Monday, February 6, 2012

Summer of '01

It was the summer of 2001. I was waiting patiently inline for a callback audition for the summer community theatre production of Annie. Inside I was filled with excitement and anticipation, I mean I had just finished a riveting portrayal of Golde in Fiddler on the 15 years old. Outside, I probably looked a bit like Tracy Turnblad mixed with Napoleon Dynamite. A little big, a little awkward, and probably wearing a tee-shirt that said "Future Broadway Star". I was clutching my Broadway Hits for Tenors songbook and nervously eyeing my competition. I was a showgirl at heart, but extremely shy and had yet to discover a flatiron or a good box dye. As I was staring off into space just dreaming that they would decide to cast a bit young for Miss. Hannigan a voice caught me off guard.
"Hey! Im Billy, this is Sara, and this is Jason! Whats your name?!"
I looked over my shoulder and there was a group of 3 people sitting next to me.
"Uhhmmm....Elise" I replied. These people were definitely showgirls inside AND out. I was nervous, I didn't know what to say, I also had no clue that this moment would really change my life.
"Well, Elise.." said Billy "We are just sitting here trying to liven the joint up a bit, and really think a production number of "Summer Nights" from Grease is appropriate, do you know the words?"
"YES!" I Replied "I actually played Jan last year!"
"Perfect!" Said Billy "By the way.." he continued "I'm going to call you Jan!"
At that moment I forgot about how self conscious I was, I forgot about the intense amount of fear I had for the dance combination, I forgot about every little bit of high school bullshit that made me feel "different". These people spoke my language, the universal language of showtunes. If we were going to do this number, we were going to do it right. I believe we found a picnic table, perched up on it (side saddle of course), and sang. Tell me more, tell me more, it was love at first sight. I belonged.
That summer, Summer of '01 as it was infamously called was filled with moments just like this. My heart was so full, for once I had found people who understood me, who despite my outward appearance KNEW that inside I had the heart of a middle aged show queen, and that I yearned to wear lashes and Max Factor panstick daily....and a good brooch. My new friends were introduced to my old friends, and new memories were made.
We had sleepovers that only consisted of binge eating, watching Little Shop of Horrors or Spice World, and makeovers. Oh the makeovers. Some of the boys were flirting with the idea of beauty school and I loved being the model. I was able to sport the full face and big hair I dreamed of, all the while helping my friends achieve their dreams! We laughed a lot, of course we argued, but most of all we accepted each other. Nothing shocked us, dispite how we felt about ourselves we all had open minds and open hearts.
I don't know why I was inspired to write about this today. I think its because I am grateful. I am grateful that I had these moments, I am grateful I had these friends (some I still have to this day). I am grateful that at 15, when I was so insecure, so shy, and "misunderstood", that a little bit of glitz was brought into my life, a glimpse of what my life would be like. Today I live the same way I learned to that summer, a little spontaneous, always with an open heart, and ALWAYS ready to recreate a good production number. Here's to the Summer of '01, thanks for giving this girl a spotlight.