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Yes, that is a star costume…

December 8, 2016, 9:48 AM

For this month, the splash photo shows child me wearing a star costume.  I normally lean towards running a vintage photo for December, because December photos, owing to the Christmas elephant in the room, are typically harder to do than most because of that extra holiday element.  I own very little Christmas junk, and so a new photo requires a shopping trip and some spending to do.  That or I do the photo right in the store, as I did in 2008.  The December splash photo had nothing to do with Christmas in 2012, 2013, and 2014, owing to some recent non-Christmas photos of me taken in those years, but in 2015, Christmas returned to the splash photo.  However, I inadvertently duplicated my work in 2015, as I had run the same photo in December 2006 – a mistake that I didn’t didn’t discover until I did the prep work for this Journal entry.

For this month, my original plan was to run a photo taken in 1987, showing my sister and me with Santa Claus.  However, in a routine check of the archives to prevent duplicates, I discovered that I had run it eleven years prior.  So that went out the window.  I went hunting in my scans of old photos, and found this:

In costume as Andro Star

That is me in costume as Andro Star for our church’s production of the musical Oh My Stars, It’s Christmas! on December 15, 1991 – almost 25 years ago, when I was in fifth grade and still living in Rogers, Arkansas.  That is the story of how Andro, a young star that couldn’t sing worth a lick in a heavenly choir, and who was ridiculed by the other stars for his lack of singing ability, became the Star of Bethlehem and, well, you know the Christmas legend.  The play is based on the children’s book Andro, Star of Bethlehem by Anne Claire, published in 1983.  I located and purchased a copy of this book in 2001.

My sister was also in this play, playing a minor star character.  Here she is in her costume:

My sister in her costume

I had a lot of fun with the production.  This was also the first time that I ever participated in an honest-to-goodness play. Previously, the most that I had ever done were those little elementary school programs where all of the kids stand on stage and sing songs together.  This was a play with characters and a script with lines that we had to memorize.  Additionally, the songs in this play were much hipper than you typically heard in church.  No organ music to be found here.

I still remember the songs and could probably sing them all back to you from memory.  I can’t say that I endorse the religious aspect of it all anymore, but the songs were fun and memorable.  The introductory song, “Zip Zappity Zoom”, was upbeat and catchy, even though it didn’t have much to do with the rest of the play.  One song incorporated the melody of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and the finale was a split between a bouncy arrangement of “Joy to the World” and a reprise of “Zip Zappity Zoom”.  Great songs, all of them.

Here’s a video of another church’s production of the play, showing the lead song, “Zip Zappity Zoom”, with a very different interpretation of the star costumes than what we did.  You can see how much hipper the music is compared to a lot of other stuff that gets sung in church:

Looking back on this, I’m still amazed that I pulled the Andro role off.  I had never acted in anything prior to this, and then, there I was taking the lead role in a musical.  I remember auditioning for the role of Andro just for fun, and I never imagined that I’d actually get it.  Color me surprised.  I was one of the older kids, and we all tended to get the larger roles because we were older and more mature, so even if I didn’t get the Andro role, I would have likely had a larger role regardless, but I was still quite shocked nonetheless.  In any case, I had the most lines out of anyone, and somehow, I managed to memorize all of them.  I consider that an amazing feat in and of itself.

That play was my first and last major acting gig.  I acted one more time after this, doing a small role in a play about King Arthur for social studies class in sixth grade.  That play was also a lot of fun.  The King Arthur play was part of a larger interdisciplinary unit that the team did about the Middle Ages.  I later managed to get into the gifted-and-talented drama program based on those two plays, but after getting in, I never really did anything with it.  Let’s admit – I’m not much of an actor, and that is fine.

All in all, I love sharing these embarrassing old photos, because there is usually a fun story to tell along with them.