Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Pippin", "Grease", and the Benefit of High School Musicals to the Growing Teen

Grease is the word.

It is in this house, anyway.  Our daughter, Elizabeth, plays “Frenchie” in her high school’s musical “Grease”, and I can’t tell you how it tickles me.  I snuck back stage during rehearsals a few times when I picked her up, and doing so brought it all back.

The one thing that kept me sane when I was a teenager was children’s theatre at Constance Moore’s “Children’s Theater Workshop”.  Miss Connie, as we called her, had about 300 students and each year incorporated them and their dancing lessons into a musical.  We, the bigger kids, got to audition for the musical roles in each show.  Let’s see ... we did “Gypsy”, “Hello Dolly”, “Babes in Toyland”, “Music Man”, among others. The year we did "42nd Street", I was the character lead and the stage manager. I knew every single cue in that script. I was 16.  During the summers, we were occupied with community theater where we did “Oklahoma”, “Mame”, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” and “Pippin”.  I was Fastrada in Pippin, and I tell you, it was one of the best times I’ve ever had.  Jody was Pippin, I was his stepmother, and Gina was Pippin’s grandmother, Berthe.  There was a scene where Gina sang to Jody. She sang “No Time at All” in a long flowing gown, her head wrapped in veils, and during one performance, she had Jody absolutely mesmerized to the point where he forgot his lines.  Those were such wonderful times.  Wonderful memories, too.

I went to the local high school’s brand new, state of the art theater to pick Elizabeth up tonight.  Typically, I have to go back stage to drag her out of there.  “I’m so stressed out,” she said to me. Then, her director decided to go over another number, and lickety split she was on the stage with a gaggle of other kids, and they were ecstatic.  No more stress, just joy.  That was an hour ago, and now it’s after 8:00 p.m.  They’ve been at rehearsal since 3:00 p.m.

For years, Leslie and I tried to get Elizabeth involved in one thing or another.  She didn’t like sports, didn’t want to ice skate, and had no interest in Brownies or even dancing school.  But this high school musical and the drama department has her hooked.

It had me hooked when I was a kid, too.

It feeds confidence.  It feeds the spirit. 

It's wonderful.

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