Putting on a show before a live audience is a thrill for any performer. But, to look out in that sea of faces and find someone familiar gives it an extra punch. It means so much to these young actors and actresses to feel the support of family, friends and mentors. After the first few scenes you might hear an excited proclamation back stage, “I saw my choir teacher in the front row!” It puts an extra zing in the step to be sure.
We are very appreciative to have had several family members and friends attend the Annie Jr. production at the FMCT. But yesterday was a special day for my daughter Tessa when almost the entire audience was made up of the student body from her elementary school, including the whole 3rd grade and it’s teachers. Annie Jr. was scheduled to perform seven matinees for schools throughout the 14 show run. It was happenstance that Tessa’s school had already signed up to see the show before she had even auditioned. We didn’t know how lucky it was until we learned that all the school matinees were sold out before rehearsals began in December!
At this particular matinee she could look in any direction and see someone she knew. I snapped pictures after the show with her teacher and some classmates. Even though there wasn’t a meet and greet with the cast we were in the right place to see her schoolmates as they filed out. She got hugs from teachers and so many nice words from fellow students:
“Great job Tessa!”
“You were awesome!”
“I saw you the whole time!”
“Tessa you rocked it!”
It was surprising, humbling and elevating. She commented, “Mom, even 4th graders were saying stuff to me!” Tessa was feeling the love, and was so proud to have them all there. I couldn’t help thinking what a nice bunch of kids. I was proud of her and the school kids too. Her whole class was so supportive during the audition process, really pulling for her. They were curious and complimentary during rehearsal time, and excited to finally see the show.
She will have missed four days of school in order to make all the matinee performances during the week. We can’t thank her teacher enough for being organized and making sure she had the opportunity to do all her make-up work ahead of time! (Mrs. Parker - thank you! A relief to not have a week’s worth of homework hanging over our heads!)
Today she brought home some notes friends had written to her before they saw the show and after. They are so darn cute it must be put into print:
“Good luck on your play!!! You aren’t the star of the show but you’re the most exciting part for me! P.S. If I were the casting director I would so pick you for ANNIE over anyone. You are the best actor I’ve ever seen, under 10th grade of course (actually the best). Also, you will do great!! Be the theatrical Tessa I know! Love, your biggest fan”
Before: “Good luck Tessa. I hope you remembered your lines. You’ll do great and I will be cheering you on. P.S. Don’t disappoint me! Just kidding! I’m your biggest fan.”
After: “Great job Tessa! You did great. You should be on a show called ‘How to Act.’ You must have worked really hard and you didn’t disappoint me. I can’t wait to see you in another play. P.S. You are a star!”
What great friends! As a performer it just feels good to know that there is someone (or many someones) sitting out there in that audience who already think you’re a star. I know she feels the same way about them too!
Thanks to all our family, friends and community for the support!