Somewhere on my list of Top 10 Most Fun and Rewarding Parenting Experiences would have to be the time Cookie, Teebo, and I became villagers of the little Russian village of Anatevka in a community theatre run of Fiddler on the Roof. Though the kids were just eight and five that year, it was a great chance for them to experience the way poignant family drama and masterful music come together to create a two-hour onstage miracle.
Twenty-six years later, what went around back then has made another circle. This time I got to be in the audience watching and listening as Cookie sold roses and Sooby, Pooh, and Bootsie took on the roles of orphans and thieves in a community theatre production of Oliver! I attended on April 15 and 16.
No, once was not enough. I had to make a weekend of it and see every ounce of cuteness twice. Proudly, I wore my new sweatshirt that says "My Grandkids Shine Like Stars"--and sweatshirts do not lie. Although anyone could see that the kids--ages eight, seven, and five--were truly the stars of the show, the production was certainly not hurt by excellent casting, wonderful set and costuming, strong vocals, and a phenomenal five-piece orchestra.
I saw the show the second weekend of a three-weekend run, when most of the bugs had been ironed out and the cast had jelled into a comfortable ensemble of 1850s Londoners. Based on the novel of the same name by Charles Dickens, the musical transported its audience to a bleak landscape wrought with poverty, disease, hunger, and an ominous criminal element. It was a place where kids went to bed hungry and were spirited away from workhouses to learn the art of picking pockets.
This writing introduces a series of four blog posts devoted to the kids' experience as actors and singers in their first stage production. For each of the next three days, I will feature one of them, along with some observations about each one's unique experiences with the show.
Here is a preview of what you will get to read about in the next several posts:
Now, sit back, and enjoy the show!