Jazz hands. Flamboyant Costumes. Tap dancing till your feet hurt. Vaseline on your teeth. Sleeping with your hair in rollers or rags the night before a show. Smiling until your cheeks go numb. Pretending to be happy when your arch nemesis got the part you wanted – you’re an actor, they’ll never know you are mentally hoping they fall off the stage before opening night. Getting out of school early for rehearsals. Character shoes. Stage makeup so thick you look 40, not 14. Whispering break a leg before your friends entered stage left. Whether you went to a stage school or were in musical theatre or in a drama group growing up, you have to admit that all those years of tap dancing, vocal lessons and running lines has shaped the way you live your life today.
I started at the renowned Billie Barry Stage School in Dublin at age four. From day one I was given a coveted place in the front row right in front of Miss Barry herself. I liked it there, and front row centre stage – some things haven’t changed! Miss Barry wore the most amazing gold tap shoes in contrast to our boring black ones. We were told that if we worked hard, we too could have a chance to wear gold taps one day! And worked we did. Ballet. Tap. Vocal exercises. Acting. Auditions. Rehearsals. Shows. More dancing. More acting. More singing. Even though it was hard, and sometimes I didn’t want to go to that extra rehearsal, I only have very fond memories of that time. Miss Barry instilled a passion in me for the performing arts, and this love has seemed to grown stronger with age.
For today’s Tuesday Ten, here are 10 Show Stopping Signs That I Was A Theatre Kid!
1) I don’t care what anyone says, it is 100% acceptable to randomly break into song and dance, and expect others to join in. It works in musicals, and it has worked for me more than a couple of times. I don’t even care when people stare at me strangely because of it. This is my scene, not theirs!
2) I refuse to believe there are people that exist who do not like musicals. They are classed in the same category as people who hate puppies and rainbows!
3) Any tv show, movie, stage production, music video or commercial I see, I scrutinise and judge the acting abilities of all characters unbeknownst to myself. I also think that I could have probably played the part better.
4) There is always that ONE PART that every musical theatre kid believes he or she was born to play. Mine is Galinda (Glinda) from Wicked. “Whenever I see someone less fortunate than I, and let’s face it who isn’t less fortunate than I…” 🙂 One day….
5) In my T.Y (10th grade) year book, a poem of our class was written and my line was ‘Charlene is a drama queen’. They say dramatic, I say I just know how to make a leaving impression!
6) The phrase ‘there’s no need to make a song and dance out of it‘ literally applies to me. I often end conversations, and the odd presentation, with jazz hands. No shame.
7) I have the scary ability to smile on cue and look deliriously happy, even if I have been angry/sad/crying/other unsavoury emotion seconds before.
8) My music library is full of musical soundtracks, ballet scores and arias. I never put them on shuffle… ever. It is important to listen to each track in the order in which it is staged.
9) There is a free concert in my shower every morning!
10) If I am alone and a good song comes on the radio, I will start to pretend I am in my very own music video and act out all the scenes. This happens on a far too regular basis.
And just for fun, 10 of my favourite musicals, in no particular order*
West Side Story.
The Sound of Music.
The King & I.
The Wizard of Oz.
*Please note, these are only 10 out of a very long list of favourites! Who could forget about My Fair Lady, Guys & Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Fame, Chicago… should I go on?
There’s Baby Char about 7 years, all ready to be the ‘fairy on the Christmas tree’ in the National Concert Hall in Dublin! I get a lot of friendly abuse for being ever-singing and ever-dancing. People who are getting to know me are often taken aback by my overdramatised actions. I live my life in the musical in my head. It’s who I am, and I owe it to my training in Billie Barrys. They were some of the best days of my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world!
This Day Last Year: 11th November 2013 – Once Upon A November
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