Reliving my Andrea McArdle Moment

Marian Parsonsa slice of life49 Comments

If you read my bio or have been hanging around my blog for a while, you know that I have a degree in musical theatre.  I’ve shared before about my dream to be on Broadway and how I’ve kept my dance shoes, scripts and music repertoire binder long after they’ve been useful to me in everyday life.  It’s a big part of who I was and who I am.

It all started when I was about three or four.  My mom took me to see a local production of Annie.  I was spellbound.  Little girls were singing and dancing and “pretending” on stage!  And a lot of people were watching, laughing, clapping and cheering for them.  I felt the urge to hop up there and join in!

As we walked down the aisle towards the exit, I grabbed my mom’s hand and told her, “I want to be Annie when I grow up.”

When I was nine, my mom informed me that a local theatre was holding auditions for Annie.  I was bursting with excitement to audition.  Of course, I wanted the role of Annie. My mom gently encouraged me not to get my hopes up.  I had never been in a big production and I most likely wasn’t old enough to play Annie, who is supposed to be eleven.

I prepared my song for the audition, “No Strings” from Pinocchio.  I even added some choreography with a roundoff at the end.  I was determined to impress.

We showed up early to the “Annie/orphan” audition day and I was #3 to hit the stage.  Almost two weeks of auditions followed.  More singing, working with a vocal coach, dancing, reading, standing in lineups and finally, being narrowed down to working with the potential dogs who would play Sandy.  And, at the end of the audition process, I learned that I got the lead role of Annie.  I idolized Andrea McArdle (the original Annie on Broadway) and this was what I dreamed about each night when I sang along with her on my little tape player on the floor of my room.

It became one of the biggest events in my young life.  It was a huge commitment that involved a long drive to practice almost every night, plus weekends.  My hair had to be dyed once a week to keep it looking like a pretty auburn under the stage lights.  My mom had to start pulling me out of school early on Fridays, so I could take a nap to make it through the weekend.  I even had to restrict ice cream and dairy, so it wouldn’t gum up my vocal chords!


Of course, this big event was well documented!  We had a few video tapes of it as well as a photo album full of pictures, newspaper clippings, a signed poster by the cast, etc.  The videos were tucked in a drawer, though, and it had been years since I had even been able to watch them, because our last VCR died.

I knew that my Annie tape, along with tapes of other musicals I did in high school and college, would eventually deteriorate and I needed to have them put in a digital format if I wanted to watch them again and save them for my kids and generations to come.

So, when I was asked if I would like to work with Legacybox, a company that reformats antiquated media, I was excited at the opportunity to preserve that piece of my history, along with tapes of my wedding, the boys when they were babies and toddlers, some funny videos my brother and I made as kids.


Legacybox is just brilliant.  I know that there have been companies around for a long time that would convert tapes to digital media, but it’s one of those things that always gets pushed to the back burner or the bottom of the to-do list. I love that Legacybox makes it simple, sending everything you need in a kit – an easy-to-follow guide, a prepaid mailing label, a crush-proof box, and access to a personal concierge who can help you at any time.

All I had to do was gather the tapes, stick a label on each one, put them in the box and send the box back to Legacybox.


The barcode labels allow for tracking and made me feel more at ease about sending them my one-of-a-kind tapes.


A few weeks later, I received a box with the original tapes along with new CDs and a thumb drive.  The thumb drive is an extra feature, but I wanted to be able to share a video with you, so I requested it.


It was like Christmas.  Kriste and I watched clips of my musicals…laughing at little nine-year-old Marian straining to reach the high notes in Tomorrow and acting like a ditz as Carrie in Carousel when I was in college.  With the boys, I watched Calvin taking his first bites of baby food as Marshall protested that “Cowie” sitting in his highchair.  I got a little teary as I watched a dance shared at my wedding reception with my Opa, who passed away a few years ago.

These are precious and priceless and I’m so glad I finally took the time to preserve them properly.

And, because it’s just fun, here are some clips from the 1988 production of Annie at the Bad Cannstatt Theatre in Stuttgart, Germany.  The cast, crew and orchestra is comprised almost entirely of military personnel as well as their spouses and “brats”…

In case you didn’t figure it out, that was me as Annie.

That was my Andrea McArdle moment and it was fun reliving it and I’m glad it’s been preserved.

If you have pictures, film, VHS cassette tapes, etc. that you would like to have in a digital format, Legacybox is offering 40% off to the first 25 people who use the coupon code “MUSTARD” at checkout!  (Visit their site for more details and a full list of the media they can convert.)


