Lucy on stage

Our oldest grandchild, Lucy, 8, is a little small for her age. She has at least one real good reason to feel fortunate she is small, which is the role of her lifetime so far. Her short stature allowed her to portray 5-year-old Gretl Van Trapp in a stage production of ?The Sound of Music.?

But while she is small physically, she has a personality at least as big as the Ellie Caulkin Opera House stage in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, and probably bigger. But the decision to cast her as Gretl did come down to her ability to sing and act.

Her mother, Emily, was touring with the Colorado Children?s Chorale in Europe in July. She missed some of Lucy?s rehearsals. When she came back home, a colleague told her that Lucy was born to be on stage.

I?ve often said that Lucy can enter a room and in five minutes have everyone in that room organized and skipping to her beat, and that was when she was 3. So it came to no surprise to me when her mother told me that Lucy not only knew her part, she knew everyone?s parts, even the adult performers ? and she told them when they forgot to do something. Perhaps she is also a budding director.

While we had known for months that she was going to perform, it began feeling real once we saw the production?s publicity photos about a week or two ahead of the performances. Then the day we arrived, we saw a video clip of the cast on a local TV station ? my first tears.

But it was nothing compared to what it felt like to be in the orchestra section of the opera house and seeing our Lucy on stage. She was the smallest cast member, but when she spoke her lines and sang her soloes, she was in command of the stage. The audience loved her. I cried several times during the performance.

One of my favorite things about the onstage Lucy was her hair. She has long thick hair and it was done up in a braided crown. Her microphone hook was imbedded in the braid. The costumes were wonderful too.

The hardest aspect for Lucy was that the performances lasted nearly three hours. There was one performance a day for eight days. There were a couple of off days that week, which allowed her to have her first day at school as a third-grader. She missed her second day of school because of the performance schedule.

The performance did something for me other than being a proud grandma. We are long-distance grandparents, and that?s a little hard to live with. But seeing Lucy on stage told me she is right where she is supposed to be. Who would have ever thought that the daughter of an Iowa farm girl and a small town man would end up where they are?

Not me. But there it is.

(I would really like to visit more often. I need to win the lottery or something to make that more feasible. Who knows what will happen next?)