A. Penderwick

United States


You can call me Meli :)

(inefficient) baker
...plus a lot of other things too

You matter, you are deserving, and you are enough.

Message to Readers

Um... I don't really know what this is. It's like the title says, word vomit, honestly. I didn't edit this much, so the flow will be really strange, because I was just throwing down thoughts as they appeared. I think I would define this as creative fiction? It's not a genre I'm super well versed in, so, as always, I'll accept feedback gladly.

I've wanted to write about this a while, but never really did. I was biking home from rehearsal today and thinking this, and I guess I just needed to put it into words for someone to hear, even if that someone lives on the internet.

Word Vomit- I Want to be on Broadway

September 14, 2021


    I want to be on Broadway.

     When I hear these words, I think of my fifth grade self saying that because I liked theater, but only knew of Broadway being a theater career. I hear these words, and I push them out of my mind; replace them with "I want to be a teacher", or "a therapist", or something. I hear these words, and it feels like a desire that is purely ridiculous.
    Despite all that, these are the words echoing in my soul. These are the words I find myself whispering in the middle of the night, having the same epiphany each time. These are the words that I tell myself aren't true, but are anyways.
    It seems strange to be so afraid of these words, a casual comment about one's future career. But it holds so much more weight then that. It feels almost like a deceleration- "I will be on Broadway". It feels brash, and rude, and overconfident to declare even a simple desire. Or to me, at least.
    Because getting to Broadway is hard, near impossible, maybe. The number of roles out there are slim, and the number of roles that fit you specifically, are even slimmer. To get there it's a grueling process of constant auditions and workshops, rejections and disappointments. And my brain tells me that it's ridiculous to try. When I'm starting to remember just how much I love this, I remind myself of how difficult it would be to pursue it, and that it's probably not worth it.
    I don't know where these thoughts come from, or why, but they are there, despite everything I do to get rid of them. Maybe it's a lack of confidence. I think I present myself in a very confident manner, but I'm constantly doubting myself. Maybe it's the little comments I get from friends and family that think theater can be a little stupid. Maybe it's the fact that I'm always comparing myself to others, even though I don't want to be.
    On a podcast once, I heard someone mention a quote, by Brent Wagner, I think. It's saved in my phone, in the notes app. "You can't move forward if you're looking side to side". I love that quote; I want to live by that quote, but in all honesty, it's hard.
    But maybe, maybe I let myself believe that I could make it to Broadway. Then I start thinking about the dedication and commitment it takes, the physical and emotional strain. I listen to podcasts and interviews and they talk about how they maintain their vocal health, or go to the gym every week, and I think, I can't do that. I don't work out, and the idea of having to go to a vocal doctor scares me. And again, it's another layer of doubt being added to the wall that's slowing me down.
    I'll often say, "No, I don't want to be on Broadway, but I would like to do something tied to theater". I deflect how deeply I love this with a few simple words. Or I'll say, "The main reason I would want to be on Broadway is because of the people". And yes, I would like to do something tied to theater, and I'd love to surround myself with theater people, but also? I want to perform. I want to be onstage, I want to be on Broadway.

    You always hear, "follow your dreams", "shoot for the stars", "chase what makes you happy". I always thought that would be something that would be easy for me to do. I always felt like I was the kind of person who would do whatever I wanted, even if it wasn't practical. Yet here I am, scared of admitting that I want to be a professional actor. Since 6th grade, Id on't think I have actually uttered those words aloud, except once, a few months ago, at a sleepover with some friends under the cover of darkness. I can only admit that I want to pursue musical theater to a crowd of people I don't know on a writing website "in the middle of nowhere". I can barely admit it to myself, even with the absolute, tangible yearning I feel when it comes to musical theater.
    Ever time I go to see a show, I start to picture myself onstage. It happens more strongly with child actors, but I never leave a theater without thinking, that could be my future, that could be me. Whenever I'm listening to interviews with Broadway actors, I immediately pick out whatever I can relate with. It may be the smallest thing, but I think, I'm like that, maybe this is for me. An actor mentions being in choir, and my heart soars, because  me too, me too! They reference having played a certain character that I also have, and my eyes go wide. They mention liking pickles, or have a brother, or disliking social studies, and I start to draw connections. Because I freaking want to be on Broadway.

    I was once talking to a fellow theater person, asking him if he wanted to pursue this as a career. He said yes, and explained why. "I remember a few months ago when I was doing three shows at once," I recall him saying. "it was chaotic, and I had no free time, and it was the happiest I've ever been". And I love this, because that perfectly sums it up. When it comes to some things, I have zero attention span, but I've spent 12 hour days at the theater, and I leave feeling like I could go for 12 more.
    So when I think about the 8 show week, 3 hour show with an earlier call plus transportation time and start to doubt myself, I also remember that being in the theater is what gives me energy. And being around those people gives me energy. In a letter I recently received from my 8th grade self, I said something along the lines of, "I freaking love theater, and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. Thus far, past me has been right.
    I always use this excuse- "I'm only in 9th grade, I still have time, things might change". I think I'm wrong. I think that I will continue to do theater, and love it with every fiber of my being, and major in musical theater in college and then hopefully go on to become a professional actor. Honestly, I hope that's the way my life goes. I hope I have the courage to make my life happen that way.


