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The Music Man

Last year I told you about my daughter the director.  Now it appears that we have another budding thespian in the family.

My youngest son was selected last winter to play the part of Winthrop in a Sikeston Little Theatre production of “The Music Man.”  It was his first play.  He had always been a little shy, so I wasn’t sure how well he would handle being in the spotlight.

As it turned out, he handled it pretty well.  In fact, I want to tell you a couple of “behind the scenes” stories.  If you’re interested in those, continue reading below the video.

This video consists of six excerpts from the play, beginning with the introduction just before the opening curtain (read by my son as Winthrop, with his trademark lisp).  The clip includes “Gary, Indiana” and a portion of “Wells Fargo Wagon.”  Keep in mind that this is a small town amateur theater; it’s a lot of fun, but it’s still amateur through and through.

Two things about my son’s effort during this adventure made me very proud.  The first was his unassuming attitude.

He was the youngest boy trying out for the part, and he knew that his age and inexperience probably put him at a disadvantage.  The kids were allowed to sing anything they wanted for their tryout.  Since Winthrop has a lisp in the play, my wife wisely selected “All I Want for Christmas” for his tryout.  As you might expect a shy eight year old boy to do, he stood on stage with his hands in his pockets, blinded by the bright stage lights and looking a little timid, and started to sing.

He blew me away.  He nailed every note, and by the time he got to the failed whistle attempt that comes right after “if I could only whith-le,” everyone in the theater roared.  That caught him off guard, but he quickly regained his composure and finished the song.  The audience clapped and cheered enthusiastically.  He seemed genuinely surprised at the response he received.  His unassuming child-likeness was the first thing that made me very proud.

(We found out later that they had intended to have 2 or 3 of the leading contenders for the part come back a few days later and read for the part.  But the directors were so pleased with Micah’s tryout that they didn’t call anyone else back.)

The second thing that made me proud also makes me wonder whether I did the right thing.  Micah started getting sick on the final weekend of performances.  He didn’t feel well Friday and came down with a fever Saturday.

That created a tremendous dilemma for me.  My first instinct was to pull him out of the play and let him rest, but there was no one who could take his place.  He only made it though the Saturday and Sunday performance with Tylenol and breathing treatments.  By the time we took him to the doctor on Monday morning, he was right on the verge of pneumonia.

I felt terrible.  I still don’t know whether we did the right thing.  But that leads me to the second thing that made me proud.  He was such a trooper.  He was extremely sick, but he was the one who wanted to keep going, and I think he gave his best performances those last two days.

Postscript

That was a grueling experience.  Since the “Music Man” was an adult play, the practices were long and late for a third grader.  We decided to take a break and sit out the next couple of plays.  But…

A few weeks ago, he auditioned for a part in a children’s version of “A Christmas Carol.”  I’m pleased to announce he’ll be appearing at The Sikeston Little Theatre this December as Ebenezer Scrooge.  Bah! Humbug!

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