One of the most memorable parts of my girlhood was informed by musicals. My mum introduced me to musical theatre from a young age. Watching musicals, both in the theatre and on video, gave me the opportunity to see women performing on stage in powerful and exciting roles, outside of the social boundaries which attempt to establish what woman can and can’t do.
My favorite musical growing up was Cats. In this musical is my childhood heroine, Grizabella the glamour cat, a role originated by Elaine Paige. Grizabella is a cat who used to have it all, but over time has fallen out of favor with society. This happens through no other reason than Grizabella getting older, not being as strong as she used to be, and being unable to maintain her glamorous status. The musical observes her attempts to be accepted back into the community and how, through song, her peers realise how badly they have treated her due to very superficial reasoning.
Grizabella’s story is one of dreams which have ended, but also promotes an understanding that our self-worth can be found within and in those we hold close. As a girl I remember looking up at that stage to see Grizabella sing “Memory” and thinking that I could strive to be anything I wanted to be in my life. I felt this both from the message of her story, and in seeing so many inspiring women play her in the role over the years.
Sadly, my singing voice is nowhere close to the incredible voices of those women in musical theatre, but it is still a huge passion of mine. Grizabella encouraged me to engage with performance and art as a girl which greatly informed the path I now find myself on, despite the grueling nature of this industry. She helped me to see that my self-worth resides in every part of me and with those I love and surround myself with, not just in how I am placed in society.
Girl Museum Inc.