This post is sponsored by Legacybox, a company I was excited to partner with and introduce to my readers.  All words and opinions are my own.

Reliving my Andrea McArdle Moment

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49 Comments on “Reliving my Andrea McArdle Moment”

  1. Ooh, how fun! I used to get severe stage fright (my nose would run and my hands would be like blocks of ice); once I was out on stage, things calmed down and I could have fun. This will be one of the blogs I save for when I have more time. Right now, all I see is a grey-and-white “bull’s-eye”-type circle with an exclamation point in the middle. Guess I will have to wait until I have time to see why my computer won’t let me see this. Disappointed. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That is too cute! I can definitely see grown MMS in your smile. Local theater still exists …hint hint

  3. Oh my God! I mentioned here before (a long time ago) that my hometown is Stuttgart. I went to high school in Bad Cannstatt. The theater that you are talking about must be the one that was on the grounds of the 5th General Hospital. I lived on the other side of the railroad tracks that ran past the Hospital complex and have been to the theater for many different musicals. Didn’t see the one you were in, though! The productions were always absolutely smashing. With a large military presence in the area you had so much talent to pick from. This post brought back some nice memories for me! How about that.

    1. Oh, how funny! What a small world. Yes, it was the theatre at the hospital. We lived on Patch, so that was the hospital we went to and we got involved with the theatre after Annie. I was also in the King & I and had the chance to be a pick-up in a Broadway tour that came through the area. It was a fun community. When did you live there?

      1. Well, I’m German, so I lived there from birth to my early twenties when I ‘up and married an American’! A friend and I also visited the theater on Kelly Barracks in Moeringen where we saw ‘A Christmas Carol’. We were not previously familiar with the story and were bawling like babies when it came to an end. ‘The King & I’ kind a’ sorta’ rings a bell, so I may have seen it. But I went to so many productions that I can’t remember them all. What an interesting and fun childhood you had!!

  4. Andrea played Annie when I was 16 and I got to see her on Broadway (squeeeeeel!!!). Like you, I had sat on my floor and listened and sang with her a million times. I hung around and met her backstage and got her to sign my playbill. I LOVE your scenes here and am so excited you shared this with us! I had all of our vhs put on dvds already and OH how sweet to see my babies again. I love that Annie (the movie) has been made again … and the song Opportunity is new and beautiful.

  5. Oh my gosh — thank you so much for sharing that! The theater has always held a special mystic for me and I can only imagine how magical it must have been for you to be Annie? One of my all time favorite shows!

  6. You were just fabulous Marian, I smiled the whole way through that video. As for myself, we took many, many videos of all three children from birth (including actually in the birthing rooms). We split up over 15 years ago when the oldest was 10, and my nasty ex-husband refuses to let me have copies of any of those tapes. I would just love to see them again.

  7. Oh my stars!!!!! You were precious! You did a great job and sounded just like Annie from the movie. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. You were a wonderful Annie! I just watched the original movie with my 7 year old daughter last night and she is hooked. Maybe she will follow in your footsteps. ?

  9. I love it! I did theatre all through my childhood, in high school, and into college too. I didn’t do musicals, but did a lot of Shakespeare and Greek tragedies and all that fun stuff. It’s a kind of a strange thing to share with people isn’t? I had a scholarship for theatre, and it paid for my teaching degree… neither of which I’m using today, but that’s another story!

  10. Oh, my heart! Precious! Well done! My grandson (now 21) played Rooster in Middle School opposite a younger Annie. this young lady (now 2O) was on Broadway in A Little Night Music with Angela Landsbury at 15. You can google her and see what all she has done and what she is currently doing. Her name is Katherine McNamara. Singing is not my talent but I am pleased that others have it. I’m sure you use your even now.

  11. Wonderful Marion and not all surprising considering where it has taken you – a wonderful example of how a good wide childhood experience stands us in good stead for life. I have no doubt you could have played Broadway Hugs 🙂

  12. You were the cutest thing ever! Now that your business is doing well, you should do some local shows once in a while. Thanks for the tipoff about Legacy box. I think I’ll sign up. I have Tons of my cousin’s 8mm movies all ready to go. Just never got around to it.

  13. That legacy box seems amazing and I need to do this for my parents some time 🙂 Glad you could keep all your sweet memories going. What a honor and such exciting stuff!! Lead in an Annie play? So cool! That video was great, you have some awesome theatrical talent my friend

    Thanks for sharing your memories with us 🙂

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Décor

  14. Aren’t memories fun??? You are so cute and talented in that video. As one who can’t carry a tune in a bucket, I’m very impressed!!!. I transferred all my tapes, photo onto a cd last year, I recommend it to everyone. It’s so worth it. We lost some of the quality due to deterioration and wish we’d done it earlier.

  15. You were adorable!!! Loved seeing your younger self. How wonderful to have those memories captured.

  16. Just popped back in to see if I could view this. So glad I now have access, you were (and are) just too cute! Bet it seems like yesterday in some ways. Have you kept in touch with any of your fellow thespians from back then?
    You’re not too busy these days to add in auditions, nightly rehearsals, home practices and weeks-long runs, are you?;)

    1. Great fun watching you as Annie. For a local theater group I thought it was great. The voices were so pretty in the finale song.

      My daughter did theater in high school so this brought back good memories. These experiences prepared you to be before the camera in your videos for your business also. Thanks Marion for sharing this!!

  17. Thank you so very much for sharing this!!!! I had forgotten all about the community productions put on while we were in Germany. This definitely brought back many fond memories….. one of which was meeting Meadowlark Lemon and the Harlem Globetrotters.

  18. Wow! Thanks for sharing. I can definitely tell it’s you because you still have that beautiful smile. I have so many videos that need to be digitized. I bet you miss the theater but the training has sure made you comfortable in front of the camera.

  19. Adorable! Annie was my dream role, too. I was bossy as a child and made all my classmates at school play Annie every recess, ofcourse I got the lead 🙂 And, thats the fastest version of Hard Knock ever!!

  20. Well, that was quite the performance for someone who was only nine! What a wonderful opportunity that was for you! I applaud your parents, especially your mom, for making it possible for you to be in that production of Annie. No small gift of time and encouragement for you to develop your amazing talent. Good folks, I think.

    I enjoyed seeing you perform–very sweet and fun. I can see glimpses of the present Marian in your enthusiasm and expressions. And here you are putting on little “programs” for us all the time! Would you rather be on-stage for real? I’m guessing “no, not right now–maybe someday again.” You clearly love the “stage” you’re on right now and I’m glad I get to see you doing your real-life “act” for all of us! You’re a natural, girl!

  21. Marian, During the middle of the 1970’s my husband and I attended a play at the Good Speed Opera House in Ct. called Annie before it went to Broadway. We loved it. Both agreed that it wouldn’t make it because it was too clean. lol. The rest is history. Of course the original cast plus the Dog Sandy who came from the local pound.

    My family had reel of movies of my family going back to 1930 which depicted family members who were gone before I was born etc. Since I was the youngest there were pictures of my parents as young people. Plus a grand tour of Europe in 1939.

    My sister had them put on VHS tape and then to CD’s. Thank goodness! Now they are preserved. Thank you for sharing your life experiences etc.

  22. tNice story and great way to save the past with Legacy Box. I specifically clicked on he link within your spot about what you did with your dancing shoes from your youth. I wished you weren’t so hasty to get rid of all of them! My daughter was a dancer rom age 4 to 18 and we saved her ballet shoes, especially her pointe shoes and she displays them in her bedroom. They look lovely! If you don’t already, consider displaying your tap shoes somewhere in your home- I think they’d look beautiful and nothing says vintage home more than items from YOUR story!

  23. Holy cow, you read my mind!! We just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and I vowed to myself to get our wedding video transferred to CD by our 25th! (Been SO procrastinating!) Just placed my order without leaving my couch! Ha!! Thanks for the Legacy Box review!!

  24. How adorable & talented…then and now! You were clearly destined for great things in your life! Thanks for sharing!

  25. AB.SO.LUTE.LY precious memory. So glad you were ale to save the video. I have some super 8 mm from my hubs teens and many of our own kids. I, too, need to do this. Thanks for the timely reminder.

  26. So cute, and you did so well! This brings me back to 5th grade when my class put on a production of Annie as well! I had a tiny role as one of the maids, but it was something I will never forget!

  27. That was so much fun seeing your “Annie” video. I think we have all loved the play and it was most special seeing you in the part! I hope you get a chance someday soon to get into some sort of theater- local or otherwise.
    Loved the video!

  28. I am so glad to read another positive legacybox review! I had ordered two (found an awesome groupon deal!) but then read some bad reviews on the groupon site that the company had lost their tapes!!!

    Hoping to send mine in soon 🙂

  29. I loved this!!! You had such presence and confidence on stage! Who would’ve ever dreamed you’d become Miss Mustard Seed? I feel like we’re better friends now:) Thank you for sharing a piece of what has made you YOU.

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