At a small cafe in London, my peers and I debate whether to get some much-needed shut-eye after our seven-hour flight from Canada to the U.K. or stick to the itinerary. About half of us leave for the hotel.
Not me. An hour later, seated in the balcony of Her Majesty’s Theatre London, I sit with my eyes wide and mouth agape as The Phantom of the Opera’s iconic organ chords swell and the chandelier overhead flashes. I am entranced. At intermission, I shake my seatmate’s arm, desperate to share this moment with someone. They wake with a start—how could anyone sleep through this magic?
As soon as I get home, I purchase a taped version of the live production and wear out the DVD within months. That same year, I join my high school’s production of Cats: The Musical, coincidentally another Andrew Lloyd Webber show. At university, I become part of my school’s theatre company and take lead roles on and off stage with its Board of Directors.