Monday, March 21, 2011


I witnessed people's insanity yesterday, and I cannot get over it.
Let me start at the beginning: my daughter auditioned earlier last month for a local community theatre production: Broadway Jayne. It's an original play written by the director, Sheree Kren. the big draw was that after a few New Jersey show, they will rent an off-Broadway theatre and have 2-4 shows in New York. Sounds like a great opportunity for them, looks good on their resume. As the director put it at some point: "it worth Gold". Well, I tend to agree, that if you are young artist from New Jersey, this could be a once in a lifetime chance.
The first audition was in New York, just for the prestige. The only other kids we saw auditioning in the studio was a girl from Philadelphia, which is an hour and a half away from the community center where all the rehearsals and the first 4 show will be held. I tought that was odd, isn't there any theatres in Philly? Why would you sacrifice 6 months worth of Sundays for a community production. Of course, I thought, the director will certainly discourage them from making such a commitment.

Boy, I was mistaking. After callbacks and casting, we had a little orientation yesterday. My daughter already had the feeling she wasn't interested, but we went anyway, just to see if she could relate to the cast or the director. Basically to find a reason to stay.
The director started by saying how big of a deal it is to play off-Broadway. To prove her point, she introduced one of the cast members, an 11 year hold your breath....from NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!! That is 8 hours of drive one way! For 6 months! Every Sunday! With 4-5 hours of rehearsals, plus 16 hours of drive, that's 21 hour workday for an 11 year old. And people clapped their hands, they were all happy for them. My kids and I were about to scream: what's wrong with you all???? Did you loose your mind? Did collective insanity set in and no one knows right from wrong? My younger-one put her hand up, I grabbed it, and ask her what she wanted to say. Her answer: "I wanted to know if we can run out of here".
I'm so glad I'm raising sane kids.

That's why I'm not so eager to become a stage mom. I don't want to loose perspective of what is important and what's not. Seems like people would give up their family life for the success of one member of the family. Even if that success would be guaranteed, which it isn't,  to hurt all in the family to satisfy one is crazy.
And be realistic, a show in New York, that is only going to be seen by your parents and grandparents, is hardly a ticket to fame.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 2

I have always loved theatre. Since I was a little girl. You don't have to tell me I infected my daughter with the bug, I know it. I didn't have a chance to play in a thetare but I worked in a summer production as a director's assistant, and I spent a couple of years studying theatre. I probably thought that's what I want to do life, but I had no guidance or persistance to follow up. I gave up before even trying. Then I spent my adulthood wondering, what if..

When Anna came along I didn't set out to create a little me. I just wanted her to love the theatre.
 I took her to a show when she was about 4. She tought it was stupid. I think it was about the 3 little pigs. It was appropriate for her age, but she was 4 turning 14. She didn't get it at all. Pigs talking and singing. What's that all about?
It didn't stop me from taking her again and again. Local shows first, then in New York. I think she saw Beauty and the Beast when she was 6. ANd she still wasn't hooked. Who knows? If I had stopped at that moment she would have never started playing. She was iceskating at that time, so it didn't even came up. When iceskating became more than just wayyy too expensive, she decided to quit, instead of just doing a little bit, for fun. All or nothing, that's what she seems to be about. She was devastated first, even though it was her decision. There  was definetly a void to be filled. And I still didn't push her to do anything.

The local JCC played the Secret Garden, a book she read a little while before and I think she also saw the movie. It was just the perfect timing. SHe was 8-ish, perhaps 9. The production was excellent. But most important, there was a little girl playing the role of Mary, who was about her age (later we learned she was a year older). Her voice was out of this world. It seemed impossible for this tiny thing on the stage to sing and play like she did.
I think this was a difining moment. Suddenly, she could see herself being up there and play.
The first thing she said after the show was that she wants to audition for the next one. As it happens, the next one was the Fiddler. It has some child roles, but she had no chance in hell. She was too young with no experience at all, and she couldn't sing. And I mean she really couldn't sing.
She wanted me to teach her "Tomorrow" from Annie for the audition. Are you kidding me? I don't sing or play the piano. I downloaded the music and the music sheet, and we tried...boy was it painful. I couldn't help her, she was frustrated with me and herself. But she went anyway, and I'm sure they smiled when they sent her on her way.

After that day she wouldn't stop singing at home, so I signed her up with  a professional singing teacher, Marcy Manfredi,  to improve her skills enough to audition with confidence. And she did. Fast. A couple of months later, when the JCC's kids theatre program had an audition for "Dear Edwina", she sang really well. They didn't make her read though which told me she will only get a a chorus role, but all she kept asking on the way home if I tought she will got "Edwina".  What do you say? I said no. Do you keep them hoping? It's a topik I want to talk about an other time. Anyway, she has received 2 small roles: Aphrodite and Mary Sue Betty Bob. Both roles have a small song. Of course she was disappointed, she only had a couple of lines, but got excited to learn about the 2 solo songs.

Dear Edwina became her first show.  And the first experience of success.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 1

Let me start this way: I'm not  a stage mom. Or not yet. Not the way you think of stage moms: my daughter isn't a "professional". Yes, she learns singing from a professional, goes to dance classes and acting classes, plus participates in 4-5 theatre shows a year in and around our town. But she doesn't have an agent or auditions in New York several times a week. Not yet. I know she dreams of it, though.

She is 12. Turning 13 this month. No more braces. (Just

Becoming a stage mom is not something I dream of. But I'm not sure which one scares me more: becoming one (with all the unwanted implications) or not becoming one because she gives up. I guess, there is a third way: she can go for it as an adult. Now, there is something to think about!!!

My blog will be a "progress report" of some sort. I will start at the very beginning and then after I get where we are now, I'd like to follow her on her path to...whereever it leads.