My Newest Obsession

Working with E during his Musical career in high school really turned me on to the power of the artform. I have several cast recordings I adore: Spring Awakening, Wicked, Book of Mormon and Legally Blonde. The thing about cast recordings though, is you kinda need to know the story, or have seen the musical, to really enjoy them – which is why I think I was late to the Hamilton game: I’m shit for American History.

I listened to the cast recording once or twice, mostly all the way through. I thought it was good, great hip-hop but it just didn’t suck me in. But, it’s just been getting more and MORE attention lately so I gave it another try about 2 weeks ago but did so while keeping this page accessible so I could read what was happening in the story coinciding with each song and this did two things:

1) Provided me the story that supplied the emotion behind the music which had me actually sobbing this time through in some parts
2) Made me completely obsessed with the story of Alexander Hamilton.


Most of the music is just excellent examples of great hip-hop – wonderful beats you really want to dance to or sing along with. I’ve started learning it by heart now and I’m the whitest middle-aged woman in the all the land so you KNOW that is the most hilarious image in the planet. BUT I DO NOT CARE.

But some of the songs, like after (Is this a spoiler when it’s a 200+ year old story everyone probably knew but me?) his wife learns of his affair, or after his son dies, or when his wife sings her final number…those songs just simply tear at my heart and I somehow actually feel as though I’m watching it on stage, even though I’m driving in my car on the way to buy bread for lunches. SOBBING, I tell you, SOBBING.

I’m telling you all of this to encourage you to do what I did. Buy the cast recording (It’s like 40 tracks, it’s worth the money) and listen to it along with the wiki if you don’t know Hamilton’s life story. (I actually asked myself at one point, “Did he ever become president?” because I am TERRIBLE at American History. Spoiler Alert: HE DID NOT.) Listen to it once while learning the story, then listen to it again and again because you’ll pick up more each time and you’ll just be in awe of the lyrics and the call-backs and the general awesomeness of the musical.

And do all of this before next week because the cast will be performing at the Grammy’s one week from tonight and I am SO EXCITED. It’s very frustrating to fall in love with a cast recording and not have the means to see the show. I’ve seen photos from the show and I try to piece together what I think certain numbers look like, but it’s still hard to really grasp the whole picture in just audio and written form. I need a visual so bad it HURTS so I can not WAIT until Monday and I want you to become obsessed so you can be right there with me.

Homecoming…Theatre Style.

So, E goes to The University of Montevallo and they have this tradition called College Night. Here’s the Wikipedia info about it.

The oldest tradition at Montevallo is called College Night, an intramural competition between the Purple Side and the Gold Side. The tradition officially began on March 3, 1919, in honor of the school adding the name “college” to its title.

The homecoming competition consists of sports events, management of the side finances, and spirit. While these are key to the game of College Night, the primary focus is two student written, produced and performed musicals—one for each competing side.

“First designed to celebrate the introduction of a 4-year college curriculum, the early celebrations were competitions between classes. In 1921, to celebrate UM’s 25th anniversary, students divided into two teams, the Gold Side and the Purple Side.”[3] The two colors of the school, purple and gold, compete for the title of either “PV” (purple victory) or “GV” (gold victory).

The student involvement is all-inclusive: there are athletic intramurals that count for points toward victory, cheerleading competitions, signs designed and painted by students to be judged and even community efforts and fund raising drives to gain points toward a victory.

So, that student written, produced and performed musical? It opened last night and E was part of the ensemble. He’s been rehearsing crazy hours in secretive environments for WEEKS. This show was basically the reason he chose this school. And the feeling of Spirit and Pride has carried him through sleepless nights these last several weeks.

It’s a HUGE deal.

We wanted to go see the show Saturday because that’s when they judge and announce the winner (I think) and that’s when all the alumni come back and it’s evidently INSANE. But! He could only get 2 tickets (they don’t want anyone buying out huge chunks) and we needed four.

So! We’re going down there tonight.

He’s been sending me videos of the cheers and songs and the crazy insane energy surrounding all of their gatherings and it’s just the BEST. THING. EVER. They wear all purple, they flash what YOU see as a peace sign but they know as “Purple Victory” (Gold Side does the Thumbs Up – even the Facebook page for the school uses the divided logo right now), they carry around stuffed cows (their spirit animal) and tag everything with #PMFV. It’s amazing and I’m loving watching it all unfold.

I guess Gold Side has won three years in a row now. I think that’s right. Purple is hurting for a victory SO BAD and I find myself suddenly caring more about the outcome of this spirit competition than I have any sporting event in my whole life. We painted our nails purple last night, we’re bringing purple goodies, and we’re prepared to scream like maniacs for the Purple Side show.

He’s exhausted and tired and loving every second of it. It’s awesome. Here’s to a Purple Side Victory.

This is what 4'ish hours of sleep looks like.

This Is Your Brain On A Musical.

This is what 4'ish hours of sleep looks like.

This is what 4’ish hours of sleep looks like.

West Side Story opens tomorrow. This means that I have only gone to bed ONE NIGHT in the last week before 9pm. And 9pm is my late bedtime since I get up at 4am. Last night? I heard the alarm on my watch go off at midnight. Which I didn’t know it did.


I do not exaggerate when I tell you that my body is weirdly scheduled for a morning wakeup call no matter WHAT the circumstances are.

I should get to bed a little earlier tonight as the kids have an early call in the morning (that’s theatre talk for “they have to be there early” – I like to throw out the theatre lingo every chance I get) so the will have a quick dress rehearsal tonight and get to bed early.

