The Making of A Lost Boy

by Tawanna Cullen November. 10, 2019 95 views

My daughter loves a stage. She's loved it since she was about 2 years old. One of our funny memories of her is when we were in the children's section of a Barnes and Noble bookstore. There was a stage there, she decided to step up on the stage, turn around, get back down, clapped for herself and stepped back on stage to do a dance. We thought it was just a cute moment but I believe it was a God-given glimpse of what was to come. Now it all makes sense.

She shines on stage and really loves doing musicals and leading worship in children's ministry. Her dedication and desire to perform amazes me. It's a lot of work for the parents but the moment we see her come out on stage it's pure joy and worth the work we put in as well.

She had her first audition early this year for Junie B. Jones Jr. the musical. I was nervous, I think more nervous than she was. She has the confidence inside her, I have the motherly nature of wanting all things to work out well for her. When she auditioned one of the teens said, "Aww she's so cute!" after she sang the song, How Far I'll Go from Moana. I smiled and that put me at ease. She's not a stranger to the stage since she's performed in Christmas shows, but this was her first audition in front of a panel of directors, choreographers, and voice directors. It was a two-day audition. The first day was singing, the next day was a dance audition. When the cast list was published and she saw her number on the list we celebrated! That was such an awesome moment to enjoy with her. She made the cast list and got cast in the role of Grace, “That Grace” who was Junie B's best friend. She was thrilled. We were all thrilled! It was her first time auditioning and being cast! She had lines and solos too. We went to every show. It was such a great musical that was fun for the whole family. Our church small group came to support her one night, as well as friends who just showed love to her.

Helaina as "That Grace." - This photo was not taken by me, I wish I knew who took it but it's a production photo.

Helaina as "That Grace." - This photo was not taken by me, I wish I knew who took it but it's a production photo.

Helaina is such a kind and gentle spirit. She's well-liked and I'm so proud of her for that. She has a will to support her friends too. She told me that she wanted to audition for each show the theater company had, she actually meant it! She auditioned for Cinderella. Her dad took her to see if she made it into the show. When she got home she walked sadly to me and said, "Mommy I'm so sad." and immediately cried in my chest. My heart hurt for her. She was so sad, I was so sad. I was worried about how she would react to that type of rejection. She didn't get jealous or behave negatively towards her friends that did make it into the show. Instead of being upset, she decided to usher for the show and cheer on her friends. That reaction made us beam with love. She's a really great kid and friend. Even though it hurt, she still loved and supported her friends that were in the show she wanted to be in. She got excited when she spotted them on stage and it was pretty magical to see her eyes light up.

Practicing the song, "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin for her audition in Peter Pan Jr.

Practicing the song, "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin for her audition in Peter Pan Jr.

So she didn't let that rejection stop her. She did tell me that she wanted to audition for all of the CAT shows. For her Peter Pan Jr. audition, she performed "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin. It was a really fun audition for her. The day we went to see the cast list, a friend and fellow CAT mom had seen the list before me and sent me a text that said, " The only thing I'm going to say is 70 kids auditioned and only 50 made it in." Oh, my heart got really anxious as we were on our way to see the results. Did that mean she was in? Out? What did that mean!? The list was posted outside the door. When we walked up a few kids were there. She saw her number on the list and the excitement exploded. She made it into the show! My friend didn't want to spoil the surprise. Her daughter, who's good friends with Helaina made it in too! Helaina's audition number was lucky for her because it was also her birthdate. When she saw it on the list it was a celebration! That night we were flying out to Canada to visit family. We found out while we were in Canada that she was cast as a Lost Boy. She was confused about that decision but once she read the description she was honored because it mentioned that the role was for an advanced performer! She was so excited about being thought of as an advanced performer she was proud!

First Full Dress Rehearsal as a Lost Boy for Peter Pan Jr.

First Full Dress Rehearsal as a Lost Boy for Peter Pan Jr.

