Photo: Me and the gang in Grease circa 1998
It happened. Sort of casually. Like in a no big deal kind of a way. It happened as if I hadn't been waiting for it. Expecting that one day it would happen.
Last night at dinner, my littlest boy asked me to turn on some music. But not just any music. He asked me to turn on, "the kind of music we like ... you know ... that Broadway music."
Well, folks. My job here is done.
I put on "We Go Together" from Grease, taught my kids the hand jive and called it a night. I think I may have even taught them how to do a pony mount. On each other.
"I love Broadway!" said my tiny dancer.
"It's cool," said his non-plussed brother (half way through the chorus of "At the End of the Day" from the original cast recording of Les Mis. I mean a request was a request, I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by).
I put them to bed singing "Raindrops on Roses ..." and felt terrific.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not looking for my kids to get bit by the biz ... no, no, no, I'm not crazy. Or masochistic. No. It's just that I unabashedly love show tunes and I unabashedly love my children and for those two loves to find each other is extraordinarily satisfying.
When I was about 15 years old my mom brought me home a tape of Elaine Paige in Sunset Boulevard. She also brought me the book of "vocal selections." Not since Annie had I been so enthralled. I spent hours at the piano - audio cassette on constant rewind - learning all of Ms. Paige's show-stopping songs. A teenager (possibly wearing a makeshift turban) singing "With One Look" in her living room, does not imagine in that moment an adult life steeped in theatre. Nor can she fathom children of her own who will one day ask her to "play that song again." That teenager, in that moment, is just thinking about whether or not a song intended for an aging alto British woman would be an appropriate audition piece for West Side Story at high school (ANSWER: NO).
So, it's not that I want my kids to get goose bumps every time "Wick" from Secret Garden plays (though I always will; Dicken I love you), it's just totally fun to share the music I love with an appreciative audience. Maybe not from a well lit stage eight shows a week for now, but at least in a warm kitchen over chicken and green beans every once in a while.