The Producer in these type of parent-volunteer shows is mainly The Person Who Organizes And Emails. I have no actual skills like our parents who sew or paint. However, I’m certain I have the weirdest assortment of tasks and experiences of all of the volunteers. To demonstrate?

  • I have two mannequins in pieces in the back of my van.
  • I ordered a top hat from a local tux show yesterday.
  • Today I have to get 20 pairs of tan socks.
  • Last night I was discussing stinky bandanas and possible solutions.
  • I referred to a friend of mine as the “Tattoo Lady” yesterday.
  • I found myself discussing the difference in candy buying that will occur between the West Side Story audience and last month’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory audience.
  • At one point in time I found myself thinking yesterday during the dress rehearsal: I can’t pin this strap to this bra because my hands are sticky from hair gel.

Basically? The producer organizes, emails, and fills in wherever they need to since they are at most of the rehearsals. And my “fill-in” capabilities are limited due to the aforementioned lack of real skills.

But what I’m awesome at? Is still getting up at 4am and dragging myself to boot camp after going to bed at midnight. Which is what I’m doing today. I’m behind on blogging and tumbling and tweeting and facebooking, but god forbid I miss one day of bootcamp!

All in all? It’s still so much fun and I wish this was an actual skill and they’d ask me to come back again next year. But it’s time to pass the torch on to another soon-to-be sleep-deprived parent.

(P.S. I’m tired. Please excuse any and all spelling/grammar/language errors. You’re lucky I’m even making it out the door wearing anything other than my jammies, my brain is that fried.)


And Then There Was That Time My Utilities Almost Got Turned Off…

Well, it’s over. I can’t believe it. We had 3 large audiences this weekend full of whistlers and clappers and screamers and dancers and those audiences? Are the BEST. Three amazing performances by an amazing cast with amazing parents that I’m going to miss with my amazing heart.

Wait. That was one too many Amazings I believe.

My family saw it again Saturday night because I wanted them to be part of those huge, fun crowds and it was totally worth it. I love a good theatre crowd because I love screaming my head off and it’s easier when there are 30+ other people doing the same thing. Nikki loved it so much she gave E this note for his last performance:

I like to think she meant EXACTLY what she wrote. I mean, who needs to be Potiphar or even Joseph if you’re awesome enough to be GOD.

It’s going to take me about a week…or two…to catch up on life. Laundry, blogging, reading and most importantly: TV. I’ve only watched a handful of shows in weeks. My DVR is stacked so deep it may start deleting shows and THAT CAN NOT HAPPEN. If it deletes part 1 on the 2-part Castle just because I’m four weeks behind…HEADS WILL ROLL.

I haven’t read blogs or responded to emails or even returned phone calls NOT related to Joseph. I even came home one day to find a bright orange piece of paper taped to my front door saying: WE ARE SHUTTING OFF YOUR UTILITIES TODAY BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T PAY YOUR BILL.


I feel safe telling you that story because my husband never reads my blog, but OH MY GOD. He would crap a million bricks if he knew how close we came. I immediately paid it online and then thanked the universe for letting me be in a position where I get that notice because I accidentally forgot to pay, not because I didn’t have the money to pay. I got plenty of those notices back in the Single-Working-College-Student-Mom days.

So…we still have utilities…Yay! No permanent damage done and I now have tons of memories and great friends all from this war we fought together getting this production to the success it was.

And I even was able to sneak backstage to grab this intermission shot with E before he changed out of his hippie clothes. He only wears this for one number but it suits him well and I wanted proof of it for the history books.

Thank you for coming along with me on this crazy ride and not laughing at me for almost getting my utilities turned off. Or, if you did laugh, thank you for doing it where I couldn’t hear you.


Why Sometimes You Don’t Have To Fear The Day Your Kid Reads Your Blog

I know I’m running on a little sleep and a lot of exhaustion. I know my emotions are heightened and my nerves are frayed from the excitement of show week. I know that every night I go from choking back tears to dancing in the aisles watching some amazing high school kids perform during a phenomenal production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. I know all of these things might make me a little crazy.

But when I saw this tweet from my kid this morning I thought: THIS. This is what the internet can add to parenting. This is what allowing your teens the freedom to use the tools with guidance from you…this is how it can enrich BOTH of your lives. The perfect example of what can happen if we embrace the tools our teens use. They’re smart enough – when we give them credit – to use them wisely. And sometimes, that wisdom can make our hearts swell in just 140 characters.

I’ve taught E that with the power of posting all of his thoughts online, comes the responsibility of owning those thoughts and knowing that anyone can read them. I’m proud of how he has established himself a respectable and fun online presence. He jokes about his favorite show being Toddlers in Tiaras and he vents about complications in Math. And sometimes he does crap like that tweet above and makes me sob in my car.

Everyone worries about what their kid will think of their blog when they get old enough to understand it or read it. E was 9 when I started my blog. He’s 17 now. He knows about it and has never flinched, no matter how much I talked about boob sweat back in the Pregnant With No A/C In My Car days. I know not all kids would be as forgiving, but because he is, our online lives can mix and we can add another facet to our relationship.

So, I thank him. I thank him for not being so embarrassed by me that he shuns my online presence. I thank him even more for using these avenues we share to pass along messages that I’ll carry in my heart forever. I am the crazy audience member screaming at every show, and the fact that he used Twitter to thank me for being that crazy person? Shows all blogging Moms out there that – while there is plenty to worry about as your kid gets old enough to understand your blog – there’s also tons of potential for awesome.