I grew up outside Washington D.C. and was introduced to live theater at a very young age. My first live theater experience was seeing “Oklahoma” on stage at the Lisner Auditorium with the great Gordon MacRae playing Curley. I was hooked. I was five years old.
My mother loved show music and she played it constantly on our “stereo” console record player. She even belonged to a record club that sent her new show tune records every month. I loved playing with my toys surrounded by Rodgers and Hammerstein, or Sigmund Romberg music. I could sing all the songs from “Camelot” by the time I was in second grade. While other children were listening to Elvis and Buddy Holly, I was in my own world of musical theater.
Our family outings included afternoon matinee tickets to shows throughout my youth. Mom was all for a deal and matinee tickets were always reduced priced and buying season tickets always saved money back in those days. I saw many famous performers from movies and television on stage doing “summer theater” gigs. I saw Barbara Eden in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Zsa Zsa Gabor in “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds.” Eddie Albert in “Showboat” and many, many more whose names and shows I have forgotten. They were not always great shows but they were live theater and I was young and in heaven!
My third grade teacher decided we would put on “Cinderella” with the Rodgers and Hammerstein music she had on a record. I think Julie Andrews sang the Cinderella part on that record. All the girls wanted to be Cinderella, but I was just looking to get ANY part since I wasn’t a pretty girl and could barely carry a tune.
I was cast as the ugly stepsister with a creaky knee! I was over the moon! I checked out a book to learn how to do stage makeup and sew costumes! I gained so much from that first theater experience even though we were just a bunch of kids play “acting” in our classroom with only our families for our audience, it was rewarding and tons of fun.
Live theater can be a life-long love affair of the heart! We are so blessed to have the Yorkshire Playhouse in our town! You can enjoy live shows at a modest price and even volunteer at any level if you want to be more involved. Make cookies for intermission, work the box office, build sets, sew costumes, act on stage, there are so many ways you can enrich your life volunteering to assist with the live theater experience. I am thankful every day that I can enjoy live theater right here in our town and that I can volunteer for such an awesome goal! So, see you at the theater!