In my former life, and believe me, it feels like a long time ago…I was an actress and singer living the dream in New York City. For a number of years I diligently pursued fame and fortune on Broadway and my stated goal was to be a Tony Award winning star!
I performed all over the country doing regional theatre, dinner theatre, children’s theatre, off-off broadway, you name it.
In 1980, I auditioned for the role of the understudy of Anna in the National Tour of The King and I starring Yul Brynner. I got the part and diligently rehearsed and rehearsed until I knew my role backwards and forwards. Below, is an excerpt from chapter one of my book, Growing Great Kids and tells what happened next:
Life Comes At You Fast
“About 2 months into the run of the show, I arrived at the theatre around 7:15pm for the 8:00pm curtain only to find out the leading lady was sick –and I was going on for the first time as the leading lady in forty-five minutes! I knew my part well but had never worn the costumes or handled the props, let alone been onstage with Yul Brynner! I was freaking out but I had to focus and get ready. The night turned out well and I got to perform the role of Anna for two weeks while the leading lady was out with pneumonia. In the end, Yul Brynner (who not only starred in the show but was also one of its producers) preferred me in the role so he bought out the leading lady’s contract and offered me the role of a lifetime! It was an amazing time for me and I was privileged to play the part of Anna more than a thousand times, before more than a million theatre goers over the next 2 1/2 years!
The best part of the entire experience though, was meeting my husband Mike. He joined the tour about 6 months into the run of the show as the Associate Conductor and, as he likes to say, we literally fell in love across the footlights!
After performing eight shows a week for the next 2 1/2 years, we left the tour, moved back to New York City, got married, bought a little condo in Greenwich Village and began our new life together. A year later, we found ourselves answering an altar call and giving our hearts to the Lord. Franny was born a year later and we thoroughly enjoyed our new little family amid all the excitement of living and working in the hustle bustle of New York’s music and theatre world.
It wasn’t long, though, before we began to feel the tug on our heart to lay down the business we had worked so hard find our way in and follow what God had in store for us next. Bucking conventional wisdom, but following what we believed was God’s best for our family, we eventually left New York and our careers behind to embark on building a new life that included moving to the suburbs, starting a new business and homeschooling our little girl.”
Sometimes your dreams do come true. Interesting that my big break was with The King and I. Now it’s just the King, and i.