Catherine Reid, TMU contributor and freshman at Northwestern

Your entire music library is show tunes. You count down the days until the Tony Awards. Your short list is a little long, but you know it by heart. When people bring up Evita, you swear on your life that Madonna can't touch Patti LuPone. Okay, that last one was a little specific to me.

If you can identify with at least one of these things, then you should read this blog. Hello, my name is Catherine Reid, and I'm a theaterholic. I'm not afraid to admit it. 90 percent of my brain is occupied by Broadway songs, plots, and trivia.

My TMU contributions will consist of "The Student's Survival Guide to Broadway," where I will share with you the best of Broadway. I'll listen to the latest recordings and tell you what I think. You'll learn about the best new shows, the actresses to watch, the best rock musicals of all time, and even the best and worst of musicals turned movies. All of my posts will be "top ten" or "top five" lists because, if your life is anything like mine, you don't have time to sit down and read a novel.

I am a freshman at Northwestern University, and have been involved with theater in my hometown, Springfield, IL, for the past ten years. I'm majoring in journalism, but I plan to pursue a minor in theater. My parents were not too keen on the idea of me being a theater major, but they told me that I can pursue theater as a career as long as a have journalism as an alternate plan.

I plan to do that because theater is the most amazing thing in the world. When you're onstage, you have an indescribable power to change the world for the better. Sometimes the piece you are performing directly correlates to a struggle that an audience member is having, and you can help them through that. Even if the piece doesn't correlate to a struggle that someone is having, you can help them get away from their problems for at least a couple of hours. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to perform.

So to end this first post, I want to tell you about my most incredible theater moment of all time. One of my absolute favorite musicals is Next to Normal. The music is phenomenal, the story is moving, and the emotional depth with which Alice Ripley, J. Robert Spencer, and Jennifer Damiano performed is breathtaking. My life was made when I went to New York for a college trip in April 2010 and my mom bought tickets for N2N. I sobbed through pretty much the entire show, and at the end I waited outside to meet the cast. Naturally, I told J. Robert Spencer that he should have taken home the Tony. Then, when I saw Alice, I lost it. I started crying, recited part of her Tony speech to her, and basically just made a fool of myself. Alice hugged me and she said, "People like you are why I do theater."

People like Alice are why I do theater. I hope this first post piqued your interest and that you'll become a regular "Student's Survival Guide to Broadway" reader.