have been helping me to think about what a life after all of this looks like. When people say “when we go back to normal” I bristle so much, because back to normal means people working 80 hours a week to afford rent, it means going back forcing children to pay for lunch, and taking away free wifi hotspots from communities who need them. I don’t want to go back to normal. I want something new. I want a future full of dancing, and love, and questions, and community. I want the future musical theatre promises me!
Is that cheesy? Yes. I am full of cheese. But it’s also wholly earnest, and as former Autostraddle writer Mey Rude often reminds me, this is the time to be earnest. In order to make a new world, we have to name what we desire. We cannot be afraid that we are asking for too much, or being too corny. If I want love and dancing in my future, I’m naming that.
It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap.
Musical Theatre for the End of Capitalism