See History
  • September 14, 2021 - 10:37pm (Now Viewing)

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  • thebookishfey

    re: haha, thanks! I also like Hamilton and In the Heights (pumped to watch the movie!), and other favourites include the Phantom of the Opera and Newsies. I'm excited to watch the film of Come from Away, and I'll have to listen to Hadestown (I've heard a lot about it but never listened)! Of course I also love musical movies like the Sound of Music and disney musicals

    2 days ago
  • Writing4Life

    Re: Haha no problem <3 I mean it, I reckon you'll do great <3 Yeah it is kinda frustrating, but I'm hoping our performance will be in person. All good! Best of luck in the industry, but I'm sure you won't need it!

    3 days ago
  • Writing4Life

    Re: No problem! That's not cheesy at all, that's relatable! Hey, I do the same!
    I get it. It's messed up that we feel silly for wanting something so bad, especially as there's nothing wrong with wanting to be on Broadway! Don't feel silly; I mean, look at all these people who commented! Do you think WE think you're silly? Of course not! We're already saving up for tickets!
    And I mean, I totally get that feeling. Unfortunately, I haven't had it in a while, as online drama kinda sucks, but I still get to act once a week, so it's better than nothing.
    No problem! SCORE! *fist pump*

    3 days ago
  • barelybear

    Re: ah yes Meliiii I’m so excited for your Broadway debut already!!
    Yeah hopefully I’ll make it easy for you, and I’ll either be writing movies or books or comedy sketches :D
    Yes I really think drama gcse was one of the best things I have done. I liked how I could let loose, and it challenged me in different ways than memorising codes or equations c:

    Welcome to the lands where the waters tried to drown us and we said:


    4 days ago
  • bookworm5

    I relate to this! I don't want to be on Broadway but I definitely want to be in movies! Acting is where I'm the most happy, but it is a crazy career that might not ever really work. That's the thing about artists, we never think of success the same way as other people. We just have to do it or we would never be happy!

    4 days ago
  • Writing4Life

    Don't think I've ever related to something so hard in my life........Seriously, like I so get what you're saying here. It's been my dream for most of my life to be an actor and singer, and in the past year+ I've been going through my Hamilton phase, and gosh does it make me want to go on Broadway! Like it's acting, and singing, and dancing and it combines all my favourite things! And I feel stupid for imagining myself in plays, or thinking I could ever be a professional actor and singer, but I want it so so so so bad! Sometimes I can barely breathe when I think about how much I want to do that.
    But hey, like, plz tell me when you're on Broadway; I want tickets..

    4 days ago
  • Watermelon6

    Re: Ah, thank you! I hadn't thought about that; I'll have to try it :)

    6 days ago
  • thebookishfey

    re: glad to hear it :) what's your favourite broadway show (possibly plural) ?

    6 days ago
  • Watermelon6

    Hello! I released a new chapter of Under Our Stars, if you’re interested.

    7 days ago
  • barelybear

    Omg i relate so much to this! I don’t think I’m ever good enough to be in a musical or on stage in a proper play, but I still have such a desperate longing for it. Every time I’m onstage I’m happy and free and just full of life
    I really hope you get to be on Broadway :D
    Re: ah yes it was scary, but I’m so happy I did it!
    Omg you have to do more pieces in that voice!! It’s amazinggggg. And if you love writing it as much as I love reading it, it’s gotta be a win-win :D
    Ooh yes I’ll have to give it a go!!

    Hahhh I can completely imagine a zoom welcome to the rock! Alas, none of my (really close) friends are particularly enlightened of the wonder that is musical theatre. Drama gcse has given me some really cool friends though, so maybe one day I will be able to organise such things
    It would be amazing to do a number with a few friends!
    Haha we could do a typing version
    An islander
    I am an islander

    :P but you can’t get away with smiling and mouthing along the lyrics when you forget some if it’s all in the words hehe
    You too, have an awesome day!

    7 days ago
  • thebookishfey

    this is amazing, I can totally relate. I'm a theatre kid, and every time I go to a show I picture myself in it. I act in front of the mirror, write musicals in my head... but it is a rough road to Broadway, and I completely understand the doubts behind it too. the feeling you describe of knowing the theatre is what gives you energy, your happy place; me too.

    7 days ago
  • _Delphiruns2theocean_

    Wow. This is awesome. I feel like, for me, I just don't really know, there's what everyone says, parents, society, teammates, coaches, friends....

    7 days ago
  • HighEntropy

    Re: aww <3

    8 days ago
  • alexia riverson

    love this so much <3

    8 days ago
  • HighEntropy

    you do you <3 enthralling piece!

    8 days ago
  • *wildflower*

    You couldn’t have said this better! I know this feeling all too well. But now I’m in a spot where I’ve lost focus of what I really want to do. And that scares me so much!

    9 days ago