My thoughts and heart have been elsewhere this week as I watched 26 amazing kids bring a wonderful story to life. Three months of hard work, early morning practices, painting, sewing and searching paid off as the lights went down in our little town then spotlighted something entirely different. I watched as my daughter took off her shoes and stepped into another character, complete with sparkling gowns and the voice of a nightingale. I held both breath and tears as my little girl in the Jasmine T-shirt with a Barbie in hand was transformed into a beautiful young lady whose hand was now held by a charming young man.
It was all make-believe...and yet it was all quite real. Over the course of 12 weeks I saw tentative, shy and even comical teenagers become confidant, serious young actors. Despite the fact that they started out as the little engines, they learned that they indeed "could" as they chugged up the hill, gathering steam and bursting through the long tunnel with strength and purpose and song. It has been a journey for each in his or her own way, and the results were spectacular.
Under a colorful canopy and a glittering skyline, they danced and sang, made us laugh and cheer. With each performance their characters grew and within those portrayals, they found themselves.
Working with the drama teacher and our pianist was a complete joy. We learned, bonded, grew and developed a new respect and admiration for each other. It was a joyful experience, one I am thrilled to have been a part of and I am so very proud of these dedicated and lovely young people.
Once in awhile our lives take a turn and we are transformed. That is what happened this week. Eyes have been opened and hearts ever changed. For all of us who were a part of "Aladdin", it truly is a whole new world.