I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed my time on the stage playing the role of Annie Oakley. It was absolutely the most fun I've had performing in many, many years. While I've sung a whole lot over the course of the past couple of decades, I had not done much acting at all, and certainly no musical theater. The last real lead theater role I had was that of Alice in Wonderland when I was in high school. So when I began the adventure of "Annie Get Your Gun" I wasn't real sure how well I would do. Could I memorize the 100+ page script? Could I handle all of the songs? Could I still sing and dance and act all at the same time?
The answer was a resounding YES! I could and I did. And it was SO... MUCH... FUN!!!!
Taking on such a big role was a huge undertaking. I spent every spare moment I had learning not only my lines, but everyone else's, too, and rehearsing the music. I ate, drank, slept and breathed this play for two months. But all the work was so worth it. I am exhausted, but so incredibly proud of what we accomplished. The accolades continue to pour in for the show, and it's been fun hearing folks say I "belong on Broadway." That's a pretty big stretch, but an incredible boost to my self-esteem, regardless.
My stepson, the real actor, has told me twice that he was proud and inspired. My husband attended every night, including the final dress rehearsal and has said a few times that he is sad it's all over. My daughter told me that although she has listened to me sing her entire life, she has never heard me sing "like that." My father and stepmom told me I'm a "darn good little actress." And my mom was incredibly impressed that I did so well after such a long absence from the acting stage.
But here's the thing... I loved Annie. I really fell in love with the character. She was funny, and it brought me joy to make people laugh. She was also tough, yet innocent and childlike in many ways. She figured out what she wanted and how to get it. She was trusting. And she was vulnerable. There was a scene where I had to cry onstage, and it surprised even me that I was able to shed real tears. I'm not sure if I could do that with another character, but with Annie it was easy because I WAS her for those few hours on the stage. And as I type this right now, my eyes are welling up a bit, too, not because of that particular scene, but because I miss her. I miss Annie. I miss "being" Annie. I can't explain it really, other that to say that to become her, she had to become a part of me. And now that part of me is gone.
My friend, Bobby Darrow, who directs the Shreveport Little Theater told me that this post-show depression is normal and will go away (in his words) "when you do your next show!" And he sent me a list of upcoming SLT productions. I'm not sure what/when my next theater role will be, but I just hope I can fall in love with it like I did with Annie.