If my seven year old self knew what her adult self would be doing now, she'd probably pee her pants, she'd be so excited. No joke. Here I am sitting in the same theater I grew up performing in, only this time I'm sitting in the audience as choreographer.
My whole life I've been dancing and performing. It started as four years old, tapping away in a local mall for a Christmas program in my fancy white and gold sequined leotard. Moving and grooving, I loved it and dance just became everything to me.
From the time I was seven, I'd practically been living my summers up at the local community theater where my mom helped sew costumes. The first time I'd ever seen a live musical, I can remember walking in and seeing rehearsal for Camelot with the choreographer down on the stage calling out steps, the piano pounding out the music and the dancer promenading around the stage in synchronized fashion.
It didn't take me long to figure out that if I stood in the back of the theater, I could dance with them. So I went with Mom every chance I could and learned the entire show in the aisles of the auditorium. When we'd get home I'd put on a one woman show recreating the musical, sang every note, played every part, danced every number. I had a captive audience at home! It was awesome! Year after year we'd go back and I learned South Pacific, Will Rogers Follies, Bye Bye Birdie, and Hello Dolly, I knew them all, every part!
Mom started renting videos of musicals from the library only adding to my new found obsession with musical theater. I learned about Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and my idol, Ginger Rogers. Gosh, I wanted to be Ginger! From then on I knew exactly where I wanted to be when I grew up, in the theater. I got my first shot at a show when I was ten, Child #2 in Showboat. That was it, I was hooked.
I've never lost sight of that dream, though my path might have slightly altered. I've performed in a variety of places, earned a BS in dance and arts management and an MFA in dance then segued into teaching performers and setting choreography. Not matter what though, I've stayed true to my desire to be in the world of entertainment.
Flash forward *ahem* many years later, I'm opening a show in the same theater I started in only this time behind the scenes as choreographer! It's really special to come back to the place that inspired me as a kid, my theater home, working with folks that watched me grow up. What's more is that I know if I could go back and tell my seven year old self all that she will do, she'd be pretty proud of me.
Happy dress and opening night to all the cast of crew of Crazy for You down at Garland Summer Musicals!
In honor, a few of my favorite past openings and shows!
Performer? Ever dreamed of being on stage? What's your favorite role or moment in the lime light?