Happiness, intellect, societal contribution, a sense of purpose, a wonderful way to make friends, an easy way to establish connections, and an even easier way to meet women. (Doing theatre won’t turn you gay, but you may have several women pining for you if you can sing and dance and aren’t a terrible human). And even if you are, the odds are still very good.
I’m sure your roommate has come out of the shower saying “What? Singing show tunes is good for you. Helps you live longer,” at one point. And she’s right. There are an infinite amount of reasons to do theatre.
1. Theatre people are some of the best people you will ever meet.
(Pretty bold claim, I know). Creative, fun, talented individuals who should be invited to your wedding if you’re interested in having fully choreographed Lady Gaga numbers at your reception. Professional party starters/passionate empathy givers. Years later, they’ll still remember your name and eagerly rush to give you a hug. When your favorite retired costume designer sends you candy crush requests, you almost consider playing because, that’s adorable. This bond doesn’t allow for the “Oh, hey! Didn’t see you there! Sorry, my peripheral vision is TERRIBLE” excuse when you accidentally run into them at Target.
2. Who says dressing up is only for Halloween?
You can experiment with hair, makeup, and costumes and try on looks you wouldn’t normally wear in public. You can wear blue glittery eye shadow and no one will think you’re a drag queen when you tell them it’s “for a show.” You can wear a tiny, blonde moustache and no one will think you’re a pedophile when you tell them it’s “for a show.” You can tease your hair until it starts crying. You can shave your head bald and people will simply admire you for your COMMITMENT to the production. You’re Lieutenant General Sir Oliver Freaking Warbucks, COME ON.
3. You understand history.
Yeah, you studied a few wars in high school. Doing a show in that era allows you to better understand the behavior, speech, and social norms of the time. Who knows about the Salem Witch Trial proceedings? YOU. Who knows all 12 of Jacob’s sons? YOU. And of course, Joseph, JACOB’S FAVORITE SON. Who knows a ton about Alexander Hamilton because of Lin-Manuel Miranda? YOU. (Thanks Lin-Manuel Miranda!)
4. Not going to the gym.
Working out in the traditional sense is so monotonous. Get involved in a show with a few spontaneous dance numbers and there you go, free dance lessons and a workout regime. Who wants to pump an elliptical while trying to read tiny closed captioning about “moms on a budget” when you could be doing an intricate, cardio intensive dance, dressed as a PIRATE. And you cannot stop. Because the show doesn’t. People depend on you. The audience is watching. The accountability is intense and absolutely worth every sweaty mic pack and rancid character shoe.
5. Better stories for parties and/or LIFE.
“Remember when we ____ in ____?” Remember when we puked radium? Remember when we went down a slide after having our throats “cut”? Remember when you played a prepubescent boy and flew around on WIRES?! Remember when you thought you were in love with your scene partner but then realized he was just wooing you with love songs because he signed a contract? Remember when we faked our way into the splits and even though we were, like, 2 feet off the ground it still nearly killed us? Remember when we played an ethnicity that wasn’t our own, and just barely made it work?
6. The RUSH, man!
Not drug induced, but pretty close. After you finish a show, you can do ANYTHING. If you met James Marsden, you could convince him to leave his wife if you really wanted to. You’re full of adrenaline, positive energy, and hugs without boundaries. Everyone you greet at the stage door or “designated hug hallway” is overwhelmed by this larger than life version of you. Still “you,” of course, but “you” after 4 shots of espresso “you.”
You might be exhausted beyond repair, but that won’t stop you from staying up late to watch a few hours of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt after a hit of stage lights and Ben Nye the make-up guy.
7. Most importantly, doing something fulfilling with your life.
You have the opportunity to tell a story. Stories that can inspire change and contribute to new ways of thinking. You have the opportunity to take someone on a cathartic journey. And when someone catches you and says, “Seeing this show helped me cope with my father’s passing. Thank you.” Or “I don’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. Thank you,” your heart is so full. (You could say “a heart full of love.” GET IT?!)
The arts could not be more relevant or instrumental in this chaotic world. Theatre is a vital nutrient, necessary to sustain a life of compassion and understanding. We need artists, we need supporters of the arts, and we need headshots that weren’t taken in front of a peeling garage door by your mom.