Confessions of a stage mom (or, Why I'm Jealous of my Kids)

I know I've mentioned before that the Things are theatre kids.
In fact, I wrote about the ups and downs of auditioning a few months ago when Thing 2 had just auditioned for Annie and for the first time experienced the heartaches of rejection (sort of).

They live life with permanent stars in their eyes, dream of signing autographs at a stage door one day, and prefer to listen to musical soundtracks over most other genres of music (British boys being the big exception, of course). They are me personified when I was their age, except that I never had the guts or the opportunity to do what they're doing.  Oh, plus I cannot carry a tune in a bucket. So there's that.

In our house practicing doesn't refer to the clarinet or their soccer skills, it means memorizing lines or working on music.  And as you might imagine, this makes the drama factor in the house of a teenager and a pre-teen (and one slightly unstable mama) just atad bit more intense...much to Husband's delight (the empty Jaegermeister bottles I keep finding are suddenly making a lot more sense).

Both Things are involved in a small, local youth theatre (Blue Water Theatre Company for you locals - come check it out!) and when they're in a show they spend about 14 hours a week at rehearsal (give or take a few hours depending on their role). When one show ends, another begins. As I mentioned, the drama can be endless if we choose it to be.

For the past 3 months they've been rehearsing Annie, and tonight is opening night.

I think I might have mentioned that one of my childhood dreams when I was in 6th grade was to audition for the traveling cast ofAnnie.  I'd spend countless hours in my bedroom listening to my Annie album and singing "Tomorrow" and "Maybe" to my stuffed animals (the poor things) and choreographing entire dances with an imaginary Daddy Warbucks.  My friends and I had competitions to see who could sing "Tomorrow" better (that b*tch Amy Cornett was freakin' awesome - we all hated her).  I've seen it 4 or 5 times on stage and to this day know every word to every song and most of the lines of the script.

You can imagine, then, my level of hysteria excitement these past few months, especially since Thing 2 is the understudy to Annie. 
She's the understudy to Annie
My god. I cannot imagine what I'd have given to be the understudy to Annie when I was in 6th grade.
Youth theatre or Broadway - wouldn't have made a difference (nor should it have).

A few examples -

• When she asked me to run lines with her a few weeks ago I all but threw the dishes I was doing on the floor and asked if I could pleasepleaseplease do different voices for all the other characters. She just sighed and shook her head. (I'd have made anawesome Miss Hannigan btw.)

• When I was at a rehearsal doing some set work one night when she was filling in for Annie and watched her belting out "Tomorrow" like nobody's business and holding onto the real Sandy dog I thought I was going to flatline but also had to fight the urge to run and knock her out of the way and grab the dog and sing it myself. Just kidding. Kind of.

She's also the orphan named "July" and has a kick-ass solo in "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile".

•The other day I was watching her practice and she got so annoyed with me because apparently I mouth the words as she's singing.
I think she's lying. 

•She gets to sing "Hard Knock Life" and wear an adorable orphany dress with bloomers and dance around with the other orphany orphans.

Is it wrong to wish it was me?

Thing 1 gets to wear fabulous costumes with hats and wear her hair in retro finger waves and sing the "Do doodle oot do's" as a Boylen sister in the radio show scene, and as "Mrs. Pugh" gets to be part of the awesome "I think I'm gonna like it Here" musical number.
The one I choreographed at least 18 times in my bedroom when I was 11.

She also gets to wear a fancy dress and fur stole and adorable feathered hat and dance in the big NYC number.
Man, I know that song cold.

Ah, but it's okay.
I get to watch them absolutely shine on stage and know that they are having the time of their lives and doing what they love, and that's enough for me. Truly. I guess.

The lights...the costumes...the songs and dances...the music swelling and the anticipation of the curtains opening and the audience applauding...I get to experience all of it - through them - just on the other side. 

Tonight the overture that I listened to a million times and know so well will start and I will be covered in goosebumps as I imagine Thing 2 already in position on her cot behind the curtain and Thing 1 in the wings...and as the show starts I'll be holding back tears of pride as I watch my girls getting to live out my childhood dreams...and better yet, theirs.

I just hope the red curly wig I'll be wearing won't obstruct anyone's view.

Break a leg, girls.
You make your mama so proud.




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