My son began his foray into theater when he was in the sixth grade – the first one being A Child’s Day in Rome. The production proved to be extremely memorable because my son, who had spent years participating in baseball, hockey, football and soccer and never once revealed any, what I like to call, “fire in the belly” for a single one of them, showed some preternatural acting chops when he wound up “feeding the lines” to his rather shell-shocked co-lead.
There they stood, both clad in white sheets all draped in early-Greek style, and he’d say his lines before waiting patiently for her to say something…anything. Recognizing her trouble, he’d casually lean in and pop words in her ear, which would come out of her mouth, slowly and effort-filled. He had memorized his lines and her lines.
“You have the next Brad Pitt,” a few mothers would say to me after the performance ended. I noticed something, too.
I saw that “fire in the belly” for the first time when he got a callback for the role of Luis in The King and I with a local community theater company when he was in seventh grade. “It’s on,” he said as he strode into the audition room, script in hand.
There it is, I thought to myself. His passion was revealed.
He not only did a cold-read for five people whom he had never met, but he also had to pick up a score and sing a song he had never sung before. Whoa! I could never do that!
I heard the piano start to play and I headed for the hills, well, maybe the end of the corridor—the pressure was just too much.
The call came the next evening—the role was his!
And so it began, our journey with auditions, callbacks, lead roles, ensemble roles, photo ops, blocking, Spotlight Awards, smiles and disappointments.
Some of the best memories of my life so far have been watching him find himself in the litany of roles he’s played on stage: Luis, Charlie Brown, Banquo, Wickersham Brother, The Cat in the Hat, and many others.
Since that first performance, he has performed in 14 other shows in schools, community theater, and has acted in a sitcom at his college. Broadcast Journalism is what he’s pursuing at the University of Missouri, but he got his start, and realized his passion, on the stage.
So, if you’re interested in watching other kids who have kicked their passions into high gear, check out the numerous productions – both at Edina High School and in the community – put on by the talented kids from the Edina Thespians program. Read our story on the high school theater group in our March issue or visit edinamag.com starting March 1.