A Warm Welcome Back to Live Performances

By: Taylor Smith

Students seeing Waitress on Broadway
November 04, 2021

Theatre’s are opening back up and live performances are coming back! This is especially exciting for students in the International Arts and Culture cohort, especially those who have already recently attended professional performances in D.C. and NYC! One of those performances being the Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Concert which included a surprise appearance from the First Lady, Jill Biden! Students Madison Damanski and Taylor Smith attended the show and had the opportunity to meet Emily Bear afterwards. 

Students attending Kennedy Center

“The 50th anniversary concert was absolutely incredible and felt like such a warm welcome back into the theatre after it’s closure in March of 2019. This was the first professional show I’ve seen since the pandemic started so I couldn’t help but feel emotional as I stepped into the Kennedy Center. My favorite performance was by Kelli O'hara and her rendition of Take Me To The World by Stephen Sondheim. The lineup of performers included Darren Chris, Abigail Barlow, Emily Bear, Renee Fleming, and Joshua Henry just to name a few. I couldn’t be more grateful to have experienced such a magical night and to have been in the same room as Jill Biden for the entire show.” - Taylor Smith 

“While sitting in that incredible room waiting to see the amazing performances, it didn’t feel like over a year had gone by since the last live performance I saw. The energy in that room was like no other and the Kennedy Center requiring proof of vaccination for entry made me feel safe while enjoying the celebration. Being able to see so many artists that I look up to in one performance was such an amazing opportunity that I would not have been able to experience anywhere else. And being able to meet Emily Bear was just the addition to make that night so special. ” - Madison Domanski

Taylor Smith also attended the hit Broadway musical Waitress with her roommate Katelyn Kovach during a day trip to New York City. The Tony nominated show became the first to reopen on Broadway on September 2nd after the 18 month long shut down due to COVID-19. To make it even more special, the writer of the show Sara Barielles is currently starring in it as well. 


“Being back inside of a Broadway theatre for the first time for a few years, and since the shut down due to COVID was absolutely exhilarating. The energy inside the theatre was buzzing and it all smelled like pie! Getting the opportunity to go up to NYC for the day to see such a special show with such an incredible cast was so wonderful. When the company sang “Opening Up,” you could just tell what a celebration it was for the cast, the crew, and the audience to all be seeing live theatre again. There is something truly magical about how the theatre brings us together, and after such a long year and a half, I was so grateful to have gotten the chance to experience such a triumphant “return to the diner.” - Katelyn Kovach


“This was my third time seeing Waitress and I truly believe the show gets better everytime I see it. I am a massive fan of Sara Bareilles but this was my first time seeing her perform live and it was such a special moment for me. To see her perform the beautiful music she wrote for Waitress felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity and I definitely shed some tears during the show. I would have to say my favorite moment was when the actor playing the character “Ogie” accidentally split his pants on stage and everyone broke character because they couldn’t help but laugh. It was definitely an unforgettable night.” - Taylor Smith