‘Vogue’ and the ties that bind

I never thought I’d see my 11-year-old kid “vogue-ing,” but there he was, on stage no less, dressed in basic black from his hi-tops to his T-shirt, in homage to the iconic Madonna video.

As well as vogue-ing, he was having a great time, surrounded by a gang of similarly dressed kids about his age, all part of the two-week, fun-and-furious theater camp run each summer by the Community Theatre of Howell.

No matter his organized summer activity of choice, from tennis to baseball to day camp, nothing has come close to challenging, entertaining and inspiring him as much as this year’s theater camp.

How the CTH volunteers manage so many kids (139 this year, as I recall), whipping them into shape for a “performance experience” is a wonder to me, but manage them they did — and beautifully. From the youngest elementary students to the more-poised high schoolers, from those with no real stage experience (like my kid) to production veterans, they came together for a fun show that was well-received by a more-than-packed house Friday night.

My favorite piece? Hands-down, “Vogue.” I love the song, I loved the theater camp choreography, I loved that my kid was Marlon Brando, I loved that he was having fun — a lot of fun.

Even though he had a speaking part in another scene, I remained partial to his “Vogue” moment. Talking is like breathing to my son, a kid who is silent only when he’s sleeping. But dancing on stage? That’s something way out of his comfort range; yet there he was, vogue-ing with the best of them.

As I watched the number, a curious thing happened: Will went from being the center of my universe to just another kid up on stage. It was powerful to see him as a stranger of sorts, certainly someone totally independent of me; he was not my much longed-for baby, but a cute kid who badly needed a haircut having the time of his life as a cog in the machine of a cool stage production.

As a surprise to him, I downloaded “Vogue” from iTunes this morning, and as he rubbed his eyes and tried to fully waken, I prattled on about the cultural significance of the song and the video. I set my cup of coffee down and vogued by myself.

He didn’t much care, really. It had nothing to do with me; he was reliving his big Marlon Brando moment on stage. In one of those damn movie-of-the-week moments, I felt the cord binding us stretch.

*Because of copyright law, YouTube removed the sound portion of the video. So, play “Vogue” on your iPod or CD, or sing it to yourself, and enjoy this CTH Theater Camp production.


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