I was a high school drama kid. A strong soprano with eight years of dance lessons behind her. I was made for school musicals. I would go on to be named 'Most Likely to be Seen on Broadway' of my graduating class at Fargo Shanley. So, of course when our senior production was announced as "Hello Dolly" there was no reason to think I wouldn't get the lead. I was the only female in my class who had been getting leads in the Fall plays for goodness sake!
Except I didn't get the lead. In those days, every main role was double casted and I didn't get to be either one of the "Dollies". The title role of Dolly went to a young freshmen and a senior with little acting experience. Both went on to give outstanding performances, but I was still devastated. This wasn't how it was supposed to work! I deserved the role. I would have been a great Dolly!
I was told that because the characters shared costumes they had to have two similarly-sized actresses to fit in each of the dresses. Since there was no one else that was considered for the role who could fit in my small dress size, (I was quite petite back in the day), I was given the supporting female role of Irene Molloy, hatmaker and decidely second fiddle. It seemed so unfair. It wasn't my fault I was underweight!
The silver lining to my predicament showed up quickly though. The stand-out male singer in our class had not received a lead role either. In fact, Joe was given the supporting role of Cornelius Hackl and performed opposite me on opening night. Joe was a phenomenal singer who brought more than a few tears with his rendition of "Ave Maria" at our school concerts. I heard later that he went on to sing while touring Europe at some point in his young career.
Getting to sing a duet with Joe was the second goal of my life at the time. He had these dreamy, dark brown eyes and a shy demeanor. Joe was smart and funny and went on to become an accomplished physician. I was dating my high school sweetheart at the time, so while I wasn't interested in Joe romantically, it was still a thrill to get to sing with him. Except when he thought it was a hoot in the middle of our characters' love song to repeatedly cross his beautfiul brown eyes at me and throw off my harmony.
To accomodate some fabulous choreography and allow for the pit musicians to actually sit inside the stage, the first rows of the auditorium at the old Shanley had been taken out and a "runway" in a U shaped had been built off the stage. This allowed characters to dance their way right up to the audience. With full skirts and parasols we made our way cascading around on the catwalk while singing "We've... got... elegance." The guys would fling us gals up into the air making a rainbow over their heads as they picked us up on one side and placed us down on the other. And then, there was Joe. He had this tendency just as I was completely over his head, fully upside-down, hovering over the audience, with his arms holding on to mine at the elbow he would ever so slightly release me as if he were going to let me go. Mr. funny was at it again. I let him know I was not impressed, but it was sure fun dancing with him otherwise.
Had I been cast as the lead, my costumes would certainly have been fancier, and having a whole stage full of young men in tuxedoes serenading me as I slowly made my way down a painted staircase would have been incredible. But, I would not have had the opportunity to perform a magical duet with Joe, and since my first goal in life wasn't ever meant to be, I am so glad my second goal came true.
Cleavage is really overrated anyway.