Why TV Has Taught Me to Dream Big
If you've been reading my posts, then you already know a few things about me. I love to sing, I love books, movies and I love love love to watch television. Sure I may not be setting a great example for my kids, but right about now, as we're all sitting together watching the "Glee" finale, I say these are the moments I will always cherish with my family.
When I was a teenager, I remember watching "Star Search" and "Fame" religiously and even recall seeing Rosie O'Donnell and Lee Ann Rhimes get discovered. I used to dream about how I'd love to audition for those shows, but never took a chance because I was afraid to fail. Instead, I stuck to performing at my high school and at singing recitals.
Before CD's, DVD's and DVR's, I remember playing the "Fame" album (the one from the TV show) every time I hung out at my friend Lois' house. I also remember grabbing a hairbrush and singing my heart out in front of my mirror. I imagined myself performing on Broadway. Those shows made me believe I could be anything I wanted to be. And then rejection reared it's ugly head (I blew my audition for the High School of Peforming Arts) and I stopped believing.
Don't get me wrong, while I never pursued my ultimate dream of auditioning for a Broadway show and actually making the cut, to this day, I still sing and act. I sang at my wedding and perform at my local synagogue every year. Throughout my career, I worked behind the scenes in TV and found that a lot of my colleagues were former singers and actors too. I even wrote a few song parodies to accompany the essays in my last book "See Mom Run" that I hope one day to turn into a stage show. And these days, my absolute favorite past time is to drive alone while singing to the soundtrack from "Rent" or "Wicked."
And that's why, when my daughter suddenly expressed interest in singing, I became giddy with excitement. You see, when it comes to the things I love to do, she frequently does the opposite. While I love her to pieces, oftentimes, when I say black, she says white. We argue often over silly things - like clothing, not cleaning her room or the fact that she hasn't taken care of the cat litter. But on the flip side, she really knows how to make me proud. She's an incredible artist and boy, can she sing. She recently asked to perform a solo at our synagogue (the first time she's ever done so) and she sounded absolutely amazing. And lately, I've been hearing her sing in the shower too. Could it be that we do share something in common? One can only hope.
All I know is that when the time comes, if she ever does want to pursue her passion for the arts, I will support her every step of the way. I will teach her that the only way to succeed, is to fail many times over. And the individuals who experience true happiness are the ones who always do what they love. At the end of the day, my dreams always come back to TV. Whlle watching "Glee" tonight, we got to see a surprise appearance by Patty Lupone, who offered the best advice to any budding performer:
"Rachel Barry, promise me one thing, you'll never give up!"
And then, Rachel and Kurt did something I have always wanted to do...crashed a Broadway stage ("Wicked" to be precise) and the security guard let them take the stage and sing the final song to one of my favorite shows of all time..."I Have Been Changed for Good."
At the end of the show, the biggest surprise of all happened to New Directions - they lost nationals. They failed. And you know what, that was the best thing that could have happened to them. Despite the fact that "Glee" is just a TV show - as crazy as it may seem, it's one of the most authentic shows I have ever seen and that's why I love it.
So here's my special message to moms, daughters, and other aspiring performers who show that certain spark that could take them all the way to the top.
Kids: Keep trying and never give up!
Parents: Do what you loved before you became a mom and if you have a young daughter or son who dreams big, never let them give up no matter how hard it may seem.
And most of all, never stop watching those TV shows that have the power to flip a switch in our brains and dare us to dream big. So thank you "Star Search," "Fame," "American Idol" and "Glee." You have inspired my kids and I to do what we love and for that, I want to say thank you! Until next season...