I was giddy all week in anticipation of Thursday night. One of the great things about living in a city like Louisville is that I have had the joy of seeing some of my favorite musicals live. Thursday was one of those nights when I was able to see a performance I have wanted to see since being a little girl twirling around the living room. (I made sure to apologize to my team at work in advance on Thursday morning if they caught me humming particular Disney songs to myself throughout the day.)
I went with a group of six ladies to see "Beauty and the Beast" at the Derby Dinner Playhouse. This is a local theater that hosts various shows, and you are given a full dinner when attending a performance. We were at our very own table located right by the stage. I was sold on the place as soon as we walked through the doors. The stage is in the center of the room, and all of the tables are surrounding it. Because "Beauty and the Beast" was the performance for the evening, the stage actually looked like a stack of gigantic books. There was never a scene we couldn't see because they literally used the entire room for the performance. The waiters and waitresses are also part of the cast, so when you first sit down there is a lingering curiousity as to which character your table's waiter is going to play. We had a wonderful time, and the playhouse seemed to disappear as we were pulled into this magical story.
One of the marks of my childhood was watching my favorite Disney movies over and over, dreaming of the day when my own Prince Charming would swoop in, or wondering if I would ever visit an enchanted castle and wander through the mysterious rooms. My imagination always ran wild with such thoughts, so I was always either reading and dreaming or watching these musicals and dreaming. This is one of the reasons I seemed to always resonate most with "Belle." Out of all the Disney personalities I adored growing up, she was the one I was always drawn to most. I used to imagine what it would have been like to live in a different era, and thought that I would be similar to her in her little country town. All of the townspeople knew her, they all liked and respected her, but she always felt a little out of place. While all of the other young people were congregating at local gatherings, she preferred to have her nose in a book. Although she was present in body, her mind was often wandering off to magical places. This was me as a little girl. You would rarely find me outdoors during my early years, or at parties during my adolescence. Aside from my closeknit circle of friends (girls I still hold dear to this day), I was usually holed up in my own little world of imagination as I poured over the pages of a book. I always felt a little different, like there was something that made me stand out but that I could never quite place my finger on. And this is one of the reasons that it would take a man like none other to come in and unexpectedly swoop me off my feet...
I think we each have a character from our childhood with whom we connect, hence the reason we always loved him or her. I adored "Belle" above and beyond any enjoyment I had in watching (and singing along with) "Ariel" or "Jasmine" or "Aurora." And more than anything, as an adult looking back at my innocent youth, I cannot help but see how such tales of mystery and adventure can draw us to the Author of our own unique stories.