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Late to the Hamilton Party

So, I’ve been wanting to see “Hamilton” for some time now.

I’ve seen friends fly to New York and see it, travel to Chicago to see it, and lots and lots and lots of friends see it here in Los Angeles. My husband has a great aversion to spending so much money on tickets. I have to say that I don’t blame him to a degree. 

See, tickets to Hamilton here in L.A. START at $358 for seats in the back. They go up to $1520. (To compare, “Aladdin” tickets at the same theater start at $90. “School of Rock” at the same theater starts at $58.) Granted, I don’t expect them to be as cheap as that, but trying to get decent seats for all 5 of us would be a few thousand dollars.

I decided to try for the lottery. It would only be two tickets, but it would be cool if we got to go- at least my husband and I. Stupidly, perhaps, I mostly shot for weekends, because trying to go to Hollywood during the week is so difficult. If I had it to do all over again, I’d try for every single day.

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This became a regular message to pop up on my phone.

Soooooo, knowing this, I held off on getting the music. I (mistakenly) thought I shouldn’t get the music before seeing the show. (This is what I did for “Wicked,” “Into the Woods,” and other shows we’ve seen.)

My husband, knowing that I’d been trying to get tickets via the lottery, bought me two things that have changed everything.

  1. This speaker. Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 3.55.36 PM
  2. This!  Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 3.57.06 PM

Luckily, he knew I’d want to combine the two, and play it loudly in the house, so he bought me the “clean” version. 😉 My 12-year-old loves it almost as much as I do, and we sing it all the time. She’s got her favorites, and so do I (this can be another post, if necessary).

BOY, all I have to say is that I’ve been depriving myself of listening to this soundtrack for TOO LONG. I’m so happy I have it and can listen to it whenever I feel like it. It truly is amazing, and I am going to figure out how to get tickets to this at some point in my lifetime (hopefully not too far into the future).

Go ahead, you may mock me. I’m late to the party, but I’m FINALLY AT THE PARTY.




Life’s Like A Shakespeare Play…

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Or at least it was last week.

My daughters are part of a musical theater ensemble here in town. They love it! They first joined after seeing a friend in one of the shows. They were enchanted immediately and wanted to try it.

They have had a ton of fun doing these shows. As the mom, I would honestly not mind if they took a semester off. There are a LOT of rehearsals and long hours and missed plans because of the rehearsals. The week before the show is BRUTAL, with rehearsals every night for 3+ hours, in the midst of homework, projects, Open Houses at school, and even state testing. Mom’s exhausted.

But Mom also loves to see her girls on stage, and the girls LOVE doing it – so we continue, as frustrating as it can be.

Their first show was a take on Cinderella.

My older daughter was a page,

Poor girl gets to wear a heavy coat all during the show.

Poor girl gets to wear a heavy coat all during the show.

My younger daughter was a “Calypso Cleaner” (you’d have to see the show to understand).IMG_3643

Once they got the bug – that was it! They took the summer off and in the fall they had a new holiday show to learn.


After “North Pole Radio” was “Toad,” where one daughter is a weasel and the other is a stoat and a hedgehog.

Oh yeah... and a tree and a bush. :P

Oh yeah… and a tree and a bush. 😛

That show was when my older daughter really broke out of her shell and brought the comedy. That lead to her getting a bigger part in the next show, “It’s a Dickens.”


She was a mean lady who ran an orphanage (where my younger daughter was an orphan).


My older daughter was also George Bernard Shaw. (so she’s been a boy in 3 plays now – counting the weasel)

This spring brought another boy part for the older, and a go-go for the younger. “Summer Dreamin'” was a musical, 60s style version of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It was tons of fun.

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My mother once said I was living out my own dreams in my children. I don’t agree. While I always loved to act and dance, I’ve never been comfortable at singing. And I don’t know if I would have been as patient and as adapting as my girls have been. They long for the bigger parts, and I’m hoping they’re coming up in the future for them.

Though, no matter what happens, what’s the saying? There are no small parts, only small actors.

There’s a Fine Line Between Stage Mom and Just Mom…

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There’s a Fine Line Between Stage Mom and Just Mom…

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.

The musical theater class ready for their recording session.

The musical theater class ready for their recording session.


They rehearsed in studio.

Cute girls practicing their musical number. My girl is the only blonde.

Cute girls practicing their musical number. My girl is the only blonde.

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.

Little girls ready for their dress rehearsal.

Little girls ready for their dress rehearsal.


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.



Checking costumes.

Checking costumes.


Poor girl gets to wear a heavy coat all during the show.

Poor girl gets to wear a heavy coat all during the show.



The girls with their cousin and her friends.

The girls with their cousin and her 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.


So They Think They Can Dance

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My daughters have been taking tap class since September (or is it October?). They love it. My youngest, Maddie, tried ballet last year and liked it, but didn’t love it. I think the main reason she enjoyed it so much was that two of her best buds from preschool were in it with her.

Her class last year led to a big show the studio does every June. Her class were “Indian Jewels.”

This year, my older daughter, Grace, expressed interest in tap dance, which was great! I was excited, because it was such a different thing for her and I was glad she wanted to dance.
(A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I danced in high school. I didn’t have a lot of training, but boy did I have fun.)

Maddie, who loves her sister and wanted to dance in some capacity, said she wanted to try tap, too. So, I set out to enroll them and bought 2 cute pairs of little girl tap shoes, and they were off! Gracie loves shuffling and doing her tap movements even in bare and sock feet.

2 girls, ready to tap.

So we went to class, and they tapped.

My two girls are the only blondes.

And they tapped.

We moved to the Saturday AM class, which was smaller.

And they finally learned a routine.

This weekend culminated in the Dress Rehearsal and the show.

I volunteered to help backstage.

A pic from the wings of rehearsal.

That was our one shot to see some of the other numbers, too, since we’re backstage the whole rest of the show. One of my favorites was a number they did featuring Rapunzel and the lanterns, from “Tangled.” I took a few photos, but none of them turned out great. Suffice it to say that it was really pretty- girls came out with lit lanterns ON THEIR HEADS. It was cool.

Saturday was the big show. The girls had one last opportunity to practice with their teacher.

And then, before we knew it, it was time to get ready and head to the theater.

Two girls, stage makeup on, ready to go.

The “Lion King” girls getting ready to go backstage.

We had ballerinas and even Star Wars characters in our room at times.

Across the hall were the younger ballerinas. They’re in their “Zorro” costumes.

We finally got called to go backstage, because it was almost our turn!

The girls on stage. (Gracie’s the highest one on the left, in pink. Maddie’s on the far right, in blue.)

Their number was “Step in Time” from “Mary Poppins.”

side note: I realize I’m completely messing up on what titles get quotes and which don’t, and I apologize profusely but am too tired to look them up. Thank you for understanding.

All done, the girls can relax now.

Even though being a volunteer was crazy and chaotic for ME, I’m so glad I got to be there for the girls. It really enhanced our experience to be together. Their daddy and brother and grandparents were in the audience, which was extra special.

The girls and my parents.

Pretty soon, all the girls were taken to the waiting area next to the stage, to wait for the finale. (In my opinion – and all the moms’ opinions I think – it was far too soon. Keeping all these girls quiet for 4 songs was a little much.)

Waiting, waiting, waiting, all the while dancers were rushing on and off stage.

Two of the older dancers almost ready for “Masquerade” – the final number.

Finally, everyone took their curtain calls, and it was over. It was late, and everyone was hungry, so we went out to eat. Before Maddie was able to finish her food, she was out.

Who knows how long they’ll continue to dance. All I know is I love watching them do it – and have fun with it.