Monday, February 25, 2013

Looking back on Bugsy

          OK, so I"ve been hibernating. Recovering, actually. It's been just over two weeks three weeks now, since all our months of work culminated in two wonderful performances of Bugsy Malone, JR. And the kids did what cast kids giving their directors sleepless nights have done for years - they pulled out all the stops and put on a great show! I couldn't be prouder of how well they did. And I couldn't be more thankful for some time to recooperate and sleep!!

          I think one of the most magical elements in this whole process is watching these young kids get up on that stage and sing and dance their hearts out when just a few months ago most of them were a nervous wreck at auditions. I really love that about drama. I love that at this season of their lives, when kids can be so mean or so catty or so petty, that they can find a place to belong and to grow and to find the courage to take the risk to put on a costume and make up and feathers and fedoras and sing and dance with their whole being. It makes all the hours and miles and new gray hairs worth it!

     Oh and did I mention that our wonderful asst. principal made his stage debut in this show? As the Soup Kitchen LADY?? Yeah, he was a tremendous sport and everyone loved his cameo appearance!

      Did you know we had a snow day during show week? You know the week when it's time to pull everything together and have dress rehearsals and make sure everyone is truly ready for the final performances at the end of the week?? Yes, you read that correctly - a Snow Day! Actually, it was a snow afternoon when the weather forecast sounded like the roads were going to be so terrible that they cancelled all after school activities. If you remember hearing a howling "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!" echoing through the valleys of southeastern PA, that was probably me. Panicking. Completely. A friend on Facebook suggested I have rehearsal at my house. I thought about it. But I wasn't quite panicked enough to have 65 middleschoolers descend on my abode, especially when every minute of my days was going to the musical so even our normally comfortably cluttered home was in its usual show week state of complete wreck!! Hmmm . . . maybe I should have had rehearsal and then put all that middle school energy to good use cleaning for me!! What a missed opportunity!!

       And once again we proved that theatrical mantra "A bad dress rehearsal means a good performance" to be true. Our audiences were excited and encouraging and gave our young actors the fuel they needed to know they were doing a great job by clapping and laughing and cheering at all the right spots. Parents were thrilled to see their kids not only performing well on stage but having a great time doing so.  And after everyone thoroughly 'splurges' everyone else, using silly string shooters that look like miniature blue tommy guns, the bad guys, with neon silly string dripping from their fedoras, agree with Bugsy that maybe they can actually choose to be good guys, choose to be friends instead of enemies, choose to be remembered for giving a little love. Not a bad lesson for middle schoolers to learn, and, well maybe for all of us to remember, even if we don't have silly string dangling from the lapels of our pin striped suits.