My B'way Story: Philip Walsh

MARCH 1, 2017

If you've ever been to Broadway, you have a story to tell. We spent last year collecting your stories about the life-changing power of Broadway. We've previously shared with you the winner of our My B'way Story essay contest, but we loved reading so many of the other entries that we decided to share those with you as well. Today, you can read Philip Walsh's story and learn how one Broadway show changed his life. 

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It was November 1993, and I was on a trip to New York.  My wife, her 8 year old son (now my son), received tickets to Guys and Dolls. I was less than one year removed from military service, and I love sports.  Sure, I liked stage performances and was excited to see Guys and Dolls.  Little did I know how much my life would change after seeing a Broadway show. The show fused a love of Broadway into our son so much that he couldn't wait to be 12 to audition for the church group theater.  He performed in Jesus Christ Superstar in the ensemble.

It was only the beginning: in high school he was in two shows each year. By then we now had three boys.  We would bring the two younger boys to the shows.  They loved them, so much so they begged us to order the VHS tape of the performance and watch them non-stop. I became involved in their youth theater group on stage crew, building and breaking down sets for Guys and Dolls, Annie, and Grease, to name a few. It is here we met awesome young people and their families who we are still friends with today.

My oldest is now 30 performing in community theaters in New Jersey and Delaware. Our middle son had the leads in high school in Children of Eden, Les Miserables, and others. As a college student, he returns to the high school to direct their spring play each year. In his senior year of college he wrote a play winning the award for best play, first ever by an undergrad, and had a play reading in October. Our youngest had to leave his grade school for being bullied because of his love of theater.  The school counselor advised him to watch a baseball game to have something to talk about with the other boys at school. We pulled him from the school and enrolled him in a cyber school that also included a performing arts school two days a week.  He is now a performance major in the Wagner College Theater program and just finished Anything Goes.  We got to see 6 of 10 shows.

When my wife and I reflect back, we laugh at how seeing Guys and Dolls not only changed our lives but has formed our children.  Our oldest son's love of theater rubbed off on his brothers and parents. I couldn't be prouder of my children than I am every time they perform on or behind stage. I reflect back to all the hours spent at practices, set building, rides to and from, hosting cast parties, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Sure, I attend an occasional sporting event, but now it is the Broadway shows that I look forward to most.

On our last trip to NYC to see Cats, a water main break canceled the show. It was the night before our youngest son's first day of college.  We were devastated, but the middle son found us mezzanine seats for Hamilton. Could this be happening?  How would we get the tickets? We were on pin and needles. The waiter at the restaurant offered to print our tickets and we got to see Hamilton. Truly more exciting than any sporting event.

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Keep an eye out for other great Broadway stories that we’ll share in the coming weeks, and make your own Broadway story by booking tickets to a show today. A Broadway story is something to be shared, and we’re here to help you book a group of tickets for your family and friends. Click here to see the many thrilling productions that are playing today. 

TAGS: BROADWAY, MY BROADWAY STORY