“Tonight the Supertrooper beams are gonna blind me……” Can NOT get that song out of my head as I am in a state of happy exhaustion after our High School Production of Mamma Mia this past weekend. The show was incredible–our cast really outdid themselves with their extraordinary performances. We had a gift in our show weekend this time, as we were the ONLY cast in the Emelin. We usually have to share the stage with another one of our shows in rep or another booking by the Emelin. But we were the only cast on their stage for four days, allowing us to actually build a set, which was extraordinarily designed by Lance Hallowell (who also designs Horseman’s Hollow for the Hudson Valley at Halloween.) Our costumes, from Donald Birely, were magnificent and our lighting design by Erin O’Brien was gorgeous.
This particular group of kids ALWAYS come through, but the weekend was especially special for me. First off, this semester, I got to work with my dear friend, Megan Osterhaus, who graduated with me from the musical theater program at the University of Central Oklahoma a few years back. Megan has gone on to an illustrious Broadway career that has included “Mary Poppins,” “Les Miserables” and of course, “Mamma Mia.” So, not only did I get to be on the other side of table with this amazing artist that I had spent so much time with, but my students got to do the original Broadway choreography for this show. What a dream!
However, the culmination of the weekend came at the final show, when Megan’s mother and my mentor and college voice teacher, Kay Creed, was present in the audience. While she had been to the studio, Miss Creed had never seen one of my shows and so to have her there watching my students, was truly a full circle moment for me. I knew while studying with her that she was brilliant and I knew over the course of my career that I had learned so much from her. But when I began teaching, it didn’t take long to realize that the words I used to pass on my knowledge of the craft came from her. Miss Creed gave me the language that I continue to use to this day to speak to my students. I shared that with the audience that day, as I introduced Miss Creed before the show.
In the final moments of post-show flowers, amidst tears and joy, one of my Seniors, Rachel, took the microphone and shared with the audience, that while the language I speak was Miss Creed’s, the language that she has learned to speak, came from me. I was blown away.
This is the magic of theater. The gifts that are given from generation to generation are priceless. To have an inpact on young artists is more than I could ever dreamed of, as a young student in Miss Creed’s studio. I will never forget this weekend, as long as I live. And I am honored and privileged to call this my life’s work.