So as rehearsals go on, the time comes to sort out costumes, hair, and makeup. As the opening date approaches full dress rehearsals are required. This time, her costume was pretty simple! I only did the foundation and eyeliner for her makeup and her hair had to be messy. Well, that was easy! She didn't complain once about having to look boy-like. I told her she was a pretty lost boy. Opening weekend for Peter Pan Jr. went great! The whole cast did wonderfully! It was a great weekend, full of excitement. One of the great things that happened during the opening show was I could see the moment she saw us sitting in the audience. A slight smile came over her face and a nod to us that went along with the number they were performing. It was a golden moment of silent communication with family. I knew she was looking for us but she had been on the opposite side of the stage during the opening scene. The last show we were right in front of her and she could see us clearly. While staying in character, we saw a glimpse of joy in her eyes knowing we were there.

Big Brother, Little Sister

Big Brother, Little Sister

Big Brother, Little Sister...These two! This was taken right after the first show. I love how Helaina admires her brother. She’s always been thrilled about him and he was there to support her for her opening show. That meant a lot to her. There are 10 years between them and that makes him the bee's knees in her eyes. He's pretty fond of his two little sisters too. I love how they have that family bond in their hearts.

Pretty Little Lost Boy

Pretty Little Lost Boy

We brought her flowers. One sweet thing CAT does is each actor has a mailbox that you can send a nice note, candies or a souvenir to be delivered to them. Her little sister sent her stuff each day she got to watch the show. She did wonderful, made new friends and had a great time. It's always an element of sadness when a show is over because of all of the excitement, daily rehearsals, anticipation, seeing friends daily all comes to a stop. It's called Post Show Blues. The good thing is, CAT is always putting on shows. The next audition is in January and surprise, the littlest one is old enough now and will be auditioning for this one as well!

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There are 9 comments , add yours!
Jay Boggess 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Great shots! You must be so proud of her!

Obviously, you are doing a great job rearing your kids!!

Hat's off to you!

ps...thanks for "liking" my surfer silhouette, as well!

1 month, 4 weeks ago Edited
Tawanna Cullen Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Thank you! We are so proud of her. You know I can't really take the credit for her making these decisions. As parents, we've brought them up with values and high standards but it's ultimately up to them to keep them or reject them. I'm certainly proud that she's decided that our family values are worth keeping. Some kiddos have really challenged every value set! Parenting is no joke lol!

Your Surfer Silhouette was a great capture! It's such a mood to it. It makes me feel like I'm there at the beach at sunset! Excellent!!

1 month, 4 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Tawanna Cullen 1 month, 4 weeks ago

You must have done something right! 
Congratulations & hat's off to you!

Thanks for the nice compliment on my Surfer shot!


1 month, 4 weeks ago Edited
Tawanna Cullen Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month, 1 week ago

lol Thanks! I hope she stays on this road for a lifetime!

1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Tawanna Cullen 1 month, 1 week ago

I'd say, just keep doing what you're doing and she will most probably follow suit, barring unforeseen stronger influences.........

Just accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative & don't mess with 
Mr. or Ms In-between...........right????


1 month, 1 week ago Edited
Tawanna Cullen Replied to Jay Boggess 1 month ago

Aww thanks for the advice! I appreciate it! We are certainly trying to do our best. Parenting is a job unlike any other! We have some really great days and some what in the world did I get myself in to days!

1 month ago Edited
Jay Boggess Replied to Tawanna Cullen 5 days, 22 hours ago

My pleasure!
I understand completely! 
Gota take the bitter with the sweet.....right???smile

5 days, 22 hours ago Edited
Antonio Gil 2 months, 1 week ago

Love her radiant look in #1. Congrats for such a beautiful child Tawanna

2 months, 1 week ago Edited
Tawanna Cullen Replied to Antonio Gil 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Thank you, Antonio! I appreciate the compliment!

1 month, 4 weeks ago Edited