First night

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"Ladies and gentlemen this is your five minute call. Five minutes until the top of act 1" the voice calls from the speaker on the wall.

Five minutes.

Five minutes until my dream comes true.

This is what I've wanted my whole life. It's what I've trained for, what I've lived for. To perform in front of a live audience on the most famous street in the theater world.

Four minutes.

I glance in the mirror. My makeup is complete and I double check the pins in my hair. Move my water bottle slightly closer to me, so that it's ready when I come in for my first costume change.

This is what I've wanted to do but right now, when the sounds of audience talking and the orchestra tuning leak through my walls, I want nothing more than to be home in my childhood bedroom acting out scenes in my pajamas.

Three minutes.

I stand and go into the bathroom to warm up. I run through the basic scales twice and then just sing a few bars from my opening song. My voice cracks.

Damn it, I think. I sing some more. My voice steadies.

Ladies and gentlemen this is your places call. Places please.

I head into the wings. Cast members give me reassuring smiles and some whisper "break a leg." The curtain rises and the audience cheers. I wait patiently for my cue.

My hands tremble.

I close my eyes and try to calm myself. My cue hits. I take a deep breath.

And I step onstage.

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