Reunited, it feels so good

The summer I turned 13, my mom said I needed an activity to keep me busy during the months between school. My friend’s mom suggested we do the summer youth musical at Delta Center Stage. I thought it was the worst idea and I wanted nothing to do with it. Shy and more awkward than I am now, I cringed at the idea.

My friend said to me, “If you do it, I’ll do it.”

And so, we went to auditions for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” I was so nervous that when I was supposed to sing “God Bless America” I started singing the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.”

I remember the director giggling at my mistake and my face turning red hot with embarrassment. I just knew I didn’t belong; I wanted to go home and never return. I am so thankful my friend and I stuck it out because it didn’t take long for us to get hooked. In fact, I loved it so much I participated in every single show after that, whether it was acting, helping backstage or operating a spotlight.

I will probably never remember all the shows I participated in, but some of the many include,  “The Miracle Worker,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Annie,” “The Sound of Music,” “Peter Pan,” “The Music Man,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “The Wiz,” “Our Town,” “Oliver” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

The last show I was involved was the 2011 summer musical, “Hairspray,” where-in I played the role of Edna Turnblad.

I often told people Delta Center Stage was my home away from home, and I suppose it was with all the time I spent there in my formative years.

Being in the shows taught me not only how to break out of my shell, but also showed me the importance of teamwork, timeliness and being responsible for memorizing lines and keeping up with props.

Then, life happened.

Between college, marriage and having two children, I lost touch with a place I deeply adore. My husband and I still buy season passes every year, but every time we go to a performance, I would be a tad envious as I watched the actors perform their roles on stage. There’s nothing quite like the connections you make with people in a production, they practically become your family.

Now that my children are at an age where it’s not impossible for me to start getting involved again, I just knew “Little Shop of Horrors” was the perfect show for me to get reacquainted with the theater as it is one of my all-time favorite musicals.

After my long hiatus from the theater stage, I was feeling nervous again about auditions in December. The group of people who participated in the shows when I was active have, for the most part, dispersed. Not familiar with the current group of theater actors, I was again feeling afraid. Should I go, will I fit in and feel comfortable?

Again, I’m so glad I went through with it.

Stepping onto the theater stage has brought back a flood of memories and has not felt like nine years has passed. Not much has changed in the rehearsal hall, dressing rooms or the green room.

The wonderfully-talented cast I’ve had the pleasure to work with has been absolutely amazing. If I hadn’t auditioned for this show, I would have missed out on some wonderful friendships I’ve made.

And now, after two months of rehearsing, we have reached the final week. “Little Shop of Horrors” starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

For those who may not be familiar with the show, it’s follows the story of Seymour, a meek flower shop assistant who has a crush on his co-worker, Audrey, who is dating a maniacle dentist who enjoys inflicting pain on others. During a total eclipse of the sun, Seymour discovers an unusual looking plant he names Audrey II that turns out to only eat fresh human blood and flesh. As the strange and unusual plant gains attraction for the struggling flower shop and boosts business, the blood-thirsty plant grows along with its appetite.

The 1986 film of the show starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene and Steve Martin is a remarkable movie and should be watched, but there is nothing quite like live theater. In a movie, the actors and directors can stop and re-shoot a scene to get it just right. There’s something almost magical about watching a live show where the actors have memorized every line and song verse.

The actors and puppeteers in this show have not only memorized their parts, but they do it spectacularly well. I’ve been listening to these same songs for two months and I am still not tired of hearing them. This cast has truly outdone themselves.

Come out to see this funny, slightly disturbing and heartwarming show and bring some friends along. I feel sorry for anyone who will not be able to make it because it is just that good.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for students and youth ages 16 and younger. Tickets can be purchased online at deltastage.com or at the door.

 

Catherine Kirk is managing editor of the Delta Democrat-Times. She can be reached at ckirk@ddtonline.com.