It’s that time of year again. Show season! Every year I pull myself off the road and do something for myself. (A lesson we could all learn.) Surprise for you newbies: I do theater. This year I took a back seat and stayed on the production crew side of Bye Bye Birdie. I was Costume Mistress for a cast of 45. Begging from the cast, borrowing from Junior Theatre and stealing from my own stash, we put on an almost sold out run of 10 shows which closed on Sunday night. Vanguard has been doing shows at Westminster for more than 40 years, drawing families together and building new friendships within the community.
In the last few years, I have taken the opportunity to encourage storytelling and reading with the Littles, Middles, and Young at Hearts during the run of the show. I lug in a suitcase of mostly picture books and do booktalks, read stories and tell original stories to the cast before the director gives notes and the musical director does warm ups. The Littles and Middles can read the books in between scenes. We talk about their favorites. It’s a nice gathering time that eases nerves and gives me an audience to test out my favorites.
This morning I read a book, Celestine Drama Queen by Penny Ives, that I wished I had read before closing night. I hope that they will read about it here instead. (And then of course, rush out to the library to read the entire book.)
Celestine is a Drama Queen. Complete with tiara, Celestine prepares for her big part in the school play. Never lacking in ego (she is a princess after all!), she learns that even stars have much to learn.
As the costume mistress in this year’s show, I learned several lessons myself. You don’t have to be on the stage to be part of the family. It takes a team of people to pull off a big production. There are no small parts. If everyone does his part, we all win. One of our cast members tore his Achilles tendon during the run. Down to one leg, he could no longer pitch in like he had with set moving. This theater family that I love so much, just jumped right in and delegated. He, on the other hand, still came to the show and stood when he could. Many parts and helpful hands created a show that brought joy to hundreds of people- even if we did have to sing “We Love You Conrad” 4,723 times.