Beads of sweat drop to the stage. Pacing moments of comedic pauses and dramatic integrity fill the two-hour stage marathon. Mic checks, quick changes and line cues create a subtle buzz backstage immediately quieted by the stage manager. After it has all ended, a roaring applause echoes in the black-box theater. The work lights finally fade and the costumes come off.
Josh Muska knows this routine better than most, in fact he lives it. He has been doing shows since his elementary years at church and throughout high school. You can find him on stage here in the upcoming musical, the “Lucky Stiff.”
“I really started performing seriously in high school,” Muska said. “My older brother did the shows and I thought to myself, well why can’t I do this too?”
Muska’s talents have helped him put some impressive roles under his belt. His dream role of playing Lumiere in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” was one of his favorites. Performing in all of the Cabrini shows since his freshman year, Muska believes no matter what year you are or talent you have staying grounded is essential.
“Sometimes people think they’re above a part,” Muska said. “In my case, I’m a senior and I’m not the lead. It’s not that big of a deal. I’m doing a part the way it’s supposed to be done and presenting it so everyone can enjoy the show. That is one thing you have to leave at the door, your ego,” he added.
Although staying true to yourself is pivotal to a success stage life, Muska survives by something simple. When asked what his favorite part about being on stage was, Muska replied without hesitation, “the applause.”
“If I’m doing something for myself, it doesn’t mean anything. As long as the audience enjoys themselves, that’s my favorite part,” Muska said.
A musical or play is much like a sport. The director, Dr. Tom Stretton, is the coach. Calling the blocking for each scene much like a coach would assign plays, he is the one in charge. The stage is their field. Marked with glowing gaffer’s tape and props, it is no different than the foul line. It tells the actors where to stay. And finally, the cast is just like any team. Helping someone out when they need to completely change costumes and have to be on stage within the minute, improving when someone misses their cue, harmonizing to a beautiful ballad and not only growing as individuals but as a unit.
“We always do a football huddle before any show,” Muska said. “It gets us excited for the performance.”
Muska described his time acting at Cabrini as “fantastic.” Passionate about the theater, he has really enjoyed his time on stage over the past four years.