This is entirely my mother’s fault.
For Mother’s Day I went digging through some old albums and posted some pictures on Facebook of my mom and me doing theater back when I was a kid. It got me thinking about how much I owe to her for getting me started (or how much I should blame her, depending on your point of view)
My parents met and fell in love playing Kim and Hugo in their high school production of “Bye Bye Birdie” which LITERALLY makes me a child of musical theater. After college, Mom became a teacher and dropped any showbiz aspirations to raise her kids. When I was eight, we moved from Byfield, MA to Randolph, NJ and I did not adjust particularly well. I was a skinny, shy, queeny bookworm and I was miserable. I consoled myself by reading “The Chronicles of Narnia”on an endless loop with little success.
One afternoon, my mom noticed that the local community theater was doing a production of “The Magician’s Nephew” and we went to the matinee. I was spellbound by the entire experience but mostly at the fact that there were two kids my age on the stage. I remember thinking, “I know this story, I could do that!”
I told my mom after the show and she looked to see if there were any upcoming shows. She explained the process of auditioning and shy, bookwormish me began to panic. Maybe I couldn’t do this. “We’ll do it together” she said. And we did. We were both cast in a mixed up retelling of Hansel & Gretel called “The Bad Children”. I played Hansel and my mom played……my mom. I was hooked instantly and the following year my dream came true. The theater was presenting the musical version of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” which I’d read a million times and knew backwards and forwards. I got the part of Edmund and mom was there onstage with me for that too.
Over the next ten years I did every show at that little community theater that I could and at least once a year mom was up there with me. It was our time together away from my dad and brother and we gossiped about cast members, griped about the director and ran lines in the car. I look back on that time shared with mom now and I’m amazed at how fortunate I was to share the stage with her. Since then my parents have never missed a show I’ve been in or directed and mom’s become quite the critic when they go see shows in the New York. (“It’s a good production of a bad play” is her new favorite catchphrase)
How did you get started? Is there a special person or event that introduced you to theater? Do you have an embarrassing picture of you in a butterfly costume in the school play? Send your story or your picture to us and we’ll post it on the blog!
Mom and Dad are moving to Delaware in June and I talked to her about their new home.
“Oh the town is very cute and there’s a golf course so your father will be thrilled.”
“How ‘bout you, Mom? Anything for you?” I asked.
It got very quiet for a moment.
“Oh well, there IS a little community theater down here so y’know, we’ll see…..”