Friday night, amidst all the crazed planning, cleaning and cooking that we were doing for Halloween, we were slated to attend Cabaret Night at my son's school. Cabaret Night is an annual event where teachers, students and parents perform for a paying audience of parents and classmates who get a catered dinner and the opportunity to buy tickets for various raffles. This is all done to raise money for the school. My son, one of his friends and one of his band mates had an act in the show. They played acoustic guitars and sang the Green Day song Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).
As they were announced and took the stage, there was a smattering of random cat calls and shout outs from teenage girls in the audience. Ho's (I kid, I kid. Just a mother tiger protecting her cub.) They played the song to thunderous applause as the teens in the audience seemed to really appreciate the more modern song amongst the show-tune heavy bill. Then the boys took their bow and and exited the stage. Great, only 17 more acts to go .
Luckily, almost every act was pretty entertaining, so the time passed quickly. The school's theater director, a former Broadway musician had managed to put on a great show. It is amazing to me what this guy can accomplish with a mostly amateur cast. Every play or event that he stages is a full costume extravaganza and includes a band of professional Broadway musicians. In addition to running this event he directs the annual school play, runs an all-ages after school theater club and an all-ages summer theater camp which also culminates in a full dress revue of Broadway numbers. My daughter participates in the after school theater program and the summer camp and for years I have been trying to convince my son to join her. But he has always been too cool for theater and refused to join. Despite some truly humiliating begging on my part and valiant attempts to bribe him, he preferred to spend his summers sleeping until one, ordering in Chinese food and loafing.
At the very end of the show, the entire cast, almost 200 strong, took the stage for the closing number and their final bow. Then the ensemble left the stage in the gymnasium and headed for the auditorium to be picked up, still singing and dancing up the hallways of the Jr High School. My husband and I had positioned ourselves for a quick exit and we followed the directly behind the the mobile show, into the auditorium.
I couldn't have walked into the auditorium any longer than 45 seconds after my son, but I could not spot him amidst the crowd. Just then the singer from his group walked by me and I grabbed the elbow of his shirt, congratulated him and asked where the boy was. He thanked me and pointed over to a corner at the end of a row of theater chairs, near the fire exit. There he was, sitting on the arm of the chair with his back to me, but I could see that he was playing his guitar. Leaning on the wall, directly across from him, also playing a guitar and singing, was his band mate. Around the two of them? A circle of girls, visibly swooning.
I stifled a laugh and congratulated the boys on a great show. He then informed me that he would be joining some friends for a post-show nosh at an ice cream joint and then he'd be home. My husband and I looked at each other and giggled and we went home, anxious to go back to the cooking and cleaning that we had left, in progress.
At about 1:00 am, my son walked in the door and came into the kitchen as I was pulling an apple pie out of the oven. We talked a little about the show and then I casually mentioned his post-show activities. He blushed a little, but ultimately seemed to be sort of pleased with himself. He poured himself a drink of water and he started toward the stairs to go to bed. Then he stopped and turned back to me an asked me if I would "mind" if he signed up for Theater Camp this summer. I tried to hide my immense glee at this concept and casually told him that it was fine with me. The next day I heard him talking with a friend about the camp. Seems he heard that there is a twenty to one ratio of girls to boys and I guess he recognized the target rich environment. It looks like he's learned the power that music has over women. In a couple of years that power will shift pretty radically. But for now, we'll just let him enjoy shooting fish in a barrel.