Saturday, November 8, 2008
My Peter Pan Birthday Party
Astute readers of this blog know that The Pony has long been known as a hater of kiddie birthday parties. So it seemed particularly ironic (a la a black fly in one's Chardonnay) that Yours Truly was the lucky winner of a birthday party contest on The Loop.
I gloated about my win. The party was being offered by It's My Party, which then went out of business. It was later taken over by their partner, Applause. Applause runs Broadway Babies and Broadway Superstars, which offer classes and parties built around popular musicals, including High School Musical, Annie, The Sound of Music, and Grease.
Oh, this kind of twee gaiety would be ripe for my pen! Boy, was I going to slag these people! But then, a moral dilemma: How could I possibly be snarky about some nice folks who were offering me a free birthday party? How could I be the meanie that I am accustomed to being?
I went down to chat with the Applause folks and plan my party. When I arrived, a bunch of wee babes were experiencing a Broadway Babies class. The drooling infants were being serenaded by a lovely young blonde in full makeup and a buff, steel-jawed actor who looked very freshly bathed. The woman who ran the place was all smiles and excitement: "We just can't WAIT to have your party!" They were so earnest, so Broadway! I expected a chorus line of Zac Efron lookalikes, all abundantly gay and wearing mascara.
I had, in fact, been offered High School Musical as a theme, but I decided that was too, too much for my five-year-old boy, who doesn't know Sharpay from a Shi'Tzu. Instead, I chose Peter Pan. Flying! Pirates! Lost boys! Crocodiles! How could it go wrong?
Oh, I wish I could say that the party had scarred me, my children, and all their friends for life. But no, dear readers. The party was an absolute delight. The three young performers, all actors from NYC, sang, danced, and engaged the children with songs from the Peter Pan Broadway musical. Before the party even started, my two boys were dancing madly to a CD of tunes from The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and other fodder that makes my husband cringe and gnash his teeth.
A young woman played Peter Pan, and she whispered to some children early on that Captain Hook was terrified by the sound "Tick tock." The children went wild over this, and proceeded to attack the actor playing Captain Hook with a delighted frenzy (After har-harring and fleeing the scene repeatedly, he wound up at the bottom of a pig pile after being pelted with beach balls to the head. I suspect his "My Career Sux" blog will read more rudely than mine will). Wendy, in a white nightgown, backed up Peter at every turn.
From the start the children were transfixed and thrilled. They loved every moment of the show, and you could see it on their faces. Gosh, it even warmed our cold and prickly hearts to see them all leaping about the room with shiny pom-poms to the tune of "I Can Fly." My almost 6-month-old infant nearly flailed right out of his diaper in an effort to join the festivities.
After the show, they served pizza (Sals, overrated as it is) and juice boxes to the kids, and then a giant cake with my son's face embossed on its chocolatety surface. He laughed most uproariously when he saw himself on the cake. Then the kids all walked the plank, shouted out their names, and received goodie bags.
I confess that at times during the show I wanted to be a part of it all. Performer! Birthday guest! It didn't matter. Everyone was made to feel welcome and it was just a lot of gosh-durned fun. I batted a ball toward the ceiling and popped bubbles with my infant's toe. I found myself smiling with glee. Aw, ain't life sweet? And I'm old and withered, too!
The cost for all this hilarity? The party that I won would have run us a nice four figures. Plus tips for the performers. I can fly, indeed! Because I'm on crack! Well, if you have the dollars floating around, it's pretty swell.
Note: Send someone up the street for a box of Dunkin Donuts coffee. The caffeine makes the party extry-special.
Photo Credit: Cristina Costa-Cerone