Yes, This Will Be On the Test

Writing, Reading, Laughing

Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Surrender


Do you know what will happen once you start reading SURRENDER, by Elana Johnson? 

You will need to call in sick to work
No housework will get done 
The kids will have to find their own way to school/sports
Your pets must learn to forage for food

Because -
YOU CAN'T PUT IT DOWN

The Characters...The Tech...The World...The Love Stories
All DELICIOUS!

I love the premise of perseverance that this Never Surrender Blogfest embraces. Thank you Elana Johnson for encouraging us to share our stories.

I Can Do That
In 1971, when I was thirteen I saw the musical, Coco, starring Katherine Hepburn at the Los Angeles Music Center. I was a four year veteran of community theatre with dreams of being an actress. At the end of the show, I turned to my mother and said, "Next year I'm going to be up on that stage."

Cue the condescending smile.

A few months later, lo and behold there were auditions for The Sound of Music to be performed on that very stage. My mother wouldn't let me audition because I had braces, and she said my singing voice wouldn't cut it.

My brother auditioned and was cast. At least three of the Von Trapp kids had braces.

I watched the show every night for six weeks. 

At the end of the summer the company was auditioning replacements for the kids who didn't want to continue on the tour.

In my bedroom, I sang to the Broadway cast album at least 100 times, and practiced the dances I'd been watching for weeks.

My braces and I got the part.

I performed the role of Louisa Von Trapp on the stage of the Los Angeles Music Center in 1972, and continued to do so for the rest of the tour.

"If you can dream it, you can do it."
Walt Disney

Join me in hopping to the blogs on the list below to soak up more rays of perseverance. 

37 comments:

  1. Love this story!!! I played that album over and over and over as a kid and watched it every time it came on TV. I bet you were a fabulous Louisa :)

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  2. Thanks for becoming a follower! I'm now following you as well. This is a great story. Never tell yourself you can't do anything before you try. Your passion and determination paid off. I hope I'll be able to soon say the same for myself. I look forward to reading more blog posts from you in the future!

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  3. Woohoo! Go you AND your braces! It says so much about you that you persevered even after you were put down like that. And shame on your mom for not only not supporting you but trying to keep you from following your dream.

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  4. What a wonderful story, Leslie! I loved musical theater as a kid, too, and was lucky to go to a middle school that was really into the arts. I played Gretel in the Sound of Music, mostly because I was 1 of the 2 shortest girls in the class. But it was the part I wanted. (I had braces, too.)

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    1. That makes us sisters - fellow Von Trapp.

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  5. I loved The Sound of Music and I would have been thrilled to have been in it! How wonderful that you decided to try out for the show even though you were not being encouraged to do so. Yeah for you for going after what was in your hear. I am sure it was wonderful to be part of the show!

    ~Jess

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  6. Looks like you knew what you wanted to do early in life! That is such a wonderful musical and how fun that you got to perform in it!

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  7. Yay for sticking with it! It is the best feeling in the world when you prove to everyone that you can do the things they said you couldn't!

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  8. Aw, I love Katharine Hepburn. That must have been amazing to see her in a musical.

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  9. Oh, Leslie, what a story! I can totally picture you doing this. You're one of those people who sets their mind to something and totally accomplishes it. Bravo!

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  10. No way! I love hearing stories like this:) You are so talented!

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  11. Great story and wonderful quote. Hurray for perseverance!

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  12. Hurray for you and your braces and not listening to your mother telling you you couldn't do it! Mothers! I encourage my kids that they can do anything they want to do only because mine limited me so much! And I unfortunately believed her. I'm so glad you didn't!! Do you still perform?

    Heather

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  13. Cool on the role. I agree with your Walt Disney quote.

    By the way, did you ever pursue the stage further? Just curious. It's never too late ya know.

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    1. Hey Jeremy,
      I shifted from performing over to design once I had a taste of that world at UCLA. I still sing in the shower and on long road trips.

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  14. This is such a cool blogfest! Congratulations... your perseverance paid off! I think Louisa was one of the coolest Von Trapp girls...lucky you!
    Do you still take part in theatre productions?

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    1. I love to do plays with the kids in my classroom now. Teaching feels like being in a production every day. Talk about being "onstage."

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  15. Perseverance pays off.

    I recall a certain stigma around braces when I was a kid, unless the cool kids had them.

    I might push my Friday post to another date and see if I can join this blogfest late.

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  16. I love your story of perserverance! Yeah for you! I think that is wonderful that you tried out. I have an awful singing voice- but always enjoyed acting. I used to sing The Sound of Music songs and say the lines all around my house. :) Surrender sounds great!
    ~Stephanie

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  17. Leslie, you are so awesome! I always wanted to be in that show, only to be able to sing "16 Going on 17"! I used to rewind it and watch it over and over when I was a teen!

    If at first you don't succeed, try out, try out again! :)

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  18. Thanks for all the fun comments everyone. We should all get together for a Sound of Music sing a long.

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  19. Stopping by from the blogfest...what a fun post! I also love the name of your blog... I teach 7th grade. ;) *new follower*

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  20. I find it fascinating that your mother let your brother try out, but not you. And congratulations for practicing and getting the part! Fabulous never surrender moment!

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  21. That's terrible that your mom was so unsupportive, especially since she had no trouble letting your brother try out.

    Glad you didn't give up on your dream.

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  22. Oh My! Good books and following dreams. These are a few of my favorite things. :)

    Enjoyed this post. :)

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  23. Congratulations! Against all odds, you did it! It's hard when parents don't "get it." You must have lit up that stage!

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  24. Thank goodness my mom doesn't know about the Internet. Phew. *mops brow*

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  25. LOVE this story, and love this post! Can't wait to read surrender! Thanks for following - new follower! :)

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  26. Love that Walt Disney quote...and your story! Without hope and dreams...surrender is a forgone conclusion! :)

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  27. What a great story, Leslie! And what an awesome experience.

    Sounds like I'll have to save Surrender until I make some headway with my own WIP. I can't afford a distraction like that right now ;)

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  28. Great post Leslie! Thanks. Surrender sounds so interesting!

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  29. I do hope I never look condescendingly on children's dreams... but so glad you kept trying in spite of it!

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  30. You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with one of my homemade awards: the Enchanting Entertainer Blog Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do!

    Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.
    ~Deirdra

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  31. Awesome post and Surrender sounds great!

    Riya.

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  32. Good for you, and great story for the blogfest! I can't perform, so I'm in awe.

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