By the time Jack was two, he was the best actor in the family (and believe me, he's got some pretty stiff competition). By the time he was four, he could sing... and I mean SING. Like, perfectly-on-pitch-not-a-note-out-of-place-Simon-Cowell-can-SUCK-IT sing. Right then and there I started socking away money for airfare to New York because, when Jack makes his Broadway debut, you can be sure I'll be watching it from fifth-row center.
So Jack landed the role of Oliver in Oliver, which is super cool... but the story gets even cooler.
My twin sisters, Christine (Jack's mom) and Candie, were the performers of the family growing up. They were always singing and dancing and making up little routines... and they were twins to boot, which cranked up the Adorable Factor off the charts. Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time my mom made them sing "Babyface" or a Buddy Holly song, I would be typing this on my solid gold computer while barking orders to the butler, the governess and the chef in my winter home on Maui.
Anyhoo... when the twins were eight years old they appeared in their first musical... which, as it turns out, was Oliver. Kind of a full-circle moment, right?
Right before the musical opened, one of the women in the adult chorus had to quit the show. Christine attended every rehearsal with Jack, so she knew all the songs, the blocking, the choreography... and the director asked her if she would step in and join the cast. Of course she was thrilled!
THAT made it a full-circle moment... Christine reprising her role while Jack made his mark in the lead role. And my mom and I sat and watched with pride and joy as this full-circle moment unfolded, scene after scene.
I reveled in Jack's spot-on Cockney accent, and bristled every time adults pushed and shoved him around, which was quite a bit. (Yeah, I knew it wasn't real, but still... keep your mangy paws off him!) I watched him link arms with the Artful Dodger and sashay across the stage belting out "Consider yourself... at home!" I watched my sister sing and dance with as much effervescence as she had when she was eight. I watched mother and son exchange quick, smiling glances whenever they crossed one another on stage.
Best of all, I watched my nephew stand on that stage all by himself and sing his big solo, "Where is Love." The bravery! The innocence! The talent radiating from this smart, quirky kid like a full-tilt high beam! My mom cried, and I stared at Jack the whole time thinking to myself:
"Ladies and gentlemen, that is one damn fine singing orphan."
Unlike Oliver, at that moment I knew exactly where love was: In a hundred-year-old theater house in Everett, Washington, watching the people I love doing something they love... and KILLING IT.
Christine, Mom, Me & Oliver... I mean, Jack :)