As parents we don’t always get to choose our own obsessions. One of my favorite parts of parenthood is being taken along for the ride on my son’s activities. This currently includes musical theater. He began musical theater with a role as the Dodo Bird in a school production of Alice in Wonderland Junior when he was ten years old. Three years, eights shows, and one cabaret later, he is playing Augustus Gloop in Willie Wonka Junior at a local theater. This week’s obsession is musical theater and the comedy and tragedy of being a theater parent.
Comedic: Watching your child on stage in front of scores of people in clothes and makeup that he wouldn’t be caught dead wearing otherwise.
Tragic: Finding and purchasing said clothing. Lederhosen for Augustus? No problem. Brown shorts for Kyle from Legally Blonde Junior? Impossible.
Comedic: How you suddenly act like a musical theater connoisseur after spending your whole life thinking musical theater is lame. (This is seriously the best Music Man that you’ve seen and you’ve seen four. No, five.)
Tragic: The theater community is tight-knit and your child will want to support his friends. Expect to see a lot of community theater. A lot.
Comedic: The first time you hear your child rehearsing a song in the shower.
Tragic: The 90th time you hear your child rehearsing a song in the shower.
Comedic: Feeling like young Daniel Radcliffe’s mom when people approach you after the show to compliment your child’s performance.
Tragic: When people approach you after the show to compliment your child’s performance. My son is the extrovert of the family. I am not. My instinct is to scream and run away when a stranger talks to me. Of course I don’t actually do that. Usually.
Comedic: Extracurricular activities are much more intense nowadays. In the theater world this means audition tracks, Playbill bios, voice lessons, cast parties, ticket sales, and hours-long practices. It’s like they are real actors!
Tragic: Extracurricular activities are much more intense nowadays. This means audition tracks, Playbill bios, voice lessons, cast parties, ticket sales, and hours-long practices. It’s like you’re his agent.
Comedic: When a boy’s voice cracks during a show.
Tragic: When your son’s voice cracks during a show. The ride home is not going to be pleasant.
Comedic: Thanks to musical theater, your child’s friends range in age from six to sixty.
Tragic: Some of your child’s other friends will tell him theater is nerdy. Jealousy is not pretty.
Comedic: How upset everyone gets when the show is over. Come on guys, you will be working together again on the next show in a couple of months.
Tragic: How upset everyone gets when one of the kids ages out of the program.
Theater parents, did I leave anything out? Feel free to add your own in the comments below.