Tori Savona Memoir
You would have thought that I’d be nervous. I mean, I was only seven years old. People that do these kinds of things are usually much older, have more experience, and are nervous. But not me. As the lights warmed up in front of the curtain, and the instruments slowly crescendoed, I marched my little sequins butt on the stage, for the opening night of “George M”. People always ask me why I chose theatre. In reality, theatre chose me. I had been singing since I could talk. My family has a home video of me sitting on the ground as a toddler, barely talking, playing with toys. In this video my mom turns on the radio and I begin to “sing” along. I began dance at the age of three, in a little class for toddlers. I was also a drama queen as a child, and colic as a baby. So, theatre was inevitable. When auditions came for “George M” I prepared the song “You’re a Grand Old Flag”. And with help from my mother I added a little choreography. Auditions were held in the theatre room which is now the band office after recent construction. I was lead back there with two other girls my age. When we walked in against the wall was a piano, and on its bench, Ms. Linda Zannitto, the rehearsal accompanist. And behind the desk was a small old woman by name name of Doctor Margaret Gray. I didn’t know it yet, but this woman would influence my life forever. “Hello girls, my name is Dr. Gray. Did you girls prepare a song for me?” All too shy to speak, we nodded our heads. “Good! Now Danielle, you will go first, and we’ll go down the line, okay?” Phew! I was going last. I could scope the competition. This was great! “Okay Danielle, step forward. Linda will play you your first note”
Danielle stepped up and sang. After her was the girl next to me. And before I knew it, it was my turn. But standing there, I was oddly confused. Everyone else was talking about how nervous they were before the audition, but I wasn’t. My friend Tyler had said to me: “Oh don’t worry, if you’re not nervous now, wait until you have to sing!” But here I was, about to sing, and not a nerve in my body. Well I guess this works to my advantage. Linda played my first note and I brought that song to town! I marched it place, saluted in the air, and pretended to wave a flag. When the end of the song came I belted: “Keep your eye on the grand old fag!” And rose my hands in the air. I looked over and Dr. Gray had a smile from ear to ear. I smiled and politely said thank you. As I turned to walk away she said: “Oh wait one minute Ms. Savona.” Uh oh, was it that bad? “Come over here for a minute.” I walked over to her desk and she exposed a corner of a paper, and took out a pencil and wrote
Excellent! I looked up and she smiled at me. From that moment on, I knew that the theatre was my home. A week later, I was sitting at the kitchen table when the phone rang. My mom answered it and looked at me with a big smile and raised her eyebrows. She handed the phone to me and said, “Victoria, it’s Doctor Gray.” I grabbed the phone and in my most personable and theatrical voice said, “Hello Doctor Gray!” She chuckled and said,
“Hello Victoria. I wanted you to know that you did very well for your audition.” “Thank you.” “You’re welcome. Now Victoria, how would you like to be in the ensemble of our show ‘George M’?” “I would love to!” “That’s what I thought” I could hear the smile in her voice. And then she said, “I have big things planned for you, you’re a very talented girl, you know.” I wanted to jump through the ceiling. The rest of the conversation was a fog, as well as my night. I couldn’t wait to go to school tomorrow and tell all of my friends. I got a part in George M! Doctor Gray thinks I’m talented! This was the best day of my seven years of living! To a seven year old everything is great. I didn’t care that I was only in the ensemble, and that I most likely would go on stage all of two times. All that mattered was that I got to be in a play with the big kids. I walked into Pinewood Elementary school the next day like I owned the place. It may have been January but I was wearing my diva sunglasses. I walked into the classroom and my teacher Mrs. Pangman stopped me and said, “Let me guess, Tori, you got a part in the school play?” I turned to her a curtseyed, with the biggest smile on my face, and jumped up and screamed, “YES!” I sat down at my table with all of my little friends. I told them how one day I was going to be a star. Dr. Gray didn’t realize, but she created a diva. All the world was now my stage. During recess that day I got a crowd of kids around me while I performed my audition
song for them. I performed all of the choreography and even added more. All of my fellow classmates cheered and clapped for me, and I curtseyed. I skipped away as recess ended and thought to myself, “Well, that was easy. I should do this more often!” I went home from school that day and called every aunt and uncle and sang the song to them as well. I was so thrilled that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was counting down the days until the first rehearsal. Rehearsals were to start a week later, after school. The day of, that’s all I could talk about in school. I was counting down the hours on a piece of paper that I kept on my desk. Of course, I wasn’t very good at telling the time so I wasn’t very accurate. The end of the day finally rolled around and my mom picked me up from school to take me to rehearsal. I showed up equipped with my dance bag full of a bunch of things I didn’t need. When I walked in, I was greeted by Dr. Gray and told to sit with the rest of the elementary in the first section on the left. The high schoolers and leads sat in the middle section, and the middle schoolers sat in the section to the left of them. The student director sat behind a table and took attendance while we were all filing in. I quickly made new friends, considering the cast was over one hundred with over half elementary. Once everyone came in Dr. Gray began introductions, “Hello, my name is Dr. Gray, or you can just call me Doc.” With that she began introducing everyone else. All the main characters had to stand up and say their name and the character that they’d be playing.
One day I’d be sitting there, the star of the show. Everyone would look up to me, and I would be the best. I’d be the best singer and the best dancer. I would also be the prettiest, of course. After much day dreaming, rehearsal came to a close, too soon for me. I loved every minute of being there, and couldn’t wait to get on the stage. My mom picked me up and we went home. And of course all I could do was talk my head off during dinner. During the three months of preparation, rehearsal became the reason that I got up in the morning, and the reason I went to school. I made many friends, some of which I am still friends with today. I developed many crushes on the male leads. I improved my singing and dancing, and grew as a person. As it got closer to opening night, rehearsals were longer and there were more of them. On Saturdays I’d be there from 9:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. But I didn’t mind one bit. Once the week of the show came, rehearsals were from 4:00 until as late as 10:00 at night. Being very small, you would’ve thought that I would’ve been too sleepy. But of course, I wasn’t. I was being pushed by adrenaline and excitement. Opening night came. I was a Thursday, so I had school. Me and another girl in my class in the 3rd grade were both in the play so we shared the excitement. We both wore our navy blue George M shirts to school. I got home from school that day and made sure to call every family remember and remind them to come and see me. At home, my mom did my makeup and hair quickly before we left. Being the hair stylist for the show, she had to get there early, and I had to go with her. I sat and watched her do all the high schoolers’ hair, as they told hr how cute I was (what a surprise). Once the time was called, I got into my sequins outfit and ran to my position at one of the ramp entrances. As the lights
warmed up in front of the curtain, and the instruments slowly crescendoed, I marched my little sequins butt on the stage, for the opening night of â€œGeorge Mâ€?.