For the next year I was happily immersed in the wonderful world of Musical Theater and the land of Annie. We did two runs, 64 performances- one entire year of my life was devoted to Annie Annie Annie. And it was fantastic. I was entranced by the process, the theater, the actors, the director, the stage hands, the show, everything. Mostly the other orphans stayed in the greenroom when they weren’t on stage, but not me. I stayed out of the way in the wings, watching every minute of almost every show. I knew every note, every lyric. I was devastated when it ended because at the time it never occurred to me that this joy could continue. I thought of it as a one-time thing. Happily I discovered I was wrong. Two more shows with the same company followed.
But then something fateful happened- I hit puberty and an operatic voice started emerging from my throat. Everyone around me who was musically and theatrically inclined persuaded me that classical music was my future. And who was I to argue? When Musical Theater wasn’t playing on the record player, it was Beethoven, Mozart and Schubert, courtesy of my father. It was beautiful music that seemed interesting and certainly challenging, so I dove in. First there were three grueling, emotionally galvanizing years of choral boot camp, otherwise known as the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Through tears and great struggle, I became an excellent musician and a second soprano who could (barely) hold her part in the middle of 6+ part harmony. And from there it was a natural progression to classical voice lessons complete with art songs and arias. And opera suited my temperament and intellectual curiosity. But Musical Theater was always home. I found my comedic talents doing Winnie from Washington in No, No Nannette and my serious side with Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. But opera beckoned at the same time that Musical Theater was moving in the pop/rock direction, something I knew instinctively was not “me”. So two musical roads seemed to diverge in the wood, and I, (for the next twenty years) I took the classical/operatic route.