Blogging about life and raising our five kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

An Unbelievable Night

My kid has got to be one of the luckiest kids on Earth. Seriously, things just HAPPEN for her. She's had more encounters with famous people, or been in national publications, and other things like that so many times in her life. It's just really strange!

So back in November I bought tickets for the Broadway production of High School Musical. In December or so I started digging around online to find out who to talk to about arranging for her to meet one of the cast members or something along those lines. I was able to locate one woman, but the only response I'd ever get back from her was "I'm still checking on this. I hope to get back to you soon. That's opening night here so I just don't know how busy the cast will be." The last I heard from her was the middle of February, and then I forgot about it.

In fact, I almost forgot we had the tickets. They've been hanging on the fridge for months, and you know how you just don't see things after awhile? Anyway, Angela pointed to them on Saturday and said, "Mom! Whens the show?" The tickets were for April 1st. Clearly nothing was going to happen as far as meeting the cast, but it would be a great show anyway.

Last night, shortly before we were supposed to leave for the show I got an email from the woman. "Please come find me at the VIP desk at the theater. Right after the show stay in your seat until the theater is cleared. There will be a few families staying for a short question and answer time with the cast. After that I have a pass for the two of you to attend the cast party after the show!"

HUH? The CAST PARTY with the BROADWAY CAST??? NO WAY!

We did the question and answer thing, then went to find our way to the cast party (in downtown Minneapolis at 10:00 at night. Not the most pleasant 6 block walking experience for exhausted Angela!)

When we got there, although I had my camera I didn't feel comfortable taking it out. This was clearly the CAST ONLY party, and it just didn't feel right. I had our playbill in my purse so Angela could get autographs, but I was really feeling like we were totally out of place and didn't want to interfere with their down time. Know what I mean?

Angela literally bumped into the person who played Sharpei, who was very nice to her.

And then came Dante.

If you've seen the production, Dante plays "the worm boy" in the show. Dante glommed onto Angela like glue. He was just GLOWING and it was clear that ....somehow...he was one of "us." Finally at one point he said, "She reminds me so much of my sister, I just can't get over it."

I asked if his sister had DS. She did not, but she was disabled, and she passed away when she when she was little. Clearly, he misses his sister, and at one point I thought sure he was going to cry.

Dante took over from there. He drug Angela around to every cast member, or he brought the cast members to her. He made sure everyone signed her playbill. But they did so much more than that. The cast embraced her. You may remember that Angela and I are very involved (or at least trying to be very involved...when we can keep everyone healthy! ) in theater. Angela was soooo in her element with these people!

When it was nearly time to go, Dante asked, "What are you doing on Saturday? Come to the theater after the show and I'll bring you backstage, then we can get pictures with the cast, see the costume room and stuff like that." (guess we'll be skipping the regional DS conference! LOL) When we left the cast members were all saying, "Bye Angela! Can't wait to see you Saturday!"

Needless to say, it was a night to be remembered for ever. But not only for us, for Dante as well. Who knows what God is doing in Dante's life right now. Clearly there is something in his heart, because God had Angela there for Dante last night. For some reason, he needed to meet Angela. Only God knows what that reason would be, but by his tear-filled eyes I would guess he needed to see his sister, even if it was in someone else.

I googled Dante and found his website. I love this young man. He has a heart of gold. http://www.danterