It’s my mom’s birthdaaaaaay!! Happy birthday, Mom!! Thanks for being the weirdest, and subsequently handing that weirdness down to my sister and me! We looooooove yoooooou!
Speaking of my mom, one of the prompts I got when I polled Facebook for blog-entry subjects was “What are the pros and cons of having pretty much your whole family in theater?” The thing is, I feel like that question suggests that I’ve got this pack of artistes around me all the time — parents and grandparents and cousins and siblings all treading the boards or working behind the scenes in some capacity — when that’s not exactly the case. My grandmother played steel guitar in a country-western band for nearly her entire life, but that’s the extent of my extended family’s performance experience. My sister tolerates, and often even enjoys, attending musicals, but participation is not her bag. My step-dad doesn’t seem to mind working on shows, but I wouldn’t say it’s a passion of his. He’s a music man (he’s a what? HE’S A WHAT?), and theatrical orchestras just happen to be one facet of the larger whole. He’s into marching band, and jazz ensembles, and instrumentalists, and the symphony. My mom’s the one for whom musicals aren’t just a sideline, but a vocation, an obsession, and a necessity. She’s the one who would play Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera in the car nonstop when I was a bitty li’l thing. She’s the one who took me to see professional tours from the time I was four. And I have zero memory of a time in my life when my mom wasn’t working on a show, be it as the choreographer, a performer, or, more recently, the director. It’s our common ground, and in regards the original question, there is absolutely no con. The thing I love most in the world — the silly, frivolous, inexplicable thing — is also the thing my mom loves, and even better, understands. Tech rehearsals, botched auditions, costume woes, weird audiences…she’s been there, and she gets it. It is always something we’ll share, and it’ll always be the gift she gave me.
Okay, that’s enough treacle, please enjoy this picture of my bomb-ass gene-pool putting all y’all’s forebears to shame: