We all have our comfort zone. Those are the things in life we know we can do without making a fool of ourselves. As a result of the “foolish factor,” we rarely try new things and step out of our comfort zone. But sometimes shouldn’t we should take a chance? How else can we hope to grow? You never know, you just might surprise yourself.
Recently, I got roped in to doing a play. Even worse, I found out last minute at rehearsal it was a musical. I cannot sing or dance and when they insisted I try out for the lead role, the pros running the show quickly agreed. I was hoping they would tell me to just leave but instead they gave me the part of a wise-cracking construction worker (for some odd reason, my family felt it was a perfect fit for me). We rehearsed for hours on end and several days in a row just to pull off a production that would be presentable to the general public. Fortunately, we had help—really good help.
This was a small hometown production and because we are very close to Disneyland, some of the key Disney talent directors live in our little city. The musical director for Disneyland lives in our city and was able to get the art director of resort entertainment from Disney Resorts to come help us. These people were pros and knew what to do to make our talent challenge group look pretty decent. We had more than 30 hours of rehearsals for a fast-paced show.
NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS
I watched in amazement as Marilyn, our director, knew the words of every song, every line to be spoken, the place for each actor to be at all times (blocking), and knew all our names by the second day, with a cast of more than 100. I was very impressed. I was continually amazed how she never ever lost her cool as we would routinely mess up the song, screw up the steps or miss the spike (showbiz lingo).
Marilyn was also ever reassuring that “We will get it by show day, I promise you guys are right on track.” I often wondered if she really meant it. If you think she knew the words to all songs because the songs are old stand-by show tunes, they were not. Our resident professional Disneyland composer wrote special songs just for our show. I had to Google him to find out more.
I discovered he wrote over 400 songs and some of them famous Disney tunes. I often thought the only thing missing during the songs was the words “Zippidy Do Dah.” I further found out that he and our director produced shows for several Super Bowl halftimes and the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
During one rehearsal, Marilyn said, “Ladies raise your hands when you kick, it makes the kick look higher” and then whispered “Juliet Prowse taught me that trick.” [Editor’s note: Prowse was a South African dancer, whose four-decade career included stage, television and film.]
OTHER PROFESSIONALS AT WORK
I began to think this must be like people who know nothing about construction and then see a big new building finished and think “that’s nice” and never really know all the planning, work, timing, experience and knowledge that’s required to pull it off. I have taken friends who know nothing about construction to a large site under construction and they are blown away.
I think it is good to get out of our personal comfort zones to explore new horizons—even if for just a glimpse to the other side of life. I was initially reluctant to join this play and almost bolted from rehearsal when I found out it was a musical. But I made a commitment and would honor it, even if I made a fool of myself. My family was quite shocked I went through with it, and I do not regret one moment of the experience: the learning, the meeting new people, the appreciation for what others do and most of all it was fun.
So, my advice is every once in a while try going outside your comfort zone. Who cares what people think. You just might have a blast.