“I Can’t Say No”

I’m sure my title here is misleading, considering this is for the most part a parenting blog. I really CAN say “no” to my kids, and I do when I need to.

The thing I have a harder time saying “no” to is theatre. It’s been my passion (addiction?) since I was tiny, and it still has me in its very firm grip. And now I’m watching wide-eyed as it begins to wrap my daughters up in its spell.

Clara was my date to see “Oklahoma!” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre over the weekend. At first didn’t seem too excited to go see a musical she didn’t know much about – especially an OLD show that debuted on Broadway in 1943 and takes place on a turn-of-the-century farm. But like so many thespians, it was my first high school musical, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I did my best to sell her on it.

No need to worry – I had her as soon as the house lights went down “Curly” (played by Eric Morris) entered from the back of the theatre, singing a gorgeous rendition of “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’.”

During one Curly’s flirtatious arguments with the lovely Laurey (played by Grace Anne Field, whose operatic soprano sounded effortless on all of those gorgeous Rogers & Hammerstein high notes), Clara leaned over and whispered to me, “I think they really want to kiss each other!”

I fully expected the leading lady to be the role that captivated my little blonde soprano.

But it was Ado Annie, played by the hilarious and adorable Timmy Hays, who Clara latched onto. She did a beautiful job combining lovable innocence, feisty energy and a SEVERE inability to resist attractive men who “talk purty.” (Oh dear, can I relate…) Ado Annie was irresistible. From the adorable singing, dancing cowboys and farm girls to the brooding antagonist, Jud Fry (played brilliantly by a theatre friend who I know to be real-life total sweetheart, Jonah Winston!) we just loved the show. We stayed afterwards to say hello to friends in the cast and crew, and went home singing.

Today, while on a bike ride, I caught Clara trying to sing Ado Annie’s signature song. She asked me to teach her the words and melody. “I’m just a girl who can’t say no!!!” she belted as we rode through the neighborhood.

Now, I can’t say “no” to show tunes. But as I looked over at my long-haired, long-legged 8-year-old beauty, I decided to make a suggestion.

“That was perfect, sweetie. Now, how about we try singing, ‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ instead?”

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