by Fredric Odgaard
I’m sure I’m not the first person to experience the sensation of coming back to a show that you’ve left. Actually, I know I’m not. I sit in a dressing room at Kinky Boots with six other people that have done the exact same thing that I just did on Tuesday night. I’m talking about what it’s like to take some time away from a show to do another show, take a much needed break, or, in my case, rehearse and perform in the pre-Broadway tryout of Moulin Rouge.
Without even skipping a beat, I found myself back on stage doing movement that I haven’t thought about in FOUR months. This has never happened to me, and I was in full nervous breakdown mode in my kitchen the night before trying desperately to remember choreography. You would have sat back and laughed your butt off. I know my fiancé sure did.
The day of my first show back, I made a meaningless post on Instagram saying something to the effect of “Can you see the fear in my eyes!?” I’ll admit it was about 50 percent a joke and 50 percent very much a real emotion. I have never felt so out-of-body in my career. I was also so in awe of my body and the reality of muscle memory. It’s a very real thing. My friend in the show explained it like this - “It’s like your brain is a monkey riding a bike backwards, headed right for a cliff, and your body is smoking a cigarette staring you dead in the face like - ‘I got this boy, just relax and hold on.’”
Overall, the transition back was pretty seamless. I settled into the same routine and the same timing I was used to. It was a little like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” once I finally gave in and let my body do the work. Now, it’s like I never truly left. I’m so happy I have a show like Kinky Boots to come back to after being gone for four months. Moulin Rouge was an amazing experience and such a monumental task, but that’s a story for another time. It was so perfect coming back to a show that was so familiar, just like seeing a friend you haven’t seen in years and picking up right where you left off.