Family matters: Live theater a great way to grow

The days are longer but the groundhog lied; what can we expect from a large furry rodent dragged from his hutch by a mob of people in funny hats? I think the first grass of spring was the kind found in the bottom of our Easter baskets along with other mind/mood improving items such as chocolate bunnies, peanut butter eggs and high-dose sugary items like jelly beans.

For me, spring started with the all school musical “Grease” put on by youth from our local schools. When I was in school we didn’t do musicals; we did silly little plays which were still enjoyable.

As a dad I’ll toot my horn that two of my daughters were in “Grease.” For Briana, it was her third or fourth musical and for my youngest, Bethany, it was her first musical but second or third play (I’ve lost track of how many).

It’s a great feeling to see the transition from back ground singers to main roles and also it’s encouraging to see them want to continue to be part of the community through these activities.

The play could have been renamed “The Taming of Grease,” as many of the songs had to be modified or sanitized to allow some of the main songs to be sung. “Greased Lightning” was performed with a great car created for the show with, of course, the curse words and other suggestive language removed from the lyrics. Other songs were added such as the duet Briana was in called “Mooning,” in which her duet partner had the funny lines of mooning everyone in town.

Most of the time, parents should be the motivation for their children but often I find that it works the other way as well.

This past fall, I was in the “Niskavouri” play at Finlandia University, mostly due to seeing how much fun my daughters were having in plays; even my daughter Hannah has been in a few in school.

The other reason was to support my workplace and to see if I actually could remember lines and act. The jury is still out.

This summer, I get to reprise my role as Kaarlo Niskavouri, an angry old man, something I think I pull off well, during FinnFest for hopefully some large crowds. The practices are fun and getting to know the people in the play makes it even more exciting. I’ve threatened to break through my fear of singing and try out for a musical at some point in my life; maybe if “Singing in the Rain” is ever offered I might give it a go; (those who know me are covering their ears as they read this).

Unfortunately, adulthood steals away our free time for many of us. I truly hope that those kids, including my own, continue their love of theatre and act, sing and dance for as long as they can.

As for me, I’ll wait for the thaw and gleefully smash frozen mud puddles as I did as a kid and watch as the massive icicles melt down or fall off of the roof.

April showers aren’t needed for May flowers as the melt will take their place; hang in there folks – summer is on its way.