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Sophie Takes the Stage

posted Monday December 5th, 2011

I heard a small voice behind me.

“Where’s Sophie?”

I’d been wondering if anyone would ask. It was almost halfway through the Saturday night performance of the Snow Queen, and the sprites — already covered in green glitter, hair teased in ponytails all over their little heads – were putting on their unitards and wings, getting ready for their scene.

Sophie’s chair was empty, her costume untouched.

This had all been decided way ahead of time. When they cast Sophie as a sprite, the show’s directors announced that while the other kids would perform in two shows a day (a matinee and an evening performance) Sophie would just perform at the matinees. “She’ll get too tired otherwise,” I was told.

To be honest, I wasa little bummed, knowing that Annabelle not only would perform in all the shows but in two different roles (a rosebud and a snowflake!), quite a coup. But I kept my mouth shut. This was a big deal for the directors as well as for Sophie. There are enough balls to be kept in the air at this production without my adorable little wild card thrown in the mix.

We decided Ray would take Sophie to Chuck E. Cheese Saturday evening, and go home with her best friend Sunday.

Watching Sophie fall asleep at the table when we got a snack after that first matinee show, I realized the director had been right. She was tired. And the distractions worked beautifully. Ray hustled her off to see Chuck E. and I brought Annabelle back to the theater for the evening performance, where I’d volunteered to work backstage. All good.

But no one thought to explain to the other kids why Sophie wouldn’t be there Saturday night.

“Where’s Sophie?” one sprite asked, then the others started asking. “Where’s Sophie? Where’s Sophie? Why isn’t Sophie here?”

My favorite little sprite (aside from Sophie, of course), a tiny blonde named Gillian, chimed in, sounding alarmed: “Sophie just has to be here!”

I looked at the backstage manager, who’d come over to see what all the noise was about. “They want to know where Sophie is,” I told him.  He just looked at me.

“Well,” I said, turning to the kids. “That’s a good question.”


“She’s just not here!” I said finally, with a big smile. “She couldn’t make it. But she’ll be here tomorrow!”

As it does with 7-year-olds, the subject changed quickly. But I kept thinking about it. And the more I thought about it, the happier I was. These little girls loved Sophie! They wanted her, missed her. They didn’t see her differences, or if they did, they didn’t mind them. I hadn’t seen any of them interact with her much during rehearsals; I worried the whole time that she was just in their way — sitting too close, asking too many questions, hard to understand.

Apparently, that wasn’t the case.

Better to leave everyone wanting a little more, I figure, than to overstay our welcome. The backstage manager smiled at me. “She’ll be in all four shows next year,” he promised.

Maybe she will. She’ll certainly audition, as long as she wants to, and after this weekend I can’t imagine she won’t. Sophie had a blast. And she did so well! She waved a couple times when she wasn’t supposed to, and fidgeted with her costume a bit, but other than that she knew all her steps and executed them well.

For me, she stole the show — from everyone but my sweet Annabelle. What can I say? It was a stage mom’s dream weekend.

My only real regret is that they videotape the show once a weekend — on Saturday night. So all we’ve got are backstage pictures, and some really great memories.

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Tags: Filed under: culture, Down syndrome, family by Amysilverman

6 Responses to “Sophie Takes the Stage”

  1. What a great ensemble! They already know that they’re a team. You don’t even HAVE to like your teammates to miss them when they aren’t there. The best part (for me) is that it’s fun for Sophie.

  2. Beautiful! I’m so happy things went so well…your girls are gorgeous and what a wonderful experience!

  3. I loved Sophie’s performance, highlight of my weekend. She did amazing!!! (Of course, seeing Annabelle in two roles this year was a highlight too.) So proud of both girls!

  4. Your “adorable little wild card” and her big sister have a really amazing mom. I would have been defensive too, about the manager’s decision, but it looks like he was really looking out for Sophie, too. Seems like she has everyone’s hearts in the palm of her hand!

  5. Oh I love it. I’m so happy things went well and that you got to see firsthand, unprompted, how Sophie is accepted and cherished among her peers. Happy sigh.

  6. Oh, I love that the girls were concerned about Sophie’s whereabouts. Esprit de corps rocks!

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