As cheesy as it sounds, when you are in the process of putting together a show, you develop a relationship among your cast mates that could be compared to that of a family. Upon your first cast meeting you know you can never completely be certain of exactly what it is you are walking into. Some of your new cast mates you know from other shows you’ve worked on and some you’ve seen on stage but have never worked with before.

For this show in particular, we spend almost 35 hours a week together. Our directors take on the parental role, looking out for our best interests, while constantly keeping us in check. We experience a wide range of emotions in each other’s company and in the end we all strive for the same goal: a successful, well received show.

As is the case with any show, new friendships form, and new levels are reached individually as each one of us shows some of our most vulnerable sides when up on that stage. We sing together, we act together, we dance together, and we grow together; stretching ourselves in ways some of us never thought imaginable. We commend our peers’ excellent performances and offer a quick high five for remembered lyrics or a perfectly nailed solo; we provide a quick hug or brief words of encouragement when a dance step is missed, or a note came out a little sour.

So for now, the cast of American Reflections: Broadway in Concert anxiously, and nervously, awaits the opening of a show we have worked so hard to put together. We know the drill: the butterflies on opening night as well as the bittersweet feeling of our last curtain call. We will pour our hearts out on that stage, hoping that our audience will take from it not only the performance, but our drive, determination, hard work and the overall passion that each one of us shares: our love for performing.

When all is said and done, it would be hard to put into words what it is exactly that goes into a show. As performers, we hope the finished product is satisfying and well received by the audience. However, when a show is done, a show is done. When the run is complete, those hours of rehearsal are over; those quick changes, vocal warm-ups, and make-up applications as well. When the curtain falls on the final performance, it marks the end of not just a show, but what have been our lives for the last six to eight weeks. When it is over, it is over. We’ll have the pictures to look back on, and if we’re lucky, the video to watch, but the show itself is now a thing of the past. Our weeks of blood, sweat, and tears are finalized in eight performances.

Now, for the first time, Santa Monica College has broken the cycle. For the first time, when the curtain falls on our final performance October 5th, this end will only be the beginning. For the first time in my performing career, I will walk away from the main stage and know that. The best is yet to come as an exciting opportunity waits on a completely different continent, on a completely different stage, with a completely different audience. When that curtain falls on our performance at Shandong College, it will not only mark the end of our show, but the end of journey that I will not soon forget.