First, the big news. If you’re busy and don’t have time to read one of my rambling, stream-of-consciousness, navel-gazing blog entries (or just don’t feel like it, for which I would not blame you a bit, by the way), then here’s the least you need to know: THE GUY AND I GOT CAST IN COMPANY AT SHREVEPORT LITTLE THEATRE!!!!!!!!
(It opens June 27, and you need not worry about remembering to buy tickets, because TRUST ME, I will remind you at least once a week for the next 20 weeks.)
I would say YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!, but that doesn’t even begin to describe the excitement and utter joy that is practically leaking out of the Powell house this evening. A couple years ago or so, a taped performance of the 2006 Broadway revival version came out on Netflix (pretty sure it’s still on Netflix, actually), and The Guy and I watched it. The only way I can describe our reaction to it is to say the divining rod went down HARD – it’s rare that we BOTH fall like that for a musical or play, as we have different tastes sometimes where theatre is concerned. But man alive, we love Company, and because of it, we fell in love with Stephen Sondheim.
When theatre nerds fall in love with a show, the first thing they want to do, naturally, is put on their own production of it. And we had the idea to approach Bobby Darrow, the artistic director of Shreveport Little Theatre, about putting it on there in his honor, as a way to thank him for his uncountable contributions to community theatre in Shreveport. But there were a number of problems with this little endeavor, motivated by love though it would be. First, we’d have to get Bobby to agree. Second, we’d probably have to raise the money for it ourselves, and for that we’re talking about a sum of money somewhere north of $10,000 (likely a great deal more). Third, we’d more than likely have to find somebody besides Bobby to direct it, and then we’d have to cast it. In other words, it would be practically impossible for two people with a baby and two and a half full-time jobs between them.
It just wasn’t the time.
Fast forward to December 18. I realized I was, as they say, late, took a pregnancy test, and learned, much to our delight, that Baby Powell was on his or her way. Both of us were absolutely ecstatic.
Exactly 10 days later, we heard that Bobby was planning to mount a production of Company at Shreveport Little Theatre in June (i.e., he beat us to the punch). I admit I felt a little wistful. I knew The Guy would probably get cast, but alas, there are no hugely pregnant characters in Company. But in truth, I had no regrets. I would be busily preparing for Baby Powell, and The Guy agreed right away that I could “finish” the nursery (read: do some expensive stuff like have drapes made and get the glider recovered in this GORGEOUS white faux crocodile vinyl I found at Milling Around – I know, I know, it sounds hideously tacky, but trust me, this thing would’ve been drop-dead chic. Also vomit-proof!). And he would probably be cast, so while I wouldn’t be in it myself, at least I would be close to it, and that would be a lot of fun. I thought to myself, I could probably get a babysitter a few nights and go up to the theatre and watch them rehearse. Plus my mom has been wanting to volunteer helping to sew costumes, and that might be fun, too.
It just wasn’t my time.
On January 18, precisely one month after I found out I was pregnant with Baby Powell, The Guy and I went to the OB and had an ultrasound where we learned there was no heartbeat. In a daze, we scheduled a D&C for the following Monday.
It just wasn’t Baby Powell’s time.
I spent the rest of the day alternating between fits of sobbing and a grief-stricken daze. That night, seemingly out of nowhere, a thought occurred to me. “Call Bobby,” I said. “Call him right now and tell him I want to audition for Company.” Understandably, The Guy could not believe I was serious. Somehow, I convinced him I was. Bobby, having no clue that this was anything other than a perfectly ordinary weekend for the Powell family, asked us to come to the theatre Sunday at 4. He said I should prepare a song from the show.
OK, y’all, let’s just stop right here and analyze this for a minute.
1. I am, quite literally, in the midst of a miscarriage.
2. I have not sung for anyone except for babies, dogs and the crowd at a lesbian karaoke bar in New Orleans (long story) since the ninth grade.
3. While I have spent plenty of time singing along with Raul Esparza on iTunes, I do not actually KNOW any of the songs from Company.
I asked Dr. Brandi, “This is the very definition of avoidance and denial, right?”
