The very first audition song Sam ever used for any show was one called “Getting Tall” from the show “Nine.” It’s a sweet little song about a young boy singing to his older self about the moment he realizes that he’s got to grow up. “Scraping knees, tying shoes, starting school, paying dues, finding there’s no way we can spend a lifetime playing ball, part of getting tall.” When he was 9, Sam actually got to play the part of Young Guido in a professional production of “Nine”‘at Phoenix Theatre. I loved hearing him sing that sweet song every night.
People always ask me what I do when Sam is onstage. Do I watch every show? Well, the answer is no. While I do have to be physically present in the building each time he performs, mostly I hang out backstage in his dressing room or in the green room. (A green room is a lounge backstage for the actors to hang out in.) We can, however, hear the show backstage so that the actors can hear their cues to go onstage.
This past week, I was in the green room, and I turned down my episode of The Good Wife to hear Sam sing his beautiful song “What If”. It which is a song where a young Pugsley worries his older sister Wednesday won’t hang out with him anymore now that she has a boyfriend. Sam sings that sweet high note song every show and I never tire of hearing it. But this week, we all heard something different backstage when he sang. It was the voice, basically, of a man. Yes, Sams voice is changing. It was so deep it sounded like Gomez for a moment. He quickly got it under control and knows how to keep it high if he focuses on it. But it freaked me out. My boy is morphing into a teen. He has grown at least 3 inches in the last few months and is almost as tall as me.
Yesterday, I went white water rafting in Alabama with my Addams Family friends here in their 20s. While I kept making Deliverance jokes as I looked at our deep south middle of nowhere surroundings, no one got my references. It was a blast, even though we flipped over and I ended up in a rescue boat. Then at midnight ( yes, midnight ), we went out bowling and drank pitchers of beer. My body is sore all over today and I’m exhausted. But I feel elated.
You see, while my Sam is growing up, I’m remembering what it was like to be young, adventurous, and unafraid. I’m getting to re-live those glorious days of youth, but with a 40 year old view. I feel like Peggy Sue in “Peggy Sue Got Married.” I get to go back in time, but this time I have the knowledge to appreciate how special this time is.
So, thank you to my friends on the road for including me in the fun. Age is really and truly only a state of mind. And for Sam, the Brady Bunch family singers said it best: “When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange, who you are and what you’re gonna be.”
You have to adjust to your new body. You are turning into a handsome young man who is still so much fun to watch onstage. Your voice is sounding more Justin Bieber than Young Guido. You may look and sound older on the outside, but you can always be whoever you want to be, and whatever age you want to be, on the inside.