In case anyone was wondering, eighth grade was awesome for me. I had a Caboodle where I could put all my CoverGirl makeup, a perm that had finally faded from my head, and beautiful dresses from Laura Ashley.
I also had very questionable piano skills, but that did not stop me from playing! My mom signed me up for lessons at the local Unitarian church even though we were CATHOLIC. Crazy, I know.
I admittedly never practiced but I insisted on playing the hits for my annual spring recital. And by hits I mean my favorite songs from my favorite musicals. Oh yes, home girl was a geek.
So in 1993 I told my piano teacher I was going to pound “Memory” from Cats on the keys. Oh, it was going to be wonderful. I even practiced a few times!
And then it was recital time. My name was announced and I walked regally to the front of the church where the piano glistened. To warm up I played a selection from John Thompson’s Modern Course for the Piano: the First Grade Book. Clearly I was very advanced.
Afterwards I started “Memory.” I bungled the keys so I started again. And again. And again. I began to cry. I managed to make it through the first few measures–completely off key–and finally finished the song. I ran off the stage sobbing. The audience clapped. I was traumatized for five or ten minutes and then there was an after party where there were snacks, so I was okay. No lasting damage. What a “Memory” indeed!
So imagine my delight when I googled “October 8” and saw that Cats opened on Broadway 31 years ago today. Thank God it finally ended in 2000.
Now I’m going to listen to the Les Miserables soundtrack. Way cooler.