A man walks onstage, clad in dance shoes and a bedazzled vest, dressed as though he is about to audition for a production of “A Chorus Line.” The man rouses the audience with choruses of numbers from classic Broadway musicals including “Gypsy” and “The Sound of Music.” Amit Gour then sets the scene. He was born and raised on an Israeli kibbutz, and as a child, he loved movie musicals. Seeing “West Side Story,” he was entranced by the dancing Puerto Rican characters, and resolved to become a dancer himself, discovering his sexuality in the process. Mr. Gour didn’t want to be confined to what he considered oppressive, boring farm life. He found that his life echoed the plights of musical theatre protagonists. Dissatisfied with the life he had been given, he felt ready to move on to a greater purpose, a higher calling. Mr. Gour first pursued this dream by asking for a solo in the kibbutz choir, a request that his choir director denied. He then auditioned and was accepted to a prestigious performing arts school. But after attending a performance of his favorite musical, “The Phantom of the Opera,” on a school trip to London, Mr. Gour found that he couldn’t hear himself sing, for reasons he did not understand. He went on a silent meditation retreat, where he recalled devastating memories he had suppressed: upon going to his headmaster’s London hotel room to grab his “Phantom” ticket, he was sexually assaulted. Although he escaped the kibbutz, he lamented that he would never escape his being a victim of this heinous act. He turned to musical theatre for solace, though he knew he could not erase his past. Mr. Gour is a triple threat; he acts, sings, and dances his way through the hour‑long piece, performing parodies of beloved tunes including “All That Jazz” and “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” His electric personality and Israeli accent light up the room, and Mr. Gour makes it easy to root for him in times of despair. Because of his indomitable optimism, it was shocking to hear him describe what happened that fateful day in London. He recounted it almost like a dream. Indeed, it must have felt as such, until the traumatic memory could no longer remain suppressed.
“My Life: The Musical Version” Written and Performed by Amit Gour Directed by Nir Erez Music Directed by Yuval Shapira November 10 at 7:30 PM Photo: courtesy of the production 2019 United Solo Festival Theatre Row 410 West 42nd Street New York City
MIKEY MILLER is an actor, writer, and tutor based in Jersey City, NJ. He received his BA in English with a minor in theatre arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. Since then, Mikey has acted in off-Broadway and regional productions and worked as a freelance writer for publications such as StageAgent and ShowTickets.