As I mentioned before, I was a viewer of the TV show SMASH. It stopped being any good a few episodes in, but I had to keep watching so I could enjoy the hilarious recaps written by Rachel Shukert for Vulture. They were genius.
One of the recaps, from late in season two, had the most amazing paragraph in it, talking about what makes theatre great. At that point I was already planning my story about the stage manager of a troubled production in a struggling community theatre, and this quote absolutely nailed one of things I was trying to say. That all of the hard work and frustration, and sometimes pain and tears, are worth it in the end, because the collective is greater than the one. Because you end up belonging to something larger than yourself. Everyone, including the crew, is in it together, and it’s better than anything you could ever do on your own.
When “A Real Part of the Show” was almost done, I wasn’t sure I’d really pulled that idea off. A few early readers said, why doesn’t this woman just walk away when things get so hard? She doesn’t actually owe these people anything. I made a few edits to try to shore up the point, but I also decided to put that quote I loved on the first page, hoping Rachel’s words could help make it clearer.