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Melissa Mayo

October 19, 2015

ORPHAN ANNIE

Post by Melissa Mayo

Last night I felt like I had come full circle. I took my daughter to see the Tony Award winning show of “Annie” at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. Tears streamed down my cheeks, as I traveled 30 years back in time. Here I was sitting with my baby girl, hearing all the songs I have sung over and over again.

ANNIE-&-SANDY

MAYBE-FAR-AWAY

As a child I adored the stage. At 11, I played the lead of “Annie” in my Primary school play. Being up on stage in front of the audience cemented my love of theatre and the arts. As a teenager I dreamt of the lights of Broadway. I wanted nothing more than to come to Hollywood and be a star.

The-Orphanage

CURTAIN-CALL

Daddy-Warbucks

Annie-and-Rooster

A-beating

But that was not to be….My parents—both raised by poor Polish immigrants—were always concerned about money. The arts were not an option for a nice Jewish girl, so kicking and screaming I received my MBA in Accounting. This was a living death for a vibrant, outgoing performer, with enough energy to make a cup of coffee nervous.

In my mind, I continued to relive my standing ovations to a crowded theater and in 1999 I packed up and moved to Los Angeles. But U.S. immigration had another hurdle in store, so I returned to the workforce as a forensic auditor (cue needles being jammed into my creative eyeballs). I missed the tastes of home. So I began recreating them in my kitchen.

After Jade started preschool, I couldn’t bring myself to go back to the florescent lights of a desk job. I had already honed my kitchen skills so I decided to open my own cooking school. Teaching cooking, the kitchen became my stage where I’d perform and the feedback and adoration from my students was all the applause I needed. Each class was like hosting the Academy Awards in my own kitchen.

In 2009, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The year before he passed I would phone him every day. The call always ended with him asking me to sing “Tomorrow” to him.
The emotion I felt last night totally overwhelmed me. This tiny little musical had such a profound effect on shaping me into the woman and mother I am.

And here I was watching “Annie” with my Jady Lady, who loves musical theatre and is now carrying the torch forward. I could feel my dad sitting next to me and I knew for certain that the sun would come out tomorrow.

SHOWTIME

PANTAGES

JADY-LADY

I want to thank all my friends and teachers at Glenhazel Primary School for the memories. You have had such a positive impact on my life. And to my friends around the world…. I wish you a lifetime of sunshiny tomorrows and standing ovations…

xxx Annie

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