Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

Walking Inside Of You

Scared child

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“First of all,” he [Atticus] said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

To Kill A Mockingbird


This is one of my favorite quotes from the movie – and the book.  And sums up how much better we would get along with people if we would first take the time to see things from their point of view – instead of just looking at them through our very limited lens of understanding.

I watched the original version of ‘Freaky Friday’ last night with Jodi Foster – and although it is a silly movie – the point is made quite clearly:  If we walked around in another person’s body and could see things from their point of view – how differently we would see them!

In this film a mother and daughter change places only to find a unique perspective on what is going on in their world everyday – and what seems to be easy to the other person – turns out to be difficult.  How many times do we wish we could change places with someone so that they could see how hard – or how complicated our life is!  Or for them to understand us better.  I have often wished I could understand them better too and  have wished to be a ‘fly on the wall’ in certain homes – so I could watch the ‘drama’ unfold – as I know it does.  Many have wanted to do this in my home as well, I’m sure.  It’s human nature.  It’s difficult to identify with what we cannot understand.

Think about it – if we all were granted this wish – to walk around and be somebody else for a day – who would it be?  And who would you want to walk around in your skin for a day and be you?

If we could apply this simple principle into our lives everyday – to stop and consider – the next time someone says something unkind or uncalled for – or the next time someone acts irrationally – or hurts you, remember this:  consider what it is like to be them. Walk around inside their skin and look through their eyes.  You may just see things you didn’t see before.  And you may gain some perspective and understanding for things you didn’t have before.  You see if we really did this – If I really did this – there would be no room in my heart for blame and bitterness.  I would no longer have to hold you at an arm’s length because of fear of the unknown.  I would know.  And I would love and embrace the scared lonely child in you.  And if you did the same in my skin – so would you.


I am praying this prayer today for you.  That you would see people how God sees them.  Understanding them on a heart level – with no agenda and no angle.  Just pure love.  Take a little walk inside of them today.


God Bless


Murders, Musicals And Other Mysteries

Logo Musical

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Yesterday Greg and I went to see an old college buddy perform in “The musical comedy murders of 1940″.  It was HILARIOUS and I was very proud of my friend – who has not been acting in anything since I knew him in college.  For a first attempt back to the stage – he was wonderful.

As a musical theater director – I know the importance of delivering a line – staying in character and making your part believable to your audience.  I would KILL to have our junior high students understand the subtleties of the above mentioned ‘must‘ for any musical theater production.

It is very helpful for students to take advantage of good live theater in our area – and so every season we try to have a field trip for them to see those that are doing this on a regular basis – or just something in the area that’s putting on the same show as we are – so they can study their character.  There is a thing called ‘timing’ in comedy – and sometimes a beat or two between lines can ruin the laugh from the audience.

Last night – these performers had been coached correctly.  All the lines were delivered and got the much sought after ‘laughs’ from the crowd – in fact we just ROARED at some of it!  The highest compliment to those on the stage.

How easy it is to laugh and applaud for the performers who take us to another era – another situation and place – those that have studied their part so well that it seems to blend in to who they are. Their timing is impeccable and well rehearsed to get it right.

Shakespeare once said:

‘All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances’

We are merely players in this world – none of us knowing our cues – our entrances and exits.  That is the mystery of life.  Not knowing how to rehearse for our next scene – or prepare our lines for what is to come.  It is not neat and rehearsed like the ‘stage’ – we live on the stage of life.  Our director and author of our ‘production’ is Jesus Christ – the only one who knows the outcome and the only one who knows how to prepare us for the next scene.

When we get a laugh – or a good ‘review’ from others in the audience of our life – it feels good – boosts our spirits and helps us to carry on.  But when we get a bad review – or someone thinks we stepped ‘out of character’ – it throws us into a tailspin.

Our goal as ‘players’ in this production of life should be to live as the ‘director’ is coaching us to live – without applause of man – or even a pat on the back from those who would review our scene.  Living and doing just what the director of our lives is directing us to do – is the only way to live – since He is the only one who knows the script.

