• Mike Hallinan


By Mike Hallinan | Arts & Entertainment Columnist

Welcome back to another #MikeCheck! I hope this finds you well. As I have previously discussed, there have been numerous efforts to preserve the arts during these uncertain times. It just so happens that I had the opportunity to participate in one of these efforts. This opportunity led me to a poignant realization. To better understand this realization, let me start from the beginning.

I often make a habit of supporting my friends and it was this way that I was introduced to GeekLifeRules. GeekLifeRules, or GLR, is the brainchild of Lawrence Neals that sees performers dress up as their favorite characters from film, movies and Broadway and perform a mixture of original parodies and covers. When the shutdown happened, GLR was quick to switch to online and put on a monthly cabaret. I eventually mustered up the courage to submit to perform, and was cast in their November show.

I woke up the morning of the show feeling one emotion: fear. I was absolutely terrified of what the evening held in store for me. I was somewhat confident in the performance I had recorded for the show, but my somewhat satisfaction wasn’t going to quash my fears. I knew these shows attracted a wide audience. My performance, a parody of the song “Til I Hear You Sing” from Love Never Dies that I dressed as the Phantom for, had already been recorded, but I wondered if my voice sounded great that day and could have done a better take. All of these doubts, despite assurances from both friends and family that I would be great, had me feeling deeply insecure and, as a result, trepidacious.

The time to enter the digital backstage came and I logged on, fearful of what lay ahead. I chatted with Lawrence in regards to how a live Q&A that he and his co-host Kate Hoover would conduct with me after my number would happen. I met a couple of different performers. The show would start, which I was able to watch as I waited for my performance, which was scheduled to be the second to last number. As I watched, I was overwhelmed by the talent of everyone, but there was something else that I watched too. I watched as my cast-mates heaped praise on other performers. Then something clicked with me. Our cast was one big family. My fears were instantly eliminated.

The audience knows very little of what goes on in the wings during a performance, especially in regard to the unity of a cast. Whether it be through months of rehearsals or just chatting via Facebook Messenger until the night of the show, the unity that frequently emerges amongst a group of performers is truly empowering. What has driven me to a life in the theater is that, when you think of theater, whether it be community theater all the way to a Broadway show, it is that it is not an industry, but a community. They are there for support and it is easy to create connections that lead to greater opportunities in life. I have done shows with different levels of performers, but it is performing shows with people, such as the amazing people at GLR, that understand the concept of a stage family where performers and audiences alike have an enjoyable time that always make for the best shows.

My performance for the cabaret turned out better than what I expected. My performance, however, was dwarfed by a different sensation. It was the sensation that I was creating something special as part of a team of like minded individuals, and that united together, there is no insecurity or setback that cannot be eliminated. That is the power of a great cast. We are not many people with different agendas, but one cohesive unit whose aim is to put on a phenomenal show for the audience while supporting one another. For more information on GeekLifeRules, be sure to follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Until next time, standby and stand together.

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