Monday, March 2, 2009

From There to Here

People kept telling me that the production was so professional and that I really must see it.

So I did.

On Saturday, I took my daughter and her friend to our local high school production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

I wouldn't exactly call it professional. It had all the hallmarks of a high school musical including wandering actors who can't stand still, tentative gestures that don't convey anything, and red sweat pants.

Yeah, red sweat pants. The actor playing Gaston had on these ghastly red, baggy sweatpants that did not compliment his green velvet vest. He resembled a rejected elf. What really bothered me about the sweatpants is that every other actor had perfectly fine pants. Lumiere sported gold metallic pants as the candelabra and the Prince had nice velvet black ones. Why did they feel the need to put poor Gaston in some one's hand-me-downs?

During intermission I asked my daughter what she thought of the show and she replied, "The singing is good."

Ouch! But then, she mostly sees professional productions. In fact, she only sees professional productions.

On Sunday, I went into downtown Philly to catch one of the last performances of A Streetcar Names Desire at the Walnut Street Theatre. It was wonderful and I loved every minute of it which was good because it was 3 hours long.

As I made my way home after Streetcar, I thought about the two very different shows I had seen. And I thought about my own high school productions. I realized that my memory of those plays was that they were really, really good. I did a great job as the nurse in Harvey and our production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat rocked. Even today I still believe that.

I don't remember or I've blotted out any wandering feet or red sweat pants. I do have warm, fuzzy feelings of being a part of an ensemble and working together to create a show and it was magical and it felt professional.

I'd bet almost every actor in Streetcar has memories of high school productions or at least of the first time they stepped on stage. They probably were not very good that first time but they had to start somewhere.

After Beauty and The Beast, my daughter and her friend recounted all the parts of the show they had liked. They ignored the other parts. They had the right idea. When you look at those parts: the great singing, gorgeous sets, cute dance numbers, it was pretty professional, ambitious and magical. So I admit I was wrong to judge that production so harshly.
And who knows where those kids from the show might end up someday....screaming "Stella" perhaps? Well, hopefully without the red sweat pants.


  1. So true. I remember our JUNIOR high school rendition of West Side Story actually brought me to tears and you can imagine how amateurish that was. I always remember that these kids are carrying a full course load, some have part-time jobs, some are preparing for SATs, some are on sports teams or in other societies. How do they do that all, plus learn lines, choreography, stage management, etc. Pretty impressive if they manage to pull it off at all.

  2. I couldn't agree more. I wish I had been thinking of that when I saw the show. But realizing it now, I am impressed with what I saw.

  3. You are an awesome blogger!!!!!!! Clara

  4. Niskayuna did Beauty and the Beast a few years back. I took the girls at the last minute and we ended up w/ front row seats. They loved it and Belle is still Libby's favorite princess.
    I remember it being a pretty good production (but what do I know?!) red sweatpants to ruin the moment! Michelle