The Traveling Lady opened last night (a good show, I thought, more on that later). This morning the first review is online, from the Dallas Morning News. A good one.
As a designer - anyone in theater - you try to develop a thick hide. You must. I'm lucky that I've never been afflicted with terrible nerves, so I can usually sit through Opening Night stolidly, only cringing a little when I spot a gap in the masking or whatever. (My friend Wade paced the lobby. I do miss Wade.) But it IS a relief to have a first review positive, some slight shock absorber for whatever jolt comes next. Best if the good one is from a major source, though I'm glad to have a good opinion from anyone! Grateful. But, say, the Tony committee's opinion would count more, in a worldly way, than my Mom's. (Sorry Mom.) Still, the insulative qualities of one good review are sometimes insufficient to cushion the next blow... take my word for this. So I'm still braced.
The sad part about reviews - once you recover from the elation, hurt feelings, outrage, or delight - is that it colors all the rest of that show. If you suffered during the process, that is soothed a bit by the flung roses of a triumph; if you're trashed in review, then however proud you feel of the work, it's roses turning brown.
Reviews mess with your head.