Our chaotic Off-Broadway production

Sunday, 13 October 2019

When I danced on Broadway and as a Rockette, I learned my choreography, maintained the level of performance expected of me and proudly executed my role in the well-oiled machine that is a theatrical production.  It's amazing what goes on behind the scenes. There is just as much show happening in the wings and backstage.

Now, as a mom of four, I appreciate a fully supported company of team members helping to put this song-and-dance production on.

There are times it feels like I'm the stage manager, head of the wardrobe department, sound crew, music director, set designer, dance captain and company manager. This is intensified when hubs is away working. Sure, I've got other team members, grandparents and a cast of sitters. They swing in quite often and help the show go on.

Even with all of the help I receive, there are many moments where I'm wearing all the hats and desperately helping one scene flow to the next.

In order for us to leave the house, it looks like: potty attempts, costume changes, food and water (don't forget the blessed water bottles!) prepped for the talent and myself, that favorite-of-the-moment toy that they MUST be holding while riding in the car that somehow seems to be misplaced, and a whole lot of theatrics from each of the cast mates depending on what inspiration their pulling from that day...

It's amazing how choreographed AND improvised this dance is.

Sometimes we take our show on the road and attempt an outing.  Other times, I'm too exhausted just thinking about it and we stay home. Happily (tearfully) playing together, coloring, dumping organized baskets of toys, singing, wrestling, pulling books off shelves, arguing over who gets to play with similar but different toy car, dancing, laughing.... the usual.

So, enough with the theatre references, but I'm just offering this reminder, no matter how effortless someone elses production looks, there's always another show happening behind the scenes. Sometimes it's other crew members, sometimes it's one tired parent just winging it to make the most of the moment.

Casting tips: Delegate, hire some childcare/cleaning/shopping help (e.g. postpartum doula) when you can.

Choreographer cues: Change your plans/expectations. Say no when the scheduled activity feels like too much. Stay home. Do less. It's often what we need in our over-scheduled lives.

Director notes: Embrace the simplicity and beauty of the show that's happening right in front of your eyes.

Our production level has gone up with four kids. If you're improvising like me, I wish you luck as you do your best to pick yourself up when you inevitably face-plant (all performers do). Brush off the dust and turn your face to the lights. There's always a sequin glimmering somewhere, reminding you of the beauty of this production you're in.


photo by the beautifully talented Erica Whiting Photography

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