Last night, we saw the Rockville MD community theater version of Annie.
We all know Lilly loves plays, musicals, movies, music, acting, dancing, theater, productions, Broadway, etc. She has a true appreciation for these things; but even more, she "gets" it - she memorizes plays, she remembers the lines each person says, she figures out the intricacies of the choreography.
She didn't get this from Jon or me; as much as we like "shows" we don't have an eye for it like Lilly does. It's a gift that is unique, and it is amazing to watch her appreciation and understanding of the fine arts.
We've taken her to plays (and concerts and all kinds of things like this) her whole life. Since she saw her first parade at Disney World when she was 13 months, we knew she appreciated these things - her clapping and big grin at that age told a story all its own. She was so little, but she made eye contact with each "character" and it was like they understood her and she understood them. I can't explain it.
And this past year of living near Broadway plays has taken it to a new level - she loves the big productions - and fell in love with Mary Poppins, Mamma Mia, and Lion King on Broadway, along with a number of off-Broadway shows. One of my best moments with her is sitting in our private box at Mary Poppins (which I got on discount for $50/ticket!) and watching her melt into the production. She wasn't just watching Mary Poppins, she was immersed in the experience.
And her birthday came along and we took her to Mamma Mia with our whole family in NYC - and she LOVED it (she had seen it once before on Broadway). My sister said, it's amazing watching Lilly - she is so "at home" in this posh seat, 4 rows from the stage, appreciating the experience as much or more than any other patron.
So when we got ready to go to Annie last night - we weren't sure if a "community theater" version would be "enough" for Lilly. But she ate it up.
As we walk into a theater - we get some looks. She's usually the youngest kid there. People look at us like: "Is she going to behave in here?"
But Lilly holds her head high. She asks politely for her ticket, and waits in line to go inside. She hands her ticket to the ticket taker (is that what they're called?) and takes the stub back from them. Then she goes to the next person and holds her hand out for her "Playbill" (or the alternative as was the case at this community theater version). She walks down the aisle, asking us which row and seats are hers. When we arrive at our seats, she sits down properly, with a big smile, and looks through her Playbill and gets so excited. She doesn't get up and bounce around, she just sits waiting - even if it's a half hour before the play starts. She is patient with anticipation of our upcoming event.
During the peformance, she watches intently through each scene. When complete, she bursts into a huge grin and claps appropriately. She knows to add extra clapping when someone hits a perfect huge note or does a special dance, and laughs at all the right times.
I swear, if you didn't see that Lilly was a little kid, just judging from her behavior alone, you'd thinks she was an Upper East Side elderly expert theater patron. She just "gets" it in a way that is beyond her years, and beyond most of the "average" person's apprecation.
During the intermission, she sits or sometimes stands, and politely chats with us. She does not want to leave walk around or go to the bathroom, because she doesn't want to miss a thing. She doesn't need to be bribed with food or drink or anything to be "good" because she truly understands she's at a special event and is just thrilled to be here. When the play is over, she stands and claps as everyone bows. Many times, she asks if she can meet the actors, which we explain that she can't. Last night, we asked her what her favorite part of the show is; and she said: "Annie."
I love watching my girl in this type of environment, it brings out such an amazing side of her, and her appreciation makes me want to take her back again and again and have her experience as many events like this as she can.
Can't wait to be on the Disney Cruise ship next week so we can have 10 nights of shows!