Saturday, April 02, 2011

It's A Hard Knock Life And/Or The School Plays and Musical Memories

Last night we went to see Annie at the MG's school. She was on stage crew. It was pretty much exactly what you would expect out of a middle school musical, but thankfully, they had a music track and not an "orchestra" full of squeaking clarinets. Zygote sat, transfixed, for most of the time which made it a pretty enjoyable evening for everyone.

Random musical memories:

* I was obsessed with Annie when I was little. I saw the musical on Broadway, watched the movie multiple times, and had the record for my Fisher Price record player. My friends and I decided to put on our version of Annie in our driveway, and my mom painted all the backdrops of NYC on sheets that she hung up. We all fought over who got to play Annie, so basically there were about 6 little girls dressed up in red Annie dresses and no supporting characters. I have Albert Finney's autograph. My parents ran into him in a restaurant in the city, told them their kid adored Daddy Warbucks, and he gave them an autograph. I still love Annie.

* In middle school, I had a speaking role in Meet Me in St. Louis. I wore an electric blue satin dress that my aunt had worn as a bridesmaid. We had to change the character, Dick, to Rick because all of the boys would laugh every time they heard the word dick. And, me too.

* My parents gave us tickets to a musical every Christmas. The first one I went to was 42nd Street, which in retrospect is probably not the best show for an 8 year old. I remember driving in a snow storm to see Fiddler on The Roof, and showing up at Rent on the wrong night, but getting seats anyway due to the kindness of some ushers. And the night of my grandfather's funeral, we saw Aida.

* Freshman year of high school, I decided that would try out for the role of Lola in Damn Yankees. Lola is the "seductress" sidekick of the Devil. If you know me, you are already laughing. Me? Seductress? And remember, I was FOURTEEN. I had to do a dance solo for the rehearsal and completely froze up and cried on stage in front of everyone else trying out. It was mortifying. Thus began my long and illustrious career as part of the chorus and stage crew. Stage crew proved useful because you always had to stay late, and I took advantage of that excuse to stay out extra late with my boyfriend of the time, assuming my parents wouldn't notice. They did.

* Sophomore year, I was in Can Can. I was a frog in the Garden of Eden ballet scene. Telling. One of the lead actresses was a "real" actor, meaning she had done some shitty commercials and maybe a Flowbee spot or two. Everyone was super impressed by her shining intellect and the fact that she always wore high heels and didn't take gym. She told us that she related deeply to the characters in Les Miserables. I realized she was a bit of a douche.

* I can't remember what came next: Annie or Sugar, the musical based on Some Like It Hot. Despite my earlier obsession with Annie, I skipped that one and just did crew for Sugar. I really don't remember much of either.

* You had to sing a song to try out for the musicals, even just for the chorus. I always sang Send in the Clowns. Good lord.

* I also took two years of "Theatre Arts," taught by a slurring, drunk aging "actress." I remember doing a monolouge where I was Anne Boleyn at the Tower. I also did a dialouge playing Eliza Doolittle, yelping in my terrible imitation of a Cockney accent, "what's to become of me? what's to become of me?"

* Looking back and realizing how ridiculous the musicals were and how not talented I am in the music/theatre realm, I still really think that I was made to be Effie White from Dreamgirls despite my problematic whiteness.


Cheryl said...

It's sad that I know exactly which high school "actress" you were referring to with that one sentence. Quite douche-y.

I *loved* Sugar. I loved being in the pit for all of the high school musicals, but Sugar rocked, as much as a high school musical can.

jm said...

Ha ha. I had completely forgotten about her until I started thinking about school plays. She had a lot of hair.