Last night, February 17, was opening night for the first full-scale stage musical I’ve performed in since high school. Yikes! And yet, by the time the curtain opened, there was no “yikes” about it for me. Thinking back to last fall when I auditioned, that was when I was the most nervous. Returning for call-backs, I was terribly intimidated when it came to the acting portion of the audition. The singing part was no big deal, as I have had so much practice in that capacity. But cold reading, and particularly among other experienced actors? I had never done that before.

The morning after the call-backs, I received a text message from Chuck Wilhelm, the friend who had invited me to audition – he said he would be in the show if I was. The message summed it up: “Congratulations, Sally Cato!” And the monster was born. 😉

Making the cut to have a speaking part was a tremendous honor for me. But there was still a long road to travel in becoming a part of the Gahanna Community Theatre. It is, after all, a community unto itself. And while I’m certain they’re welcoming to all, the shy, insecure kid in me was still very nervous about stepping in and joining the group. Though I was cast in a particular role, that part only appears in one scene; that meant I could participate as a chorus number in most of the group scenes. This gave me a significant opportunity to meet people and make friends, which I think I did.

Of course, that shy and insecure little girl needs a crutch, so it was fortunate that I have plenty of portable knitting projects in my queue. I don’t think I ever showed up to rehearsal without a project bag. And during the down time and breaks, I was quick to pick up my work and knit a few stitches here and there. By the time the show opened last night, I had knit five pairs of socks and two complete shawls. Further, I cast on three other shawls, another pair of socks and a sweater vest, which are all now in various stages of development. The piece de resistance, however, is the pair of socks I cast on during the final dress rehearsal. I am hoping to complete them by the time the show closes tomorrow, which is possible, though not altogether likely, given everything else in my schedule. Still, I’ll give it a go.

The recipient for this particular pair of socks is the company’s accompanist. I’d be so delighted (as would she, I suspect) if I could present her with a finished pair of socks at the cast party on Sunday evening. Time will tell.

Opening night was a unique experience for me, as I discovered some of the traditions this group holds. Most touching of all was the prayer that was offered shortly before the overture began, which brought tears to my eyes for so many reasons. I suspect I’ll be processing all of this for quite some time. For now, I am returning to the sock knitting and going through some mental preparations in anticipation of tonight’s performance. Soon enough I’ll be working with the hot rollers and donning the fake eyelashes as I begin to transform into the stage performer. Stay tuned!

Knit on.

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