Wednesday, May 21, 2014

101 Dalmatians

     Our elementary school puts on a play every year that is not your average elementary school play.  There are try-outs, they practice multiple times a week after school for about a month and a half (small parts go twice a week, larger parts up to four times a week), and then they put on multiple (this year it was four) performances in the local high school's auditorium complete with costumes, sets, and even microphones for the principal parts.  Admission is charged and concessions are sold at intermission to raise money to continue being able to produce these kinds of performances.  It is a time commitment for the kids and also for the parents who are all required to volunteer.  
    We have attended performances in the past and Carson would always show interest in trying out the next year, but then when the time would come, he wouldn't want to do it anymore.  This year it was Abby who really showed an interest in doing it.  When Carson saw that his little sister wanted to do it, he decided he wanted to also.  For try outs, they needed to have three thirty second songs memorized, know some basic dance steps, and be ready to state their name and bark like a dog.  If we were going to do it, I was going to have them prepared, so we printed off the songs and started practicing almost every day leading up to the tryouts.  We repeatedly talked about how just the try out experience would be good even if they got cut and tried to prepare them for that possibility (I was most worried that one would make it and one wouldn't).  They both practiced hard and although I believed my words that even if they didn't make it, it would be a good experience, I really, really hoped they would make it.  This was one of the first times we had seen Abby show an interest in an activity on her own and more than once I turned a corner in our house to find her intently hunched over the try out song using her new found reading skills and whispering the words to herself trying to memorize them.  And I would smile calmly at her while my mama heart almost burst with feelings of love, pride, and a feeling of just wanting to protect her from anything that will ever break her heart, but knowing I can't.  
      The day of the try outs arrived with K-2 being first and then 3-5.  There were parent meetings for both, but parents were not allowed to stay during the actual try outs.  After I left Abby's parent meeting, I called Mike almost in tears.  180 kids were trying out and they said they would keep around 100 and would cut from the bottom up meaning the younger grades would get cut first because they would have a chance to be in it when they were older.  Although this made sense to me, I thought for sure Abby would be cut and Carson would make it because he was older and a boy (there are a lot more girls that try out).  After try outs, we waited a long week for the cast to be posted.  They posted it online after school on a Friday.  I checked first scanning the names with a heart beating faster than it probably should have been for an elementary school musical.  And there they were, right next to each other!  Abby- Dalmatian puppy
Carson-Boxer dog
      All the cool ways I had thought of to tell them the news if it happened this way went out the window as I let out an excited screech.  Both kids came rushing over and when I told them the news they started jumping up and down and screaming.  They were so excited!  In the end, the music teachers had made an A and a B group of  Dalmatian puppies (mostly composed of younger grade kids) which allowed them to keep around thirty more kids than originally planned.  Each group performed two different times, while the rest of the cast performed all four times.  So Carson was scheduled for four performances and Abby was in two which worked out perfectly.
      Both kids really enjoyed the practices and worked hard to memorize all the songs.  Carson even got one speaking line.  When performance time came, they loved it! When the weekend was over, they both were sad and have continued to talk about it.  Over spring break, they actually put together costumes and choreographed their own 101 Dalmatians.  
       I am so glad they were able to have this experience and try something out of their comfort zone.  When we moved last fall it was only two blocks, but it changed the elementary school we attend.  We have finished the year at the school we already attended, but will switch in the fall.  The school we are going to next year is also a good school,, but I know they don't put on a play quite like this, so I'm so glad they got to do it this year.
       One of the parents is a professional photographer and she was kind enough to volunteer her time to take pictures of the performances and put them on CDs for all the families, so I can not take credit for the following pictures.  
Abby (bottom row, far right) with her Dalmatian group.

All ready to go.

Neither of my children were fan of the make up at first and kept itching it off their noses, although they got better as the weekend went on.  Carson especially was not a fan and told me, "I am never making my girl kids wear this!" 

Dress Rehearsal

Headshot of our little Dalmatian puppy.

Headshot of our handsome boxer dog.

Hanging out backstage.

Carson (far left corner) waiting backstage right before he was about to say his line.  

Dress Rehearsal.

All the Boxer dogs. 

Carson on stage

Me helping to do make up.  I really enjoyed the time I was able to spend helping behind the scenes that weekend.  I met some really nice parents and loved the way my kids reacted to having their mommy there (I don't know how much longer I have when Carson thinks it's cool to have me around, so I'm trying to enjoy it while I can).

And here's some pictures I took with my own camera.

I love that the two of them get along so well and that they were able to have this experience together.

Abby with her friend and fellow Dalmatian.
Part of the fan club.  Mike's parents, his sister and her whole family were also there, but they snuck out right after the show (they had babies to put to bed :) and before we could get a group picture.  I feel blessed that my children have so much love and support from our extended families.  

And one with grandpa, the photographer. 

Mason wanted to be in the play also and sang the songs non stop (we all had the in our heads!)  He also came to this particular performance in his p.j.'s.  No amount of suggesting other outfits would do and we decided to just go with it.  

Talking with Great Grandpa and Grandma Dickson after the show while we waited for ice cream.  

And a slightly fuzzy picture of a very excited, worn out little puppy dog and her ice cream cone.

And that's a wrap.


  1. Wow! What fun (work!) that must have been.

  2. I'm so glad they both got to do it! I haven't experienced those plays yet, but I've heard they're quite the production. So fun! Also, my little brother had my mom working at his middle school and then also at his high school, and he LOVED having his mom around. Maybe Carson will always think it's cool to have you around too! :D