February 12, 2013

Overture, Curtains, Lights! The Boy's Efforts to Gain Stage Presence

This post is approved by The Boy.

The Boy is my drama queen king. He's expansive and expressive and his voice carries like nobody's business. His Asperger's diagnosis might indicate an inability to be so expressive, but The Boy has always been eager to share his enthusiasm for his interests.

He also loves to sing; frequently, he watches Youtube videos and sings along to his favorite Muppet and/or cartoon songs. There's one Youtube video of him singing "The Rainbow Connection" when he was younger, and some other videos out there where he critiques video games and movies.

He's loved seeing live stage productions, even when he was a tyke. It was one time I knew he'd sit still and pay attention. Even after all these years, he can probably go on and on about how wonderful the stage show "MacHomer" was...and he's right, it was marvelous. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it.

You can learn more about it here.

But back to his breaking out in song...

Sometimes the sudden sound of his enthusiastic singing startles me - not because he's off-key (to the contrary, he has a pretty nice voice) - I often jump and wonder what the hell he's doing. Since he's wearing headphones, I never hear the accompanying music as his somewhat dulcet tones shatter the silence.

On Tuesday, he went one step further in his stage and screen aspirations - he has many, by the way - by trying out for a part in our local high school's Spring musical.

He was nervous, but was a trouper.

Seussical the Musical is scheduled to hit the stage mid-March, and The Boy is slated to be an animal in the Jungle of Nool (from Horton Hears a Who and the Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss).

The Boy is a big Seuss fan. At a recent writers' group meeting, he read a poem he wrote about the CEO of the WB who made dire programming changes in the 80s. His poem had a real Seuss-y feel to it. What other 17-year old is concerned with TV network programming decisions?

Only The Boy, I think.

He sang a portion of "Oh, The Thinks You Can Think" with other cast members and learned a bit of choreography. He caught on pretty quickly, though he needs more practice on a few of the steps, and he'll need to memorize the lyrics.

I think his favorite part might have been watching himself in the mirrored wall in the Chorus room while he learned the choreography.

After twenty minutes of rehearsal on the song, we were excused.

It reminded me of his brief stint in a kid's Hip Hop dance class when he was six. He spent more time looking at himself than he did learning any steps. In fact, he'd stand six inches from the mirror during the entire class (and never looked at the instructor once).

By mutual decision, his hip hop dance career was short-lived.

I hope his musical theater career is long and far-reaching.

I hope he has fun. I hope the kids accept him (so far, so good); I hope they "get" him.

Finally, he has an opportunity to interact with the NT (neurotypical) kids his own age (who would be his classmates if he was still enrolled in the school). I hope he remembers all of the social skills lessons he's had recently and does himself proud.

Many rehearsals are scheduled in the next five weeks; he's going to be a busy fellow. The next rehearsal is two hours long. I won't be in the room anymore, but rest assured I'll be nearby...just in case he isn't able to "maintain his dignity" for the entire time.

I sometimes have to remind him to "maintain his dignity", which is a nice way of reminding him to remain calm and to speak and act appropriately.

It's so much nicer than saying "Don't freak the hell out, kid", don't you think?

During the two performances in the high school auditorium, I hope this mom can "maintain her dignity", too.

For your listening pleasure:


  1. Oh the places he can go! Having stage presence and a great voice are only two of his strengths. Kudos to Daniel.

  2. The Boy has chosen a tough field (though a rewarding one!) for anyone, let alone someone managing an Asperger's diagnosis. The fact that he has enough confidence, and enough love of the theater, to step up and go through an audition (daunting!) speaks volumes about his true character. Good for him! I hope someday to be reading about his success on Broadway.

  3. Kim--I will keep my fingers crossed. Your son SHOULD feel proud of his courage and his ability.


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