Each month for a year Prudential is gifting free tickets to theatre fans from across the U.S. with the Prudential Standing Ovations Ticket Giveaway, presented by Playbill. For the chance to win, entrants are answering the question, "Which Broadway character or song inspires you, and why?" in a short essay or video. Read a few of last month's most stirring responses below.
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Alexandra Montesinos: "I am heavily inspired by The Lion King’s 'They Live In You.' My younger sister passed away last year at 20 years old. She was born with CHARGE Syndrome, which left her deaf, blind, and mentally handicapped. She couldn’t talk, she had to eat through a gastric feeding tube and she relied on an oxygen tank to breathe. When she was born, doctors said she would be bedridden all her life. Yet when she was three, she learned how to sit down. When she was 10, she learned how to stand up. When she was 11, her lungs became strong enough to breathe on their own without an oxygen tank and when she was 20 she took her first steps. My sister defied all the odds. She was my inspiration. So I took it as a sign from her when a week after her passing my friend surprised me with Broadway tickets to The Lion King. The scene with 'They Live In You' was so beautiful it made me cry. I knew it was my sister’s message that she’ll always be watching over. Whenever life gets a little too hard, this is the song I sing."
Proteeti Sinha: "'Dear Theodosia' from Hamilton inspires me, because of the tremendous love in the words. 'You will come of age with our young nation' is so powerful, and I can feel the love of both the fathers—Burr and Hamilton—when they sing. We should all be striving to pass on a better future for future generations."
Laura Goyette: "The Broadway character that inspires me the most is Anya from Anastasia! She is so brave and confident in herself. After all of the trauma that she and her family went through, coupled with the amnesia, it would be so easy to just lose hope and accept your fate. But Anya is adamant in her quest to find her family again in Paris, which I find really admirable and inspiring. My favorite moment that shows off her bravery is when Gleb is pointing the gun at her head and both characters state that they are the children of their respective families and will do whatever it takes to uphold the honor. Anya inspires me in this moment to stand up for what I believe in and to never give up in my quests in life, be it for finding a long-lost family or for something as simple as staying in school and getting my degrees, which can be frustruating at times. Anya is a beacon of hope and light in the trying times of 20th century Russia, and I find her so inspirational as we need to remain hopeful in these trying times as well."
Chaya Abraham: "Born in the darkest and ugliest of places, only to tempt out the tremulous and magnificent beauty into a world so otherwise unforgiving—this is the soaring heartache that is the Phantom of the Opera. He is one of the most tragic characters to grace the stage of Broadway. The most doomed, the most hopeful, the most hopeless. It is not the decisions he made. It is not even the glorious things he crafted. Art is not a choice. It can be heavy, it can be the most unbearable pain—and yet an artist must create, be it through song, through words, through color, through any medium. It must happen; it must come. And when it does, it is truly worth every ovation."
Hannah Muller: "When I hear the song 'I’d Rather Be Me' from the musical Mean Girls, I feel like standing up and shouting along with the song. The song is so upbeat, even though the message isn’t quite as cheerful. The song is about how when you’re true to who you are, you’ll find out who is honestly loyal to you. Losing friends is a hard experience, and finding out that someone is 'fake' is even harder. However, the character who sings this song, Janis, doesn't let bad friends stop her from showing her true personality. She 'raises her right finger' to people who tease her or betray her. Even through this, Janis knows inside that her true friends love and accept her for who she is. This song is so heartening because it proves that even when people you love and trust aren’t who you thought, you’ll always have yourself and your true character. Janis sings a great lesson to not allow anyone to have power to change you, and that’s what I find so inspiring about her."
Yaranilka LeBarr: "The character that inspires me is Angelica from Hamilton. She is what I inspire to be as a woman. Angelica was always outspoken in her views and knew what she wanted. Even though many women during her time weren’t allowed to have a voice, she went against the norms of her society. I feel what really inspired me about Angelica was her heart. There is no doubt she was way ahead of time. Her intelligence and beauty were unmatched. Her heart, however, I feel like doesn’t get enough attention. That selfless woman was in love with a man who fit perfectly and seemed to share the same feeling with her. She could have easily married him, but she stepped aside when she realized her younger sister was in love with the same man. She still supported both her love and sister through the future endeavors they faced. Angelica truly is one of a kind. I inspire to be half the women she is and I will not be satisfied if I am anything less."