Walking up to the Orpheum Theatre on Monday night, I noticed that my heart started to pump with excitement when I saw on the marquee that the show was sold out!
How exciting to know that my daughter would be on the stage of a show that was sold out!
I need to step back…
The Spotlight Showcase is an event put on by the Hennepin Theatre Trust as part of their education and community engagement arm. (Side note: it would be so fun to work for them!!!) It highlights excellence in Minnesota high school musical theatre, and students from 56 schools – metro area schools as well as schools from as far away as Bemidji – participated in this program this year. Next year, the list of participating schools will grow, and we were told at the event that next year there will be two showcase nights.
Judges anonymously attend productions throughout the year and evaluate the productions on many levels. There are several awards that Spotlight judges give to schools ranging from dance performance to community involvement. Schools whose productions receive an outstanding overall production award send their entire cast to perform a medley from their production. For me, this is a great way to see what is out there in musicals. I had no idea that there was a musical titled Urinetown until Monday night.
Judges also evaluate the performances of individual students from each production and choose outstanding performers as well as honorable mention performers. These groups of students have the thrill of being part of one or more numbers on the Orpheum stage during the showcase production. The students spend a few days prior to the production practicing together and working with professional choreographers and musical directors.
My sweet girl received an honorable mention for her performance of the pastor’s wife in Footloose this year. The huz and I were so proud and wish that she had been able to sing her solo for everyone that night. However, as we sat in audience and saw the number of students with great talent performing alongside of our girl, we realized that, although the girl is talented, so are many others from around the state. We sat in room full of other proud parents and family members, and we had no way to get the girl’s picture while she was on stage during the performance. We just sat and glowed with that acceptable parental pride.
Fortunately, I was quick at the ready with my phone camera at the end of Sunday’s rehearsal – the one on the Orpheum Stage. To the left, you will see my sweet girl along with Julianne, the gracious choreographer who assisted me in convincing the girl to pose for the picture. The girl was trying to give me a hard time for wanting the picture.
“This is a big deal,” I said – hoping that would convince her. Julianne was off to the side and heard me say that. She agreed and popped into the picture. How could the girl turn down this professional choreographer?
One of the things that came out over and over during the showcase was the impact of adults on students through theatre. Julianne’s thirty second support of a crazy photo pushed my girl to realize that performing on the Orpheum stage is a big deal.
And it is. How many people in Minnesota can say that they have performed on that stage?
So – I want to thank the Hennepin Theatre Trust and all who support it with their time and their finances. You gave me, as a mom, a very proud moment. More importantly, though, you gave my daughter something that I could never have imagined as part of her path – the chance to feel honored for her talent and to perform on an amazing stage.
Funny moment from the evening: When we got to our car to head home, the girl share with us a little tidbit: the dressing rooms have bathrooms. Did she use them? Of course – if you have the chance to use the bathroom in an Orpheum dressing room, how could you pass that up?
Related posts from the production time of Footloose in November 2011: