Tuesday, August 06, 2013

So I Love Musical Theater...

I shared recently that it can be hard to choose what to write about these days. But since I feel the Lord encouraging me to focus on things in my life that bring me joy, that's a good place to go.

So I should write about the musical that I'm in!

Musicals have always been a source of joy to me, and I suppose that's weird, but I have always loved the combination of story, music and spectacle that is unique to musical theater. One of my earliest memories is of a high school musical production of Peter Pan. After Tiger Lily's riveting performance, I determined that I would be an Indian princess when I grew up. I lived in this delusion for about 36 hours before my mother shot it down, telling me that one had to be born an Indian princess, so it was already too late for me. But still, I basked in the glow of that performance, affixing the playbill to the front of our refrigerator and announcing, "This is to remind us of a wonderful evening!" (My dad wrote my words on the playbill and saved it. Thank you, Dad!)

So...musicals. I was too shy to audition for any high school productions until my senior year, when I was in the chorus of The Wiz (an unfortunate choice for a Midwestern, white-bread, small-town high school, but the show did go on.) I was not in another musical production until 2007, when I played Mrs. Macready in a community theater production of Narnia, the Musical, along with Papa Rooster, who played Aslan, Blondechick (Susan), B18 then B12 (Edmund), B14 then B8 (the Dwarf), and Chicklet (a White Staglet).

I should also mention that I married a man with musical theater experience, talent and background. My husband's friend talked him into auditioning for his high school's spring musical, and he saw jaws drop--literally--when he started singing. In an era when sound was a big issue for high school productions, this kid that hardly ever talked suddenly boomed out with the biggest singing voice that had been heard on that stage in years. He got leads and much acclaim both his junior and senior years.

He came by it honestly. Both his parents had been on and off-Broadway. That's how they met--two Midwesterners who had moved to NYC to work in show business. So romantic, eh? Yes, the whole story helped sell me on him. (That, and his penchant for bursting out into fragments of show tunes like "Pretty Women," from Sweeney Todd, when we were taking long walks together. How could I resist?)

Anyway, that experience with Narnia just whet my appetite for more. Mrs. Macready was only in the first and last scene and she didn't get to sing or dance. She just yelled at children, which was not even an acting stretch for me. So I kept my eyes open for another chance.

I got it after we moved to WI and a local youth theater group decided to do a summer show that included adults. It was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I got to be one of the twelve Wives--the oldest Wife by many years, actually. My two youngest kids were in it with me, in the Kids' Chorus. In this show, I had to dance--for the first time since The Wiz--and I found it to be quite a fun challenge for an aging brain that has never had coordination as a strong suit. But I managed to learn the steps eventually, and it really was fun!

Well, that's a whole post already. But it brings me up to this summer and the blast B14 and I are having being in the ensemble of Thoroughly Modern Millie! More soon!

3 comments:

jill said...

So funny--I, too, was afraid to audition until my senior year. And the next musical i did was many years later with Acorn--the same musical as in high school Oklahoma. With my whole family. Also got to be in The Wiz, a show I've always loved, a couple years ago. Plus--I was proposed to with "If Ever I Would Leave You." So perhaps we've lived somewhat parallel lives? :)

At A Hen's Pace said...

Jill,

I guess so! So funny.

It's hard to imagine loving The Wiz, though. ;)

Nice to hear from you!

~Jeanne

Gena at ichoosejoy.org said...

Looking forward to seeing you on Friday! I haven't been in a musical since college, but it's almost time--maybe next summer!
--Gena