Oh, it just keeps getting better! In my most recent Dross/Mouse King rehearsal, I was waiting to go on as the Mouse King while one of the other Drosselmeyers was doing the scene prior to battle where the tree grows and he brings all the mice on, etc. I looked around and was fortunate enough to see the most wonderful thing. There sitting quietly was one of the school boys acting out Drosselmeyer. I was so tickled! He caught me looking and smiled sheepishly. There's no way I was going to embarrass him in that moment! I asked him how old he was, and he said he was twelve. I told him how that was about the age that I began practicing the role. He responded with "It's a really cool part!" I couldn't agree more. I encouraged him to keep working on it.
A little later in the rehearsal, when it was my turn, I walked up to him with cape in hand and asked if he'd like to go this time instead of me. He looked excited as if perhaps he could actually have a go, and then a concerned look came on his face as he explained that he didn't know everything. I told him not to worry about it for that run, but to pay attention and learn it all if he wanted to. I told him that I wouldn't mind if he practiced it in the back as I rehearsed it. Sure enough, he was on his feet learning it behind me to the music.
Moments like this are defining my career these days. I loved seeing that kid get excited about that role. I hope that no one ever stomps that drive out of him, and I hope that I was able to encourage him enough in those brief moments to keep dreaming about the future. It really took me back about sixteen years to when I had a cape wrapped around me as I scurried around the floor trying to be just like the guy who was lucky enough to have that role. It's nice to finally be "that guy" and see someone else in my old place. To this young man, I am happy to pass the torch.