Dec 31, 2012

Bird's-Eye View of the Week: On with the Show!

Don't you love it when homeschooling allows you to cover several subjects through pure entertainment (and  almost no prep)? A theater performance covers art, literature, culture, and often music just to think of a few.          This holiday season we found ourselves immersed in the The-ah-tah, a place I find myself perfectly comfortable. I was raised by a former off-Broadway actress and her husband who both valued the arts. My father's holiday tradition was to take me first for lunch at the historic five-star Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington, DC and then to see "The Nutcracker" at the venerable D.A.R. Constitution Hall. My Dallas grandparents would treat their visiting granddaughter to several shows at the Dallas Summer Musicals. I think I've seen almost all of the Rogers and Hammersteins, a staging of "The Sound of Music," and in 1971 was seated in the Kennedy Center box next to Leonard Bernstein at the premiere of his controversial musical, "Mass."
Finding family in"Annie"
   While we weren't at anything like the KenCen over our break, what we did take in was so heart-warming it didn't matter where we were. Our first show was "Annie" performed in our very own church, a show that we ourselves had considered auditioning for. "Annie" tells the story of an orphaned girl seeking her birth parents, an idea that is probably true at least in the hearts of most adopted children. It was therefore poignant for us and allowed for some discussion. It also was a balm to our frayed spirits that it opened the night of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CN. Children singing 'The sun will come out tomorrow" was something we all needed to hear.
    Next stop was Mei's cousin's performance in "The Nutcracker." She has been dancing for at least 10 years now and dazzles us with her ever-increasing skill and her 100-watt smile. It was a great opportunity for Mei to be in front of the curtain for a change. Having danced in several Nutcrackers over the years, I realized she knew little about how it looks when it's all strung together!
   Finally our local homeschool co-op organized a group trip to the Olney Dinner Theater to see good ol' Rogers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella." I had been raised on annual televised showings of it as a child with Lesley Anne Warren as a rather simpering 'Ella. My friend and I who shared her given name (no, my name is not Robin) always felt she was an insult to Leslies everywhere. So it was so refreshing to witness this spunky, self-assured Princess-in-the-Making . Even more "charming" was the photo opp afterward with the star and her pumpkin coach! As exciting as seeing Leonard Bernstein! (well, almost)
   Of course, the best "show" of all was the candlelight service on an unexpectedly snowy Christmas Eve. The meaning of Christmas. That's a story that's always worth retelling.

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