I am here to tell you that the only thing in the entire known universe that could have possibly distracted me from what was to come on Monday would be preparing to sing in front of sober people for the first time since I was 14 years old.
So I threw myself into learning “The Little Things You Do Together.”
When I say that out loud – “I’m really not a very good singer, and I haven’t sung since I was a freshman in high school, but I marched my ass into Shreveport Little Theatre, climbed on the stage and sang like somebody was paying me a hundred bucks to do it,” I think to myself,
SELF, WHAT THE F–K IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?! SERIOUSLY, WHO DOES S–T LIKE THAT?!
And, as usual, I have no rational explanation for my actions.
It went…to tell the truth, I had no idea how it went, but I chose to trust The Guy when he said (with a surprised look on his face, I might add) that it went really well.
On the car ride home, I broke down, and was inconsolable until the next day when they wheeled me into the operating room, put a suffocating plastic mask on my face and told me to breathe deeply.
Two days later, while I was still very much in a grief-and-painkiller-induced fog, Bobby called and said he wanted me to read for him. I thought, OK, good, my singing didn’t automatically knock me out of the running. Only problem was, we had to wait for the scripts to come in. So we waited. And waited. And waited.
FINALLY, finally, Bobby called The Guy on Friday, and they arranged for him to come to our house at 7:30 that evening. I rushed around, trying to make myself presentable and entertain Harper at the same time. NOT an easy feat.
We read, then we chatted for a bit, and Bobby left. And I was DISTRAUGHT. I felt the reading had gone horribly, possibly so badly that Bobby would be disinclined to cast either of us. In other words, I effed up so bad that I not only failed myself, I took Perk down with me. The enormity, not to mention the stupidity, of what I had attempted to do came crashing down on me. I am a 35-year-old mom who hasn’t been on a stage except to take pictures in over 15 years. What business do I have SINGING and ACTING in a MUSICAL when I have just lost one baby and have another one at home who spends the vast majority of her day trying every way she can possibly think of to fatally injure herself? With everything that’s happened to this family in the previous two months, the last thing on Earth we need is more disappointment, and here I have gone INVITING disappointment into our lives. For God’s sake, I’ve practically rolled out the red carpet for it! How stupid, irresponsible and positively DELUSIONAL can an adult human possibly be?
I took one of the sleeping pills that my OB mercifully prescribed for me and went to bed.
Saturday, I waited uneasily with a big, hard knot in the pit of my stomach. Bobby mentioned that two more people were auditioning on Saturday, so I told myself that we wouldn’t hear anything until Sunday anyway. About 4:00, the phone rang. It was Bobby.
He did not sound especially happy. I braced myself.
And then he said those eight beautiful words: “I would like to offer you the role…”
Everything after that is a blur or, more accurately, a gigantic ball of shiny, blinding light.
I’ve already been going to the gym and exercising at home, getting myself into fightin’ form.
And my first voice lesson is on Monday.
It hasn’t sunk in – and may not for a good many more weeks – that I am going to be performing on stage for the first time since college. That is…just…insane.
I know at least a few of you will sneer at the idea that God engineered this, but I believe He did. There is only one being in the infinite multiverse who could make Kelly Powell brave and/or stupid enough to sing in front of people who can pass a field sobriety test and speak English.
(I also think Thorpe, who was crazy for Broadway musicals, might’ve been kicking, or rather, knowing Thorpe, pinching me, in the ass a bit.)
You know that saying about how when God closes a door, He opens a window? I think that’s what happened here. No show – no TEN shows – could ever “make up for” Baby Powell. But God gave me something to do instead. Maybe it’s not “as good,” but it’s still very, very good indeed. I mean, how many spouses get to do things like this TOGETHER? I get to spend time with my husband and my best friend doing something we both love AND learn from him at the same time.
Both Baby Powell and Company are the blessings of a lifetime. They’re just different blessings for different points in a lifetime.
Now is not the time for one, but it’s the perfect time for another.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’m playing Jenny, and The Guy is David. You can check out those two crazy kids right here (their scene starts at 2:08).
I’m pretty excited to slip into Jenny’s twin set and pearls and see how it feels to be a square.
triple double single-threat