Connection in an Isolating Age

My dad asked me recently about how my researching for volunteer opportunities at local theatres was going. I told him that I was (and am) still looking around and writing up forms.

He also asked to read my blog. I told him I’d print it out.

I have to say, this request shocked and flattered me. I mean, it’s hard for him to read anything that isn’t a yoga manual. So asking to read my blog? That’s a big deal. I’m especially happy he did, considering that he, musicals and I have a history.

He was the first to show me Jesus Christ Superstarand he was the one who helped me buy Phantom of the Opera and West Side Story years later.

He also introduced me to RENT.

I was older by then, just discovering musical theatre. It was happenstance that he was watching it one day. He was right at the end, and I couldn’t help but watch it too. After my family went to bed, I re-watched it from the beginning.

The musical, about a group of friends living in New York City, just trying to get by, with the central message "No Day But Today," floored me.

It changed my life.

 I may be a fan!

I may be a fan!

I fell in love and Dad was thrilled. We began to talk about it. Over the next weeks, we accumulated at least a dozen hours strictly talking about the show.

This was an amazing feat, since maintaining conversation and a connection was hard for us at the time.

It was neither of our faults. I was just growing up and growing apart. I wasn’t loud or social to begin with, which didn’t help him or anyone else get close to me. Thus, our relationship suffered.

RENT helped us. We could talk about how much we loved Angel’s selflessness, or how raw and devastating the ‘Will I?’ sequence was, or about which song truly represented the life the characters lived. The life we all live. These conversations gave us a way to communicate properly.

This connection stayed with us throughout the years, despite the hard times. Having those conversations behind us, when we talked about life and death and love, everything that RENT was about, was a buoy we could hold onto.

Now, we talk every day. The years of awkward conversations and days of disconnect are over.

Thank you, Jonathan Larson.


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ASHLEY O'NEIL

Student. Writer. Likes to rave, rant and cry about television shows. Sings popular show-tunes loudly and happily. Has a huge family and a huge book collection. Is trying to find her way in the writing world, and in the world in general.

Can be found on LinkedIn and Facebook. Follows this blog.