We don’t always do this – we try to ‘rewrite’ it for the ‘author’ and go our own way – choosing people in our cast who are not supposed to be on stage with us – or choosing songs that are not approved and not the best for us.  It may make us feel better temporarily – and even get us a laugh – but it is not lasting – and can be destructive to us.  It is better to let Him decide and to have Him bring things together for us – to make the best production possible.

Ahhhh – the mystery of life and all its players.  Intrigue, lies, deception, bad influences, joy, love, emotion and elation.  Friendship and those who will join me in my production as we rehearse to get the ending right.  Trusting, trusting, trusting – that He knows better for my production than I do – and being willing to leave it with Him – is the hardest lesson on the stage of my life.

How is your production?  Who’s in charge of yours?

God Bless

Beauty And The Beast

Another great production put away and remembered by pictures – snapshots of people – frozen moments in time.

This was my favorite.  I am overwhelmed with emotions and nostalgia – being a part of this great event.  Knowing this cast was one of a kind – that these eighth graders are moving on – and it will be different next year – special in its own way – but never the same.

If you had the priviledge to see this production – you will know what I’m talking about when I say the word ‘chemistry’ with the cast – the teachers and the wonderful parents and volunteers behind the scenes – all working together to make sure it all came together and that it was AMAZING.  It was.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and feel that everyone should have a ‘moment’ like this at least once in their lifetime.  I’ve had several.  My great love for these students is why they always come back into my life – even when they go their seperate ways for a season – and it is always like a reunion when they come back to see me.  Many of them are still in my life today – even after years of being with them.  Theater students, former choir students, and my private piano and voice students.  They are all special and each one unique.

What is the secret to happiness?  Find something that you are passionate about – and do it.  Invest in others.  Love them with all of your heart.  Embrace each moment.  And watch it come back to you.  It will.  I promise ♥

God Bless

On Auto Pilot

Ever have a time in your life where you are just functioning – as if on ‘auto pilot’?  Lately that is what I’m experiencing.  Events have built up over time – heading towards a specific goal – and the busy schedule and blood sweat, loss of sleep and tears – are finally a PAY OFF!!  As you see before you the results.

I am trying to ‘enjoy’ the journey.  Not anxious to have anything go too fast – things that have taken a while to accomplish – not wanting them over too quickly.

I am trying to ‘slow down time’.  To stop and linger.  To enjoy every moment.  To hold on to every ‘snapshot’ in time – every timeless moment – knowing that very soon – it will be gone.

This weekend I am in ‘auto pilot’ mode – with a busy production schedule and a sore directing arm – but my spirits are high – I am attempting to ‘hang on’ to ‘relish’ and ‘enjoy’ every moment – knowing that another ‘moment in time’ will never be quite like this one – again.  I am not going to think about next weekend and the busyness that waits for me after these performances are over tomorrow night.  No.  I am going to rest – and enjoy.  My mind is going to be still – I am going to hang on to this – enjoying my students – embracing old friends that I haven’t seen for years – and special moments I will always remember.

My prayer for you today is the same – that you would ‘rest’ and ‘remember’ – enjoy every moment in time – it won’t come again.

God Bless ♥

By Heart

I was teaching a piano lesson today. My student forgot her music. It was critical for her to have her music today for the recital that she is playing in –  in a couple of weeks – and the song that she was playing just happened to be in the book she left at home. It could have been a disaster. While I have much of the music in a file in my office for such occasions as this – I did not have that particular piece that she is working on for the recital. I racked my brain thinking about what I was going to do so the time would not be wasted – I’m using all of the next few weeks in full concentration on the song that every student is either playing or singing. It was most frustrating – and I already had a tension headache from a rather demanding theater rehearsal! Ugh. But quickly I came up with a plan – I found out how much she could remember “by heart” – and I would fill in the rest. This was hard – and it took much patience on both our parts – but after repeating each measure over and over – we found that we could remember and learn the entire first half of the song in the limited time we had. It was a little painful – but in the end I think she will actually appreciate going home now and having the written music in front of her – after her hard work – and learning it from the actual music will seem less painful after doing some strenuous workout for her memory.

It’s amazing what you bring to mind – and recall – “from heart” when you need to. It’s funny how we can remember – when we need to.
There’s a Jim Brickman song that I love.  These lyrics express it all:

“Even if we’re worlds apart – I’ll find my way back to you – by heart”

I love this.  This is the cry of the  heart.  The heart that never forgets.  The heart that knows whom it loves.

My prayer for you tonight – is that you always remember what the heart does – by heart.

God Bless

Transforming The Beast

He was proud and arrogant

cocky and strong

born of privilege

he could do no wrong

A disguised person came to his door

to offer a great test

he outwardly scoffed

Compassion for a guest?

Thus began the curse

and he was also disguised

for showing no compassion

he became the despised

Then she entered his world

shaken but unmoved

he was undone

as his many emotions proved

By the love of another

was how the  curse could  be broken

his heart – entering hers

with words unspoken

Something was lifting

at first all seemed strange

but the darkness that bound him

slowly began to change

He, who was vulnerable underneath

watched as her love was guiding

the little child

he was desperately hiding

She silently willed him to be better

holding  him with such belief

that there would be no more sadness

no more grief

Could she love him?  He wondered.

A beast imprisoned by sin

there was no beautiful face to see

only someone hideous and grim

But something strange began to happen

as he changed deep inside

The curse was lifting

the selfishness and pride

And as he  felt something more

her love transformed him

made him whole again

filling his heart to the brim

Ah – this is what love does

transforms what must die

refreshes and renews

to find a real beauty deep inside

Today – look beneath the surface

you may find

a beauty waiting where the beast once was

clearly seeing where once you were blind

For love transforms

even the ugliest heart

into something rare and beautiful

lovely from the start

God Bless

I Am Expectant

I was being deep and reflective this morning and posted something on my status update on facebook – something about “feeling a new expectancy” and feeling pretty good about it – when all of a sudden – facebook being what it is – a number of comments came through teasing me and asking if I was “PREGNANT”!!  I laughed at this and it became a joke that Greg and I have been having much fun with today to and from the gym where we both work out.  But being that as it may – I was keenly aware of how the word “expectant” has everyone always assuming that it means a woman is expecting a baby – or in other words, “pregnant”.  So I looked up the word and here is what it said:



  1. Carrying developing offspring within the body.
    1. Weighty or significant; full of meaning: a conversation occasionally punctuated by pregnant pauses.
    2. Of great or potentially great import, implication, or moment: “It was a politically pregnant time in Poland” (New York).
  2. Filled or fraught; replete: “This was, from the Party’s point of view, both deplorable in itself and pregnant with danger for the future” (Robert Conquest).
  3. Having a profusion of ideas; creative or inventive.
  4. Producing results; fruitful: a pregnant decision.

I like that there are different meanings for this GREAT word that describe so much!  But it is also a complicated word – and you don’t just go throwing it around in a sentence.  I can’t imagine, for instance – using it in a sentence when teaching my Junior High theater students, “Oh Monica – I see you are pregnant with great ideas!!  Let’s see if we can make that happen!”  Can  you just imagine the looks and laughter I would get?  And yet – to be “pregnant” is an adjective and has such great depth of meaning.  It is highly overlooked because of the bias surrounding it.

I also looked up “expectant” – the word I used this morning on my status update.  Here is the definition:



  1. Having or marked by expectation: an expectant look; an expectant hush.
  2. Pregnant: expectant mothers.

Now I really like this.  Have you ever experienced “an expectant hush’?  I know I have!  That is what I am feeling today.  It is a feeling that there are AWESOME things ahead – and somehow over the last year – I have lost sight of that.  I have some great friends in my life right now that are reminding me of this fact.  I am in daily communication with them as we encourage each other and keep each other grounded and full of expectancy and lots of love and laughter!

I challenge you today to be “open” to receive some “expectancy” in your own life.  Allow others to speak to you words of hope and wisdom.  Be open to love in ways you never thought possible as you give away some love to others today.  There’s nothing better for you – nothing healthier than a kind loving word between friends and nothing else that will make your heart “pregnant” with new ideas and challenges – as you spur someone else on – in love!  Two hearts that carry a heavy load are always better than one.  Find some laughter to help lift that load today.

God Bless

Beauty And The Beast

Dedicated to all my junior high students auditioning today for the singing parts in our spring musical: “Beauty and the Beast”.

Good Luck Everyone!!

Ella Enchanted

I have had the privilege of working with some AWESOME students and AMAZING teachers and parents this week – putting on “Ella Enchanted” at the Renton Civic Theater.

This has been the hardest one to put together because my best friend and co-director Laura – actually wrote the script from the movie and there were so many last minute (and not so last minute) changes to the script and music – because the thing was just TOO LONG!!  Not to mention costume, set and lighting changes.  Up until last night’s opening performance – we were not sure on things like lighting, sound and changes – so it was a bit scary.

The music is all pretty “retro” and fun for the kids to be learning stuff from the 70’s – my generation ☺  It was a blast bringing it all together to create just the right mood for each scene – and I have to say now that we have one performance “under our belt” – that the extra time and effort to pull this one off has certainly been WORTH IT!!!

To see students just “come alive” – as they believe that they can DO IT – has been worth it for each of us who love these students so much and want and believe the very best for them!!

A production like this takes an enormous amount of help from students and parents – and we couldn’t even begin to put something like this on – if it weren’t for a whole LEAGE of parent volunteers.  We are BLESSED!!

We are all pretty tired and have 3 more performances to go!  But what a blessing to be around these students again today and tomorrow – as we truly “give our best” for the people coming to see it!  There’s never a dull moment around the theater – and lots of fun moments for pictures!

Here are just a few!  Enjoy!!

Finding Laughter In the Oddest Places

My friend just recently told me he’s learned to find laughter in the oddest places – and I was thinking, “yup – that’s what I do too”  It seems the more subtle and weird – the funnier it is – the quirkier the better!

My son’s basketball coach is no exception to this.  He’s a mixture of Cuba Gooding Jr. and Eddie Murphy – just CRACKS ME UP!!  Every game is complete with it’s own set of sideline drama -and I am HIGHLY amused more by this than in the actual watching of the game.

The other night – there was a coach from the rival team that was highly “colorful” too – so it was doubly amusing.  I mean – come on!  It’s great comedy – who needs TV?

I’m also amused by life in general and in the way people choose to respond to things – especially in public.  And Junior High kids – don’t even get me started!  I love that age because they are so “out there” and the more “out there” they are – the more they make me laugh.  Even doing “warm ups” as we often do for theater class will set me into fits of giggles!  And just forget it – when they say or do something funny in class or on stage (we are in the middle of theater rehearsals this week and next for “Ella Enchanted”) I am completely “undone”.  No one can make me laugh like a junior high kid!

I believe you have to laugh.  It beats the alternative – and believe me – I’ve been there.  Crying is good too – helps to release pent up emotion and sometimes it is very healing for the hurting heart – but laughter – that’s something else indeed.  And when you can truly laugh at the absurd and ridiculous – then my friend, you have found a path to healing and wholeness that many do not ever find.

I believe you have to learn to laugh at yourself.  It is a positive thing not to take yourself too seriously.  Whenever I have a family member or friend that is being too serious or melancholy about something – I will alway do something to make them smile or even better – laugh!  So good – so great of a release.  We need more people in our lives to help us laugh.  Life has its own set of problems without borrowing more.  Laughing at ourselves helps to put things into proper perspective – and makes us look at our world with fresh eyes.

Find some laughter today.  If you are not good at laughing at yourself – or in finding laughter in something completely random – enlist the help of a good friend who can help you.  I have many friends that I daily laugh with – it helps to ease the tension and can create many “bonding” moments for us.  Find joy and light heartedness in the things around you – the simple pleasures of a good joke – an amusing antidote with a kind and generous “fun” friend.

Keep a smile on your face and laughter in your heart ♥

Thank you Tim – for this idea for my blog today ♥

God Bless

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