My daughters are both in a musical theater class. They go to class for 2 hours every week, and the season culminates in a show they all put on in a real theater. Everyone has some part – whether it’s a bigger speaking part, a song and dance, or background glee singers and dancers. (The background glee is one class and the bigger parts are the other class, where they audition to get in.) My girls got “smaller” parts for this show, but this was their first time around. (And honestly, their parts were bigger than I realized upon seeing the show.) I told them I was excited for them and couldn’t wait to see the show (which was 100% true).
I love that they’re in the class. They have a lot of fun and are meeting some new kids. They’re learning the art of performing, that not every audience is the same, how to quick change, and stage presence to say the least. They’re also learning that rehearsals, as long and arduous as they can be, pay off with a great show!
They were part of a recording session.
They rehearsed in studio.
They got fitted for costumes, and started having their rehearsals at the theater. They had one dress rehearsal for theater folk the day before Opening Night.
Opening Night was sold out fast – easy to do in a 72-seat theater. My cousin, Jen, and her daughter and two friends came to the show. Also in the audience was our second grade teacher and some friends.
Opening Night went very well. I got to sneak in the back of the theater and see parts of the show. I missed a bit when I went to get the girls’ flowers.
The next day they had THREE shows. 12:30, 3:00, and 5:30. That’s a lot of shows for kids, and it showed. Their 3pm show was a little sleepy. And a few things went wrong. Like seeing actors backstage.
I was in the audience for this show. I noticed a few actors were a little sleepy, including my youngest. I also saw her and several other kids in the wings backstage. So did one of the heads of the studio. In fact, she used my daughter as an example to everyone else. She said she saw other girls backstage, but she brought Maddie in front of the whole group and pointed at her and yelled at her.
This brought out the mama lion in me. I felt my face get red and hot. I felt anger and defensiveness raise up within me. I wanted to stand up for her – even though she was one of the offenders, I saw SEVERAL people backstage, including some of the main players. I simply said, “I was in the audience and saw almost everyone backstage at different parts of the show.”
This is when I started to feel conflicted.
I don’t want to be a stage mom. I sure as hell don’t want to be a Dance Mom.
So, after complaining to a mom friend, I decided to take a few deep breaths and shake it off. My daughter wasn’t letting it bother her at all – why was it bothering me so much?
We both shook it off and the kids all had some cookies and got ready for the last show. The moms backstage were asked to monitor the actors better to make sure they don’t go backstage until it’s absolutely time to go on, but my daughter took her notes to heart – she stayed far away from the stage – even when the rest of the girls in her number were backstage and ready. She wasn’t taking ANY chances.
After the show, the other owner of the studio came backstage. (They are sisters.) She came and spoke to me about the girls and classes they were taking. I was impressed that she remembered me and the girls and that she was so encouraging to them. It was so nice after our last run-in with the sister, which still makes me a little uncomfortable. I’m a little worried that she’ll remember us and somehow take it out on the girls and/or I, which would really suck.
So, from now on, I’m going to try to balance my stage mom side with my nice mom side. While I’ll still be a bit protective of the girls, I know that they can handle themselves, and if someone at the studio or the theater is abrupt or brusque, it won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last. And I need to just let my little birdies fly on their own without feeling like I need to step in and bear my teeth.