It was only a matter of time before I sat down to write this post. I know that in merely three days I’ll be jetting off to follow a band to the other side of the country and back again, and I know that the show has closed on Broadway twice now. But even so, Spring Awakening continues to be “my favorite thing in this world, in this universe, in this lifetime” (a direct quote from me when I made my roommates watch a Spring Awakening bootleg with me on my Springaversary). I’ve been involved in many fandoms over the course of my 27 years, and each of them have been special. But nothing will ever touch this one. Ever. There will never be another Spring Awakening.
When I was 16 years old, I went to the dollar movie theatre with my mom and sister. We were sitting waiting for the movie to start and music was playing over the sound system. I heard a song with flowery lyrics, rich harmonies, and stunning imagery. I had no idea what it was. I made sure to remember some of the lyrics so that I could look it up later when I got home. “The earth will wave with corn…” "the clouds begin to thunder, crickets wander murmuring..." “All shall know the wonder of purple summer.” I don’t even remember what movie we saw, but I remember hearing that song like it was yesterday. It made my whole body vibrate. I went home and looked up the lyrics and it brought me to the official website for a show that was about to open on Broadway. And so it began.
It was only a matter of time before I had watched every video possible, bought the OBCR, scoured the internet for content, and doodled every lyric into my school notebooks. In no time at all, I had found The Guilty Ones, a fan forum for the show. For a while I just looked and read, thinking that I wasn’t the kind of person that posted in forums. Well...I was very, VERY wrong about that. I was definitely the kind of person that posted in forums. I would run home every day from school, hop online, pull up TGO, and do my homework while refreshing the homepage and posting to my heart’s content. I talked to my friends from the boards in AIM chats every night. We planned meet ups. We traded. We flailed. We analyzed. We argued. We laughed.
In June, I finally got to see the show live with my friend Sarah, who I had pulled right along with me into the dizzying world of Musical Theatre fandom. That night still ranks as one of the best of my life. I cried like a baby and nearly buzzed out of my skin with happiness. I got pictures with the cast. I knew I would never be the same.
After that humid June evening in New York City, Spring Awakening wasn’t just a thing I loved or even something I liked talking about to my internet friends. It became my support system. It was something I could always turn to; my safe space. Whether that meant seeing the show and feeling like I was back home, or visiting my friends I had made through TGO, or writing fanfiction, or going backstage with Pops, or following the first national tour, or talking on AIM until the sun came up, or eventually directing the show myself (which is still one of my very proudest moments). I’ve seen the show countless times and I’ve been in it a few times as well. But sometimes it’s amazing to me that, although I love the show and can still probably recite the entire script if you really needed me to, it eventually wasn’t even about the musical itself. My “internet friends” just became...my friends. The bold, silly, talkative, girl I was on the forums just became who I am. I didn’t need to be anything but that. When the original production closed on Broadway, my friend called me from the audience and let me listen to the show on my home phone. I cried my eyes out with Sarah in my living room, then called my TGO friends to make sure they were doing okay, then went to bed wondering if life would ever be the same again.
And of course, life is never the same. Every single day, the world is completely different. Spring ends, and summer follows. I joined TGO in 2007, and it’s now 2017. So of course, everything is different. But, those are still my truest and most loyal friends. They are still the ones I confide in because when I was 16, they were the ones who listened. They are the ones that let me be completely myself. They are still the ones I go visit when I’m in New York, and we laugh as hard as we did when we were all behind our computer screens up way too late on a school night. And listen, if there was a way I could follow Spring Awakening around the country right here right now in 2017, I absolutely would. We found something really special in that little rock musical about teenagers growing up in provincial Germany, and I don’t think it can ever be recreated. But I don’t think it needs to be.
"We did have some remarkable times."
Peace, Love, and Chrysanthemums,