When I was little, my teenaged sister would sing "Put on a Happy Face" to me when I got pouty. It never worked to clear up my gray skies, it was just hugely annoying, though I do have to admit it's the perfect song for a pouty kiddo. I had no idea the song came from a musical and I certainly never dreamed I would have a beautiful daughter with a beautiful voice who would get a part in that musical.
I always knew my sweet girl had a lovely voice, but when she auditioned for our homeschool group's musical production of Bye Bye Birdie, the heretofore hidden talent came to light. We'll never forget that audition day ... her hopes that she really did have a gift were confirmed. It was so exciting when she was cast in the musical as part of an ensemble that plays a big part in the story line.
Auditions were a year ago, rehearsals began in earnest last fall and culminated in three performances over the weekend. Abbie played a crazed teenaged fan girl, completely dedicated to and wholly enamored with the legendary Conrad Birdie (think Elvis Presley). Her character was so not her real self ... it was hilarious to see her behave in a way she never would in real life.
The costumes were rented and the full skirts, keds and bobby socks were like a time machine. The zipper on Abbie's dress gave her trouble all week long, and finally broke during the last rehearsal. Fortunately, the girls were required to wear "proper underpinnings" and there was no dramatic wardrobe malfunction. I did minor mending on several dresses, but zippers are advanced sewing, and after some frantic texts and email messages, we found a mom who could bring her sewing machine to Enrichment classes Friday morning and replace the zipper just in time for the first show. This woman is my hero.
Between the Saturday afternoon and evening shows there was pizza, lots of laughing and games. I've known some of these kids since they were in elementary school and it's a strange and wonderful thing to see them growing up so fast ... so. so. FAST. But in all the very best ways.
With three brothers and a cousin who's like a brother, Abbie's natural habitat is boys. The girl's dressing room was a different world, all hair spray and makeup and hair brushes and "let me curl your hair."
She got three bouquets of flowers and was even asked for her autograph. As family and friends gathered around, there may or may not have been happy/sad/exhilarated/overwhelmed tears after the last performance.
But she put on her happy face before I could break out into song.