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Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

With the holiday season in full swing, (you better believe I am in full-time Christmas music mode) I thought it might be nice to briefly distract ourselves from the horrors that we constantly face in the news and the stresses that always come with the holidays and take a nice trip down memory lane.


We all remember our first time experiencing something in pop culture that we knew would be special. Whether it was a great movie, an excellent song, a spectacular stage show or a particularly memorable episode of television, the first time experiencing it was a truly once-in-a-lifetime event. The fact that it was all new, that you had no idea what was coming next – it’s what makes entertainment so special.


Once your first time has come and gone you encourage just about everyone you know to see or listen to that thing so that they can also feel the way you felt and experience what you experienced. And if you’re lucky, you’re there to see them do it. (And if you’re unlucky, they’re not as into it as you are and it just becomes awkward and frustrating.) There’s always a bit of jealousy there, knowing that you’ll never again get to have the excitement and the wonder at seeing that thing for the first time but your friends or family will. Sure, it’ll still be fun and enjoyable for you, but it’ll never be the same as the first time.


I can think of several things that fit into this category of pop culture for me, but one I’ve been thinking about recently is the opening of the Broadway musical adaptation of “The Lion King.” I got tickets to see the show as a gift for my 11th birthday many many years ago, and had no idea what to expect going in. I knew that there were these puppet-like costumes that the actors wore to look more like the animals they were playing and I knew it featured many of the classic songs from the animated movie, but that was about it. I was in no way prepared for what I was about to witness when the curtain rose and the show started.


I don’t want to give too much away, (although you can actually watch a 360 video of the opening on YouTube) but I will say that the opening number completely took my breath away. It was unlike anything I had seen before, so beautiful and majestic. It was also one of my first experiences seeing live, professional theatre and I definitely think it was one of the things that first started my fascination with all things Broadway. I mean, it’s still running very successfully on The Great White Way and that certainly wouldn’t be the case if it wasn’t incredible.


I saw that a touring production of the show will soon be coming to Baltimore and it made me think of how jealous I am of all the people who will get the experience that opening number for the first time. I’m sure they’ll all be feeling the same way soon.


What about you? Do you have something in pop culture that you wish you could experience again for the first time? Did you catch my sweet Nick Jonas song reference in the title of this post? If you did, good job! If you didn’t, here you go. And, as you settle into this holiday season, remember…


Stay classy.