Every now and then, you have a chance to be involved in something special. We just finished up our last show of "Annie". I can't even explain how wonderful it was to be a part of all this. Jaz is completely exhausted, but loved every minute of it. The entire cast (both human and canine) was phenomenal. Such talent. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. ♥I feel like being a part of this production of Annie was one of the highlights of this year for us. This was our first experience with the Valley Youth Theater. And it was such a great experience. By working together, you really do develop a closeness and friendship with everyone. And the entire cast just LOVED the dogs. (Both Abbie and Jasmine) They were always getting loves from everyone. The dogs wouldn't even stay in their dressing rooms after a while, they would always be down in the actors lounge hanging out with the kids! Jaz played the part of the "homeless dog", and we even were part of the curtain call. After the last song, Jaz and I were the first ones to go out on stage to take a bow. (Both dogs know how to bow.) :)
Jaz and Abbie had their own dressing room- with their names written on the mirror! ;)
Because of the friendships that developed, my view of the play changed. At the beginning, it was just cool being backstage and being part of a production. I've never been involved in theater before. And every show was a little different. And it's quite a complex process! Watching actors dash back to their rooms to do a costume change, changing out scenery and backdrops, and making sure every person is in their right places for their cues. After a couple of shows, it became a smooth process. It was interesting to observe the chemistry and dynamics between the audience and cast. During the last show, I went up to the 3rd floor balcony to watch a part that I had never seen. They did fantastic. I know how much work this is for them. And to make the last show have the same amount of energy and enthusiasm as the first show is tricky. But they did it. And I was so proud.
I've been to a lot of plays before. I thoroughly enjoy good theater. I love music, drama, and dance. But it's a different experience when you know someone in the cast. You're more involved, it's more personal. And when you've become friends with the ENTIRE cast, it's a completely different experience. Watching from the 3rd floor balcony, I was enthralled. This cast from the Valley Youth Theater ranged from ages 8-18. And they were phenomenal. I just loved watching the choreography of the dance numbers, and listening to them sing. There is so much talent there.
And I was so happy to be a part of it. At first, I was just responsible for Jasmine. But then they made me the "dog handler" for both dogs- Abbie (a.k.a. Sandy) and Jasmine. Abbie responded really well to me. (The treat pouch I always had at my waist was probably a motivating factor there!!) ;) But it was really cool being completely responsible for both dogs. I had to get them to their cues on time, and signal them from off-stage. (and make sure they got their potty breaks at the right time!) Both dogs did great!! I'm pretty sure they had their parts memorized too! After each show, the entire cast went out into the lobby to take pictures and sign autographs. (Both dogs had a paw stamp!) The dogs did fantastic here too- with so many strangers petting them and wanting to take pictures with them. It was tiring, but they were troopers!
I feel like I have made such wonderful friends with the cast. My motto has always been "Carpe Diem"- Seize the Day. And I can't think of a better way to have spent the month of June than working closely with these people to help make this production of Annie a huge success. (Granted, I had a small part... but we all played a part.) Now that it's over, I'm kind of going through withdrawals! I miss the songs, and the kids. Good thing we have Facebook to stay in touch! And I ordered a DVD of the play. That way I will always be able to remember our time together. :)
P.S. Jaz had to have her long coat so she looked like a shaggy, homeless dog. Now that the play is over, she got shaved! It's much cooler in the summertime!