Spring 1978. Fourth Grade. New town. New school. No friends. From private school to purgatory. The only redeeming quality about this place was the Annual Talent Show.
For my first audition, my dad prepared me well, "Now remember, they can't take everyone. It doesn't mean you're not good. You gotta have tough skin." I walked in ready for the blow. The auditorium was in complete chaos. There were groups of people practicing in all different corners. Kids were running and screaming. Adults were chasing little ones. The piano was being slammed and jammed. There was a line out the door of potential participants. I signed up and waited. I watched every audition - from music to dance to sketch comedy. I studied the producers and choreographers.
When they called my name, I reluctantly dragged my tiny self on stage and stood frozen, on my tippy-toes, reaching for the microphone. My dad revved up his electric guitar offstage and when I sang my first note, the room became silent. People stopped in their tracks. High school participants came to the front of the stage and sat. Babies rested.
At first I wasn't sure what was happening. I wanted to tell them all to go back to what they were doing. But I kept singing. I imagine it seemed a little odd. I was a 9 year old with an abnormally powerful voice, rocking out with Proud Mary and a couple of Bob Seger tunes!
When I finished, there was an overwhelming echo of clapping and cheering, followed by hugs and praises from strangers. Before we left, I went to the producers and asked, "When will we find out if I made it in?" They were so sweet, "Made it in what honey?" Little did we know, everyone made it in! It was a PTA thing. It wasn't Broadway. [thanks a lot dad!] It didn't matter. I was doing what I loved!
For the performance, I wanted a blue shiny outfit "like on Donny & Marie." It didn't occur to me till much later that I looked more like Donny than Marie. But I don't care. I loved this outfit and all its sequins. [thanks mom]
The picture above is a practice shot before we walked out the door the night of the performance. And yeah, that's my dad.