Saturday, August 20, 2011

Rant # 13

My love affair with musical theatre began in 1959 when I was just 5 years old. We used to travel with my dad on business trips all over the world. Of all the many, many trips we took, the trip to New York City in '59 is the most clear in my memory to this day and I still look back on it from time to time as one of my happiest memories.

While dad was in meetings all day, my mom took my brother and me to all the tourist sites. We took a boat ride around Manhattan, rode the Merry-Go-Round in Central Park, went to the top of The Empire State Building. It must have been hard on my mom dragging around a 5 and 3 year old. The one event that changed my life forever though was when mom and dad got a babysitter for my little brother and took me to my first Broadway show. It was "Flower Drum Song" by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

From the moment the overture began to play, I knew I was home. I sat in my chair transfixed and became lost in another world full of color, light, music, and more than a little magic. I KNEW I was home. When the show was over the sound of applause thrilled me. I had seen many a performance in churches but there had never been applause. This was new to me and I knew I wanted to share in that exciting display of approval. I guess, even then, I wanted some of that thunderous sound for myself.

That is how my life in musical theatre began. I never had any other goal or ambition. By the time I finished High School I had already been in 4 musicals. The year after I got my first professional job playing Woof (the gay character) in "Hair". My eyes were wide open to all the possibilities that lay ahead.

The reason I'm telling you about all this is not because I want to recite my resume. It is about finding your dream in life and sticking to it. I was lucky (or cursed) to find my dream so early in life. It takes much longer for most. And some people give up when their dream doesn't come true right away. Sometimes you have to change or alter your dream to fit reality. But you must always stay true to the original concept, no matter how much you have to change it. When you stop dreaming a part of you dies.

The good news is that you can always rekindle a dream. It may not look the same as it did in younger days but it remains a dream, YOUR dream nevertheless. Now is the time to work on it. Don't always put it off and call it fantasy. That causes the would've, could've, should've syndrome. That is the place where regrets are born. Who wants, or needs, that kind of negativity in their life?

The pictures on today's blog are from my very first musical,"How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying". I was 15 yrs old. In many ways I still am that boy with a dream.

Peace and Love,



  1. Isn't interesting how our bodies age - remember the fitness and stamina of our youth - but inside our heads we feel like we're still young.

  2. How true Shelley. I have discovered a great way to avoid the aging process. Stop looking in mirrors. Ha Ha!

  3. Reading this brought back wonderful memories for me, too. We lived in a suburb of New York, and my mother took my sister and me to many musicals -- My Fair Lady, Guys and Dolls, Brigadoon, Oklahoma. I know I saw Flower Drum Song somewhere as well. My father came along, too, but it was my mother who choreographed our cultural outings (including an excellent round of ballets!) The experience did not lead me into a lifetime of performance as it did for you, but it gave me something inside that cannot be put into words. Being able to appreciate whatever art forms are out there is a gift I cherish. And of course when I hear songs from these musicals, the music is awakened inside of me, as both memory and current pleasure.

    By the way, your correct usage of the pronoun "me" after a preposition (a rarity these day) has endeared you to me even further!

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    Personal-Professional Balance Through Writing

  4. Without spell check I am a disaster but I do know how to use my pronouns. My mom was an English major.

  5. Everything you say here is spot on, Bill. It must have been so exciting for you to sit in that theater at 5 and be so overwhelmed with the experience. Thank you so much for sharing more about you (and more of your wisdom too)!

    caregiving. family. advocacy.

  6. Hi Bill,

    so nice to hear your story and how you got to live your dream!
    My Dad took us on his business trips at an early age so we (my sister, brother and I) grew up with traveling internationally. We got to stay in hotels all over Europe, see places, listened to my Dad's presentations and our parents even took us to the evening programs like theater, opera or grande balls. This way, I discovered my love for traveling and exploring new cultures. As a chef, I realized my dream and traveled the world while working.
    I got married 3 years ago, moved to the US, settled and now I am having difficulty defining myself again. I have always lived my dreams but I am not so sure what my dream is now that I have started a new chapter..

    I am sure I will find out soon :-)
    Thanks for the great insight! Loved reading about your passion,

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress