Am I wrong to feel upset?

<p>My daughter just finished 8th grade, will be continuing into 9th at a 6-12 charter school that specializes in performing arts. (I found college confidential for my son who will be starting college in the fall...)
The school is having a summer musical theater camp for middle school students (going into grade 6-9).
My daughter was debating about whether to do this camp or do summer "dance intensives" (which would have helped her advance in dance) at her school, or do a musical theater program put on by an organization other than her school.
She was sitting on the fence until her voice teacher (who is one of the musical theater camp directors) told her that she had the "perfect part" for my D in the summer program. That lead my daughter to decide to do the musical theater camp.
So the first day of camp arrives and the part my daughter is given is essentially, as far as I can tell, part of a small ensemble with very few lines, singing as part of a chorus, one solo singing line in one song.
Am I wrong to think that the "perfect part" implied something more than this?
I can guess that another girl who is a very strong soprano singer and performer signed up for the camp after my daughter did and that she got the "perfect part" that the voice teacher had mentioned.
Am I wrong in thinking, though, that the voice teacher really should not have told my daughter that she had the "perfect part" for her and influenced her decision in this way??
I know there is nothing to be done about this. My daughter, as usual, is taking it better than I am and has never once complained (although she has seemed a little down). There is nothing to be done except for me to get over it and for my D to make the very best of the part she has and the experience.
BUT am I wrong in thinking that this should not have happened??</p>

<p>You are not wrong to feel this should not have happened, but it happens all the time. My D definitely has a thicker skin than I do about this kind of stuff, and I tend to hold onto it for a while. My advice is to keep your mouth shut to both the school and your D, and chalk it up to a learning experience.</p>

<p>Thanks, musicmom. Yes, I will keep my mouth shut, and I'm glad that I was able to vent my frustration here.
If any of you more experienced moms have any further advice on how to handle the numerous disappointments and heartbreaks that seem to come with having a child involved in musical theater, and avoid becoming a psycho stage mom, I would appreciate it!
And most of all, thanks for "listening" to my rant!</p>

<p>Thank you for bringing something honest and real that we all deal with to this forum. It is hard to be a parent and see all of this, and wonder how to be supportive, or if you should actually do something. Isn't it wonderful to have us all here to talk to! </p>

<p>My D, a theater freak from the sidelines all her life, only started performing on stage in mid-high school. She's planning on studying theater in college, preferably a BFA, and knows she doesn't know the inside of this life like more experienced kids do (we don't have any performing arts schools here, sadly). </p>

<p>She's spent this whole year (junior) doing as much performing and especially auditioning as she can, purely to get these kinds of experiences.</p>

<p>Holy cow! She's seen a ton already, and she's grateful. She's learned fast just to see every opportunity as an experience to learn something. She's learned how weird it all is, how unpredictable, and how much misunderstanding (I won't say misleading) goes on. She's learned to be happy with ANY part. She's learned to give her all even if she's "only" in the chorus. She's learned to be happy just to have the privilege of auditioning. She's had the joy of a couple of good parts already, and she told me last night that she knows she's been very lucky to get them. She knows this doesn't "prove" her talent, but it means something that people are willing to give her the chance. Of course she has her self-doubts, and she gets nervous and upset, but I think in all she's more confident the more that she experiences. She gets very frustrated with people who make assumptions and get miffed when things don't go "their" way. That seems useless to her. </p>

<p>I know you're not saying "how dare they not star MY kid!" You're just saying that they all try so hard and it's confusing and difficult. It's SO hard being a parent on the outside. But I figure it's going to be a lot of years ahead of us that she is going to be dealing with this ... really, we all do, just not within the theater microscope.</p>

<p>Off I go to pick her up from her SAT2s! Good luck, everyone!</p>

<p>I know of a FATHER of a teenage girl who thinks his D should get any part she wants because her mother volunteers so much with the community theatre. He actually has said this OUT LOUD to one of my co-workers. If that were the way it works, my D would have had the leads in a ton of shows for all the hours I've put in. LOL I do know how he feels, but I learned a long time ago to just take what comes and be quiet!</p>

<p>As a mom, I certainly understand the OP's disappointment. However, I am a voice teacher and director myself, and I can tell you that those smaller roles are just as important as the larger ones. Maybe this is the part that the teacher had in mind all along? You can't always assume that the "perfect part" is a lead role! It's really a shame, though, if that's what the teacher led you to believe.</p>

<p>I'm glad your daughter is taking this situation well; it sounds like she has a good attitude. I just finished working on a high school production where a student didn't get the role she had hoped for. Even though she did get a good role in the show, she sulked and pouted all through the rehearsal period, generally making life miserable for herself and everyone else in the cast.</p>

<p>There are inevitably many disappointments in the world of theater. It's really wise not to allow your child (and yourself!) to get too invested in winning a particular role. I think it's often more difficult for the parents to learn this lesson!</p>

<p>I think the most intense lesson my D has learned - and by learned, I mean she's gotten at least an inkling of what it means - is that directors are directors, and they are in charge. Sometimes they have vision, sometimes just whims. But whatever the case, she is ready, at least for now, just to soak that up, try to observe and figure out what works for her (or not). This is invaluable, in my opinion, before she commits to any program in theater, especially a BFA. </p>

<p>Before deciding on theater, she was more involved in music, and the same thing applies there, although it's usually easier to define (you pretty much know who the best players are and they usually get the best parts, not so much a question of "vision" by the director). </p>

<p>I have quoted a line for her for the past couple of years from the movie "Singing in the Rain," where Gene Kelly says of his early years performing that his motto was "Dignity, always dignity." Of course anyone who's seen that movie knows he was being facetious, but actually it's not a bad motto. She's been proud that when the cast lists get posted she's managed not to be the one stomping off or crying or gushing so much people want to kill her. She's seen way too much of that. She does her emoting in private.</p>

<p>And I try to, too. My H makes do with fantasizing snotty comments he can make someday to the directors ...</p>

<p>My D was in the production onstage is talking about and I think I know who she's taking about (I hope it's not my D!!!....) and yes, it was a miserable time for many in that show. My D was told that the lead role in the show was up for grabs and that the hard work and time each kid had spent in other capacities within the drama club would be taken into consideration when casting. She did not get the lead and as an actress actively involved in many outside community productions and the only kid in the school who will be attending a 4 year college for MT, she was embarrassed and crushed, although not surprised. Many people assumed she was going to be the lead (she never did...she knew from the time the show was announced that it wasn't chosen as a star vehicle for her) and she had to tell them that no, she wasn't the lead. As a matter of fact, she didn't even have a solo song... her songs were duets and a quartet. The lead character in this show just wasn't right for her...instead she had a supporting role that fit the director's vision of the show...and you know what?....she did a terrific job with what she had and has now moved on. It's only one show and it certainly won't define her career. So, although it may seem as though your D has been lead on it's most likely just how the director envisioned the show. In the particular show onstage and I are talking about, I think that the supporting roles were actually more interesting in many ways than the leads. So take it for what it is and make everything a learning experience. As they say in Annie..."It's a hard knock life!"</p>

<p><<<my h="" makes="" do="" with="" fantasizing="" snotty="" comments="" he="" can="" make="" someday="" to="" the="" directors="" ...="">>>
This made me giggle!!! I do the same thing!!!</my></p>

<p>Just more commiserating.
D has just graduated from a 4-12 public PA and had been in every muscial since 5th grade when she was first eligible to audition. She moved from ensemble (well in the young kids musicals she had leads but in major musicals when competing with all grades) to fetured and suporting roles. This year she looked like a shoe in as Carmin in Fame. But they switched music directors to her old choir and voice teacher and she only got a non-singing dance part. She was most upset because the music director publicly made comments about her singing ability and how dance had ruined it.
D was hurt, but moved on, did her part, enjoyed the dancing and generally had a good time. Dad and I took her frustration less well, but would also joke with her that we would push the music director down the stairs or that she should sing really loudly off key from the ensemble... D knew we were joking but she also felt better that we could express her frustration and "all the injustice" of it.
I think it was easier for us since D was a senior and we were all moving on and could use it to reflect on many of the ups and downs, and just plan dumb drama of her school (she was there for NINE long years). I am not sure at 8th or 9th grade we would have acted the same way with her.
But let your D know you support her and these things will happen, but how we all handle them is the measure of who we are.</p>

<p>My son could not have the lead in his last show beacuse it was a very high tenor role and he is a base / baritone. He can sing some tenor roles but no way could he have sung this one :). Anyway he was given another role that clearly was meant for him. He was thrilled and did an outstanding performance. the leading roles are not always the ones the audience walks away remembering!!</p>

<p>My D was told she was going to get Gertrude or one of the trio in Seussical. Then she got ensemble. She went to the first read-through, then was asked to audtition for an all teen production of Footloose. She got Vi right away, and so she explained her opoortunity to the director of Seussical (the MDs daughter got Gertrude) who had told her the above info. She said she understood Ds dilemma... but was kinda condescending and snotty. So my D politely left Seussical and was fabulous (rave reviews) as Vi. She felt very guilty, and we were torn as we had always said honor your committments... We have since heard other similar stories involving the same director.</p>

<p>We'll always second guess about that one. But my D was NEVER divaish, nor has she been since. She very happily works crew on shows when she's not cast, etc. And I get much angrier than she! Glad it is not me in her position! And she does seem gratified when she can safely rant abit about things and move on!</p>

<p>OK, since we're sharing stories, I'll share ours from this summer. My D auditioned for a summer HS production of Fame, in another town. A big town, with lots of talented kids who had all been in a lot of shows together. She's not a pop/rock type of singer and never expected a huge part. Then she was SO excited to be called back - except the director said, "Bring your saxophone." She held it together until we were in the car, when she said, "Darn it, I dropped marching band this summer to be in a play, and what do they want me to read for? The saxophone player!" </p>

<p>Within a few hours, she went from saying, "I'm only up for a part because I play the saxophone" to "Hey, I might get a part because I play the saxophone" to "Hey, I get to play the saxophone and I don't care if I get the part at all"!</p>

<p>The end of the story is that not only did she get the role of Goody, the saxophone player, but they rewrote the script to give her even more lines, because they liked her reading so much (to those of you who know the show: she gets to do Lambchop's "Death of a Salesman" rant, and she is PSYCHED!). And we've read reviews of Fame that say people in that part can really shine, so we can't wait to see how it turns out. Plus it's dawning on her that it's pretty darn hard to come into another theater community raw and get a part at all, let alone a pretty good one. They even kept the ensemble of this show pretty small.</p>

<p>And being a supporting role gives her a chance to pitch in on a couple of other summer productions that her hometown theater group is doing.</p>

<p>She's pretty darn happy right now. And definitely solid on the fact that you just can't predict anything, only do your best and see how it turns out.</p>

<p>inspired - Sorry that happened to your D but my guess is that in this crazy business it will not be the last time something like that happens. A few years ago my D auditioned for a role in a regional production of Seussical. It was the summer show and she had been in the previous summer production and was very excited when she was called back and asked to read for several roles. At the same time, she learned that she has been accepted to the OCU summer program. She talked to the person coordinating the show auditions about when the casting would be annunced since we needed to pay to keep her spot at OCU. She was told that she would definitely be cast but they didn't know what role. They even called her a few days later to make sure she was going to stay in town to do the show. She said yes - and we took her name off the list at OCU. Guess what - she wasn't cast at all. They changed directors and the new director had a "new vision" for the show. So no summer camp and no show. Talk about being bummed! In the end, we managed to pull together a great summer with another camp and she got cast in a show at another theatre. We even went to see Seussical and enjoyed it (but I admit it was all I could do not to throw something at the new director when I saw her LOL!) So hang in there! It's a bumpy ride but my D still thinks it is the best thing going.</p>

<p>I really think that as hard as these experiences are on our kids (us) in the long run, they grow from them.</p>

<p>It is so reassuring to "sit" with these other parents who've watched the somewhat unpredictable and capricious nature of casting. Dd, too, had an...interesting year w/the high school shows, as she was competing against the director's personal friend...she plodded on with ensemble/featured dancer (part of the problem, I think, is that the director sees d ONLY as a dancer). What was interesting was the number of other kids (and adult audience members) who came up to kiddo after the show with comments along the line of "I wish we had seen MORE of you...". Made her realize that casting is what it is -- subjective, subject to forces beyond her control, and her job is to do her best with the roles she receives.</p>

<p>She's taking the attitude that high school is just that -- high school. A place for experience. Concentrating on audition prep for next year, and getting lots of great support from her (not connected to high school) arts instructors. </p>

<p>As parents, we feel keenly our kids' frustrations...but I think they are often more resiliant than we are. Besides, she plans to win the "Worst high school theatre experience" award during bull sessions once she gets to college ;-)</p>

<p>All of this sounds so familiar to me. At about age 8, my D was asked to audition for a musical version of Alice in Wonderland. And she was ecstatic to have been asked, auditioned, and was cast as the Cheshire Cat. And while it was a good part, it blew away her expectations. As parents, it is hard to see the vision of the director. </p>

<p>When D was a senior in high school, she was being considered for and eventually cast as Eponine in Les Mis. I saw the music director the evening before the cast list went up and she said D had gotten cast as "the part she wanted". I was not convinced that something would change by morning. The bottom line is that you can never count on being cast until you see your name on that list. </p>

<p>I agree with Austinmom that "even though it is a bumpy ride, my D thinks it's the best thing going."</p>

<p>But there is something just so bizarre about being told by the person who is s'posed to be your "boss" for the time being that you have the part of so and so one day, and not even seeing your name on the list the next day!</p>

<p>Kinda like being told your job is secure and then findkng the pink slip on your desk...</p>

<p>RE POST #17 OOPS! I left out the fact D was told by the director "you would make a perfect little Alice." I should not be posting anything at 12:31 am to start with!!</p>

<p>This is a tough road - and it is hard when casting is based on favorites, or family members, or whether you fit in the costume. I think at the end of the day it is important to help your kids look at the variables and make the best out of the part they have. For my D, once the cast list is up, it is done for her and she really has a good attitude and goes all out whatever part she has. I think it is easy as parents to get our feathers ruffled and feel our kids might have been shortchanged, but in the end, I try to be as supportive as possible and focus on the positive.</p>

<p>Inspiredbymusic-So sorry this happened to your daughter. I think you have every right to feel upset but I think I'd spend my energies encouraging your daughter to take in everything there is to learn at this camp. You may not have considered the skills she might gain and future opportunities that may come of this camp, regardless of how she is cast in the show.</p>

<p>Re: post #8 -- no, I definitely wasn't talking about stagemom23's daughter! In fact, she's the perfect example of how to handle disappointment gracefully; not only did she behave professionally, she did a wonderful job with her role; in fact, the lyricist of the play (Thoroughly Modern Millie) visited our cast and commented that she was perfectly cast.
Which brings me to another point: SOOO much of what we are discussing has to do with "type". If there are several equally talented actors contending for a role, the decision often will come down to "Who best fits the role physically?" This is a really key factor in casting that is often underestimated. It may not be "fair", but it is very much a fact. And it comes more into play as productions get more professional and there is more competition for roles.</p>