Today the door was open.
Well, one door. Wide open. It’s a double door, actually, the color of oak. Black lettering above reads 101. It leads to diagonal steps down to the auditorium, stage right.
These are the steps Jack comes back up after rehearsal to meet me. Ms. Lloyd follows and I always know if it went well from their body language as they come up.
See, parents stay in the hallway, they don’t wander in to pick up their kid. The director had clarified this in the beginning at the parent meeting — the auditorium is the teenager’s space and please don’t come in as rehearsals wrap up. Another reason, he said, is that he wants the performance to be a surprise for us, too. I get this and respect it.
And really, I’m one of only a few parents that pick up their kid. Most of the students walk home from school at 5:30. It’s week 5 of rehearsals, and today’s call was for full cast, running through Act 1 for the first time.
Alone in the hallway, I checked my phone. 5:25. I leaned up against the row of lockers, and settled between two locks at my elbows.
Alone, I realized, except for the janitor silently approaching along the opposite wall of lockers. He pushed a wide duster that picked up scraps from the hallway floor. I nodded to him.
Inside, they were practicing the show’s anthem, Neverland Forever! The piano was banging it out. That must’ve been Anne, the musical director, playing.
They ran through it three times and let me just say — it sounded really good. I mean really, really good. This was a group of kids just showing everything they were worth, everything they’ve worked for. Not that I could see them. And already, I’m a basketful of emotion. I totally teared up as they sang about sapphire streams and silvery night skies.
This was a group of kids just showing everything they were worth, everything they’ve worked for. Not that I could see them. And already, I’m a basketful of emotion.
Can you imagine the waterworks I’ll have on May 18 & 19, the nights of the show? Besides being petrified that he’ll have a seizure on stage, I’ll be reminded how far he’s come — through so much and his condition is not a mild one. Some kids don’t make it through this — always in the back of my mind and sometimes it just pours out.
I couldn’t see him but he was in there, onstage, belting it out with all the other kids. Their voices filled the entire space. This is what I’ve been waiting for. For Jack to be a part of something. For him to belong.
As they sung, something clicked in me and I know that Jack will make it through. Even as rehearsals now increase for weeks 6-12 and his fatigue will become an issue. I couldn’t see him but he was in there, onstage, belting it out with all the other kids. Their voices filled the entire space. This is what I’ve been waiting for. For Jack to be a part of something. For him to belong. Even though he sings off-key and insists “sapp-hire,” as written on the song sheet, is pronounced “sap-hire.”
And he DOES belong. He belongs to the crew of Treasures of Neverland and he will be putting it on, part of the cast. Part of the show. This is it.
Yes, we are surviving this. AMEN!