I dropped the budding actress with a small case of nerves off at the theater and waited in the parking lot for my date. Tonight was opening night of "Those Were The Days," but the curtain wasn't going up for an hour and a half. My husband picked me up and we headed off for a quick slice of wood fired pizza and a Peroni. Pizza was delicious but I was too conscious of the time to enjoy the great cheese and fresh herbs. I might have enjoyed the beer.
Boxed up the extra slices and headed to the theater to watch our April daughter in her first big theater performance outside school. Truthfully, she's only had a few performances in school; this seemed so much bigger. Real lights, tech people, upholstered seats, tickets, a stage. She told me once, when I urged her to try out for the freshman field hockey team because she had years of experience playing that game, "Mom, that's your dream, not mine." She played in every game that year. Tonight was her dream. She's always danced like Britney, sang to all the hits, pop, country, and rock, and had a knack for playing mean girls. Her role as Cindy, the cheerleader has a little of e) all of the above. Double dream.
I watched, my Thursday coffee friend on one side and my husband on the other and laughed at all the right times and often. The musical comedy was a bit about high school cliques and characters, complete with a principal who doesn't realize the students are running the school. Our star was a sassy, cheerleading star. No case of the nerves was evident. All lines were recited with comedic timing, and everyone fell together in a dance off at the end with all the right moves.
No easy feat for this ensemble formed seven months ago as the "Showcase" group for the Arlington Inclusive Theater Company. The actors on stage, save a few "mentors" happen to have intellectual disabilities. Ages range from 18-??? They are all young at heart and it's obvious they are all sharing this dream to perform.
I couldn't get over how far they'd come in a few months. I couldn't imagine how much work their directors and producers put into getting everyone to tonight. They had taken shy, quiet adults and had them looking out into a crowd with mischievous grins while they stood in the right spot on stage. Great show. It's going to have a good run.