Today is my best friend Greta’s birthday. She’s turning 22, and she’ll be graduating from the University of Delaware in the next few months before she inevitably gets a job as a music teacher, a job she was absolutely meant for.
The story of how Greta and I met is one of the most ironic- but it is one hundred percent one of my favorites, and it’s honestly all due to the power of theatre. We technically “met” around the start of my junior year of high school, during summer marching band rehearsals. She was a freshman at the time, but I knew her name because she was the Young Cosette I never got to be. You see, in 2007 my high school, Gateway, was doing a production of Les Mis and was auditioning elementary school girls to play the parts of Young Cosette and Eponine. Being as Les Mis was and has always been my favorite musical, I was ecstatic. No one could have bested me at this opportunity.
And so I auditioned. I was too tall.
She auditioned. She got the part.
I watched in envy, seething in jealousy the entire time as I watched the production a few months later. I wanted that part and to be in that show so desperately, and it broke my sixth grade heart not being able to take part in it. I distinctly remember looking at my program and seeing the two names of the girls playing the parts (side note: the role alternated each performance night between the two, but I had seen both due to an elementary school trip and going along with my mom and brother an additional night).
And so when I saw Greta’s name on the marching band sign up list about four and a half years after the fact, that jealousy crept back. I had my guard up, ready to whip out my deep knowledge of Les Mis in case I ever needed it (ultra-dramatic, I know).
But instead, I found myself laughing, making the most obscure musical theatre jokes I had ever made. And Greta was the only person who ever got them. I’ll never forget that summer, how we basically separated ourselves from the rest of the group with our inside jokes and our ventures over to her house after rehearsals and competitions to watch as many movie musicals as we possibly could.
From there, it was history. She was there to cheer me on when I got the lead in Seussical, and I was there beaming with pride when she played the title role in Mary Poppins her senior year. We’ve gone to so many shows I can’t even count. Greta and I complement each other well. Meeting her was like meeting the musical theatre encyclopedia that I needed to cover those early years all the way from Showboat to classic Rodgers & Hammerstein, whereas I am much more in the contemporary realm of Spring Awakening and Hamilton, the latter of which I took her to see a few years ago (sitting behind Barack Obama, mind you- yeah, I’m pretty much the GOAT of theatre friends 😉 ).
I’m grateful to have a friend like Greta, one that I know will be in my life forever, and who will always be my right-hand when either of us want to go see a show. Our story is one of those stunning examples of something that seems horrible at the beginning, but which turns into something really amazing and beautiful in the long run. I’m grateful for finding my person when I did, and for a friendship whose story is one that makes me a firm believer in ordinary miracles.