By Mary Delaney
The first 20 minutes after learning my daughter was cast in A Christmas Carol was sheer delight even to goose bump level. Then something else began to seep in after that first layer of joy—worry. This was the first time Megan was in a professional theater production. Thoughts raced through my head. Will she be safe? Will she be happy? What if she gets sick? What if she breaks her arm? I relearned a valuable lesson the very next week when Megan broke her hand: don’t invite trouble. Thankfully, the cast came off a few days after her first rehearsal and the real fun began.
Goodman has been like the most luscious Christmas gift—the one you want to open very slowly to treasure every moment. It has surpassed our expectations in every way. The leadership, cast, crew and staff have been extremely professional, generous with their time and guidance, and kind beyond words. My fears were quashed the very first day when it was obvious that everyone within Goodman really cared about making the experience positive, safe and enriching for all of the kids. There is a young performer supervisor named Meg who is responsible for the six kids. She not only makes sure they are prepared for their parts but also takes them out for lunch and makes the break times fun.
The time investment is significant for our child and family but it is worth every minute. The late nights are tough on the kids unless they can sleep in and be late for school or do home schooling for a few weeks. Our school gave us flexibility to have Megan do some of her work at home and then take tests on Mondays (the cast’s day off) as it would be difficult to do both full time for these next five weeks. Commuting into the city has reintroduced us to what a wonderful city Chicago is especially this time of year. Megan’s siblings have had some major one-on-one time exploring the nooks and crannies of Chicago.
I can’t wait for the moment when Megan comes home every day to hear of the new discoveries learned and friends made. From watching people fly, to standing on house sets as they move on and off stage, the theater has become a place filled with magic and wonder for her. Right before performances began they had a tech week, where they have meticulously covered every production detail necessary to share the story. Hours were spent on each scene making sure the sets, lights, crew and actors’ timing aligned.
Most of all, the people have made this experience into a precious gift. I’ve been so touched at how the talented cast of adults take the time to share helpful hints and include the kids in a well needed laugh or hug after a tiring session. In a few short weeks the cast has gone from strangers in a room to Megan’s second family. Mr. Bill Brown’s general happy outlook on life, love of theater, and gift in direction has also been such a blessing to this show.
I look forward to seeing the play over and over again. I will look on it with new eyes, childlike eyes, ones that see the true meaning in the play, in Christmas and mankind. This is a story of second chances, life choices, love and hope. What a wonderful gift it is, Goodman Theatre is, life is. I hope you come see it!
So here’s to the Christmas season, a whirlwind six weeks, a healed broken hand, and no worries. Thank you Goodman, the people and organization!