Parenting: Sharing the spotlight with my son

July 18, 2011 3:02:12 PM PDT
Many local theater companies encourage parents and children to perform on stage together and it's something I've been doing with my son Nicholas for a few years now.

It all started as something my son wanted to try, so... why not?

"The first one we did was "The King and I," said my son, Nicholas. "It was fun, so I wanted to try more."

This summer's production is the musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." You may remember the movie about the magical car that can float on water and fly.

I play an evil baron who stops at nothing to steal the car while Nicholas - and his mom on this particular night - play English commoners. It's a large cast made up parents who want to expose their children to the excitement of theater and being on stage:

"It's a great experience," said fellow parent/actor Bruce Jordan. "I've done a lot of theater in my life but the opportunity to work with my two girls makes it so much more special. It's just a joy you can't experience any other way."

Most experts will tell you that performing in front of an audience can also heighten a child's self-esteem while enhancing their speaking skills.

"If you ask half the parents in a room today what they're biggest fear is, they'll say 'speaking in public.' So to get rid of that in all these children right away so they're self-confident enough to stand up for themselves and speak out loud - that's the biggest benefit right there," said Mark Morgan of the Moorestown Theater Company.

This will be the third production Nicholas and I will do together. It's quality time certainly, but it is also building musical, magical memories that will hopefully last a lifetime.

"I love being on stage with you, I think it brings us closer together," I said to Nicholas. When I asked him what he thought, Nicholas said "Yeah. Without this... I wouldn't see you because you work. This brings us closer."

For more information on the shows and performance dates, visit the website of the Moorestown Theather Company.

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