Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Return to Children's Theater

Unsure if we were going to sell our house, we've been noncommittal about whether we were going to do children's theater this fall. But with no buyers in sight--indeed, where all the lookers?--we at last gave the kids permission to audition for Charlotte's Web. We figured that even if we sell our house this week, we'll probably won't close the deal till around the time of the last performance, so we should be okay.

Then the kids' agonizing back-and-forth began. Bantam12 really wanted to play soccer and do theater, as he managed to last fall, but this year's game schedule required him to choose one or the other. Blondechick14 had been asked by the director of the other theater group (that we did Narnia with, this summer) if she would be a junior director for their fall play, The Story of the Nutcracker, a very enticing opportunity--but she also would have to choose one or the other.

When they both chose to join Bantam8 in doing Charlotte's Web, Papa Rooster and I had another tough decision to make: Do we let Chicklet4.95, who's too young to do CW, do Nutcracker? She had such fun being a Ballerina in Narnia, she would love going to rehearsals, and she was so eager to be a Snowflake with her little friend in the Nutcracker play. But it felt like dividing our family too many directions...so once again, Charlotte prevailed.

Whew! I'm glad that's settled. Auditions are this Thursday, callbacks are Friday, and by Saturday afternoon, the cast list will be up.

(Thank you, everyone who's been praying for us--see that prayer request over there in my sidebar, for decisions about fall activities for our kids? I'll be taking that one down soon, but thank you.)

Bantam8 and Blondechick14 are doing the same auditions they did for Seussical, since we didn't give ourselves much time to prepare new ones: "I'd Do Anything for You" from Oliver and "My New Philosophy" from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. But Bantam12 was bound and determined to do a Beatles song this time, if he died trying to find one. Did you know you can download karaoke versions of many songs on iTunes, for $.99 a song? We listened to bits of sooooo many Beatles songs that were too high, too low, too fast, too slow, before laying down our dollar on "Good Day, Sunshine."

But how do you choreograph a one-minute audition for a song that keeps repeating the same inane phrase over and over? We were scrambling for easy dance moves--Bantam12 isn't much of a natural mover--when one of us thought of a prop. Sunglasses! During the building beats of the introductory music, he breathes on the glasses, wipes them on his shirt, places them on top of his head and spreads his arms wide just as he sings the first, "Good day Sunshine." Then he pulls them down over his eyes and sings the next "Good day, Sunshine" into an imaginary microphone. For the final repetition of the phrase, he pulls them off his face with a big flourish, then folds and pockets them for the short verse. Then we're back to "Good day, Sunshine" three more times (sunglasses remaining in the pocket), accompanied by the couple of rock-star moves he can swing passably well.

He's such a handsome dude, he can pull it off.

What? You didn't know Charlotte's Web was a musical? Then get thee to a library and request this 1973 version. Don't expect much of the animation (it's of the 70's Saturday morning cartoon variety; though it does have a charm that today's clean-lined cartoons lack), but the music and the voices make the movie. It's been a preschool favorite here since we went into the baby business.

Debbie Reynolds is wonderful as the voice of Charlotte (apparently she volunteered for the job, drawing no salary, because of her love for the book), but the best thing in the show is Paul Lynde as Templeton, the Rat. If you're too young to remember Paul Lynde on Hollywood Squares (one of my distinct preschool memories), then you NEED an introduction, though chances are that you have heard his distinctive speech before.

My first comment after we saw the recent movie version of Charlotte's Web was, "That was delightful...but I miss the music so much, I think I still prefer the cartoon version!"

The children's theater version should be fun. I'll keep you posted!


Erin said...

Yay!! That sounds like so much fun. I look forward to future updates.

Acting Gal said...

I never knew CW to be a musical, that is really cool! I'll be praying for y'all!

Anonymous said...

We'll be rooting for them! Maybe we can rent the movie! When are the performances? Love, Mom

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thanks for the good wishes, everyone!

The performances are the last two weekends of October. Hope you guys can come!--?