If you’re anything like me, you love watching the Academy Awards, especially if you have seen some or all of the new movies and songs. I can’t even imagine all it takes to get there, never mind being in line for an Oscar.
Way back when I was in high school, I played “Anna” in The King and I. It was a joy and it was bittersweet because it was my last year of high school, so no more musicals for me. After the end of the show, we all took our bows together. At that time, parents and friends came up on stage, including my own parents. I noticed a tall man with them, and he introduced himself as Francis Cleveland, the director of the *Barnstormers theatre in Tamworth, NH.
He complimented me on my performance (which thrilled me!), and he asked me if my wish was to become an actress. I told him no, that I just enjoyed being in plays but was not at all interested in becoming a “real” actress. I told him that I wanted a “real life.” He smiled and shook my hand and said “wonderful, it’s a pretty tough life. However, I am in need of a young girl like yourself to be in our shows this summer. Are you interested?”
Was I! I asked my parents if that was all right with them, and they yes. It turned out to be one of the best summers of my life. I even enjoyed the endless rehearsals each day, and I was lucky enough to have some great roles. But as much as I loved it, I realized that indeed I really did want a “real life.”
Whenever the Academy Awards are on, I always watch and wonder what all the actors have gone through to get this far.
When my dad had a school reunion, he ran into an old friend of his, **Estelle Parsons. They caught up on their lives, and in the conversation, she asked Dad if he had children. He told her that yes, he had a daughter, and told her about my acting. Ms. Parsons asked him if I wanted to become a “real” actress, and he laughed and said, no, that I wasn’t interested in that. She laughed and told him that acting is pretty tough.
Cheers to the winners last night; they earned it.
*The Barnstormers, located in the scenic village of Tamworth, NH, is one of the longest-running professional summer theatres in the country.
The company was founded in 1931 by Francis Cleveland, the youngest son of President Grover Cleveland, Francis’s wife Alice and their friend Ed Goodnow – all of whom were involved with theatre on Broadway. Over eighty years later, their legacy continues.
Today, The Barnstormers is one of three Equity theatres in New Hampshire and provides the region with brilliant summer theatre.
**From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Estelle Margaret Parsons (born November 20, 1927) is an American actress, singer and stage director.
After studying law, Parsons became a singer before deciding to pursue a career in acting. She worked for the television program Today and made her stage debut in 1961. During the 1960s, Parsons established her career on Broadway before progressing to film. She received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and was also nominated for her work in Rachel, Rachel (1968).
She worked extensively in film and theatre during the 1970s and later directed several Broadway productions. More recently her television work included her most well-known role, playing Beverly Harris, mother of the eponymous title character, on the sitcom Roseanne, and its spinoff The Conners. She has been nominated five times for the Tony Award (four times for Lead Actress of a Play and once for Featured Actress). In 2004, Parsons was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.