I always wanted to be an entertainer. I transitioned from in front of the camera (that camera being a monstrously bulky camcorder) to behind the camera as I got older.

Look familiar, fellow children of the 80’s?

There’s a home video of me as a child, telling a joke, that I, ahem, wrote and performed–something about a strawberry crossing the road–to my entire extended family. I loved to belt out songs, that I again, created in the whimsical world of my young mind. All these performances my parents captured on VHS (allowing me to “remember” these times). Lyrical gems such as “jump around and turn around” a heart-pumping song I created while jumping on the trampoline, to “hey, marsh-a-mellow”performed live from my shower, were on those tapes.

Once I started attending summer camp, I was always first in line to try out for whatever play was being put on that summer. I never got cast as a lead… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get my chance to star! Jeff Lakes Camp. The year was 1994. The girl originally cast to play Albert in “Bye, Bye, Birdie” came down with a case of stage fright. There I was, hand raised high, volunteering as tribute to play the role. Alas, that was my first and last play at summer camp where I was cast as the lead. I was undeterred however as year after year, I got cast in well… not so vital roles. Namely:

  • a deer in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”(the night of the play I had a 101 degree fever, but there was no way the show could go on without me)
  • part of the chorus in “Little Shop of Horrors”
  • a munchkin in “The Wizard of Oz”
  • an oompa loompa in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

I wish, I really do, that I still had that urge to jump up on stage and perform. Why couldn’t I be a Tina Fey or an Amy Pohler? I bet they never had to play the oompa loompa. Somewhere along the line, I started to actually care that I wasn’t the most skilled actress. If I can’t deliver the lines then I want to write them instead. If this whole Hollywood thing doesn’t work out, does anyone know if Jeff Lakes Camp is in need of a theater director?

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