The School Talent Show: A cacophony of singing voices lofty and low, mixed with toe taps, sequins, and stage moms. I spent so many years as the auditioner, that the flood of tummy butterflies and adrenalin for a performer is old hat. I can navigate it with a few deep breaths and a reality check.
Now put my daughter on stage or in an audition and it’s like going from a tricycle to a Harley. The experience is in a class all its own! The stage mom is an interesting animal, though, and I refuse to become one. Outwardly at least…
Our county has a huge charity talent showcase every year, showcasing many children in grades K-12. Last year, my first-grade Hip Chick said to me out of the blue, “Mom, I want to sing on stage this year.” So being a vocal coach and music teacher, of course I was really happy. I’ve tried so hard not to push the girls into performing or put undue pressure on them, though. Despite my attempt, they are just meant for the stage!
Last summer, I thought I would steer Hip Chick (7), Princess (5), and Little Pea (3) toward a sport, so I bought them a tee, bat and ball. After 10 minutes of playing the right way, they proceeded to transform the tee into a microphone and belt out Hannah Montana songs all over the neighborhood!
So last year, HipChick sang “Castle on a Cloud” from Les Miserables, and quite well, if I do say so myself! (hear last year’s performance below) We had a wonderful costume and set, and even smeared ‘dirt’ on my little Eponine’s face. As I prepared HipChick for her audition, I told myself, “OK, this is it! You cannot turn into a backstage lurker who insists that her child enter every show- and win!” Of course, that’s not my personality, but I do want her to succeed so badly, it’s overwhelming sometimes.
She got in the show, which was great – in some ways. I prayed that her first success would not set her up for unrealistic expectations in future auditions, as I repeated the mantra, “Just do your best, and whatever happens, you’ll be proud!”
So here we are at the second year of auditioning. This year, we chose an equally cute, but less theatrical song, called “Be Kind to Your Parents.” I thought I might be less compulsive about lurking at the backstage door, but alas. After dropping Hip Chick off at the music room door, and being perfectly content to wait outside, I heard her music start. The minute the sound waves hit my ear, ‘Stage Mom’ took over, although she managed to disguise herself rather well as ‘Well-Adjusted Mom.’ That is, until one of the other moms chimed in, “Don’t you want to watch? You can see through little this window.”
That was all it took! I crept over to the door, crouching down so ‘Stage Mom’ wouldn’t blow her cover. I stealthfully witnessed my sweet songbird belt out the lyrics, then transformed in time for HipChick to greet ‘Well-Adjusted Mom’ in the hall. Walking away, I repeated the mantra, “You did your best…” Inside, I thought I would burst if she didn’t make it.
I guess you can take the mom out of the stage, but… well, you know the rest.