As I haul my laundry basket down Philips Avenue, satin costumes spilling over its edges, handles digging into my hip from the weight of its contents, the crisp spring air invigorates me. The early morning sun begins to stretch beyond the shadows of buildings and casts a spotlight upon the glittering marquee above my second home, the Orpheum Theatre. The freshly printed posters confirm what I know in my heart. It is time, again, for the excitement and camaraderie of the Spring Review.
Juggling my belongings, I wedge my foot in the heavy door, wincing as the weight bears down on one of several freshly earned blisters. The scent of sweat, resin and antiquity washes over me as I make my way past the polished marble landing onto wine and gold colored arabesque carpeting. Dancers are scattered throughout the lobby. Railings and staircases have transformed into ballet barres and costume racks. Sore muscles are bound in athletic tape and layers of knitted fabric in an attempt to combat the unforgiving drafts passing through the corridors.
My pace hastens as I glance at my watch. My feet skitter down the steep incline of the house and up the steps past the chipped black paint on the backstage door. Out of habit, I run my hand across the cold, concrete wall, tapping my index finger on my signature; diminutive compared to the vast expanse of graffiti from past performances. Rows of backdrops welcome me like old friends. Slivers of light escape through gaps in the red velvet curtain that towers above the stage. Delicate particles of dust dance in those slivers like apparitions before vanishing into the shadows. I remember the haunting melody of The Nutcracker’s Suite and the sound of resin-coated pointe shoes shuffling across creaking floorboards. An encompassing sense of warmth, comfort and belonging emanates to my core. It is as if a century of ghosts are welcoming me back to the Orpheum Theatre, my second home, a golden thread in the tapestry of time.