In 2002, my kids tried out for and were cast in The Wizard of Oz, with the Greensboro Community Theater, which does about 10-12 shows a year for a total audience of about 10,000.
In 2003, the kids convinced me to try out.
I was cast as Dorothy’s Uncle Henry, who has parts at the beginning, where I had to stuff a little dog into a bicycle basket, and at the end of the show when Dorothy wakes up. What I didn’t count on, was that I was also cast as a Tree, a Jitter Bug Dancer, and a Winkie (Wicked Witch Soldier).
My two daughters were Munchkins, Poppies and Crows and my wife Robin was a Dog Mom, in charge of Toto off stage.
I received a check for $100.00, which I had Janet Eason’s husband frame for me to prove I had been a professional thespian.
In 2004, the kids were in the show so instead of being so heavily involved, I chose to raise and lower the curtains and backdrops during scene changes, which only happens during the relatively short time the show is in the theater.
After the fourth show, the actor cast as Uncle Henry (David "Sue's husband" Polinski) got Pneumonia and was admitted to a hospital, so the director (Mitchell Summers) asked if I could do Uncle Henry at the beginning and end, while doing scene changes in-between. So I relearned the part and was on stage and in front of 1,000 people in four hours, and the remaining 6 shows.
In 2005, we took the year off.
In 2006, the kids wanted to try out for the show again, and I signed up to work backstage. During the dress rehearsal, the actor cast as Uncle Henry didn’t show up, and I ended up with about 12 hours to remember how to be Uncle Henry again and performed in all the shows.
I think I got a check for $50, and cashed it.
Great fun it was.