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How a Christmas Tradition Made Me a Theatre Lover



The Holiday season is that wonderful time of year where families celebrate their various traditions. Whether it's a religious or a family custom, this is the time of year where people get together and celebrate annual activities.

In the Peterson household, one of my favorite traditions was our trip to New York City during the Christmas season. We would take the train to Grand Central, go shopping, eat a nice meal, see the tree at Rockefeller Center and of course, see a show. Looking back on those trips, I realize now that they not only afforded me the opportunity to see some of the best performers on Broadway but is the source of my love for all things theatre. Which is why I carry out that tradition to this day with my own family and friends.

It started with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. I can't imagine a better way to introduce a kid to live theatre than walking into Radio City Music Hall for the first time. For an adult, the place is huge, so imagine it through the eyes of a 9-year-old. Seeing the Rockettes, hearing that infectious "New York at Christmas" song and watching figure skaters glade across the stage, I was hooked.

What started with Radio City Music Hall then became the Theater at Madison Square Garden with A Christmas Carol. Looking at a saved Playbill recently, I noticed that I had seen the early careers of Emily Skinner and Christopher Sieber that day.

The following years would include shows like Damn Yankees and introducing me to the mammoth that is the Marriott Marquis, Jekyll & Hyde, Ragtime and so on.

I can honestly say that had it not been for these trips, I would never have auditioned for my 7th-grade play. Seeing what was happening on stage, knowing the feeling I got watching these incredible performers, I wanted to be a part of that. And what started with that 7th-grade play has become more than 20 years of being involved in theatre in some capacity.

Now, with a family of my own, that tradition continues. I can't wait to see my son's reaction when he sees Radio City for the first time.

So whether it's going into the city to see a show or sitting around a dinner table playing Trivial Pursuit, family traditions are incredibly important. You never know what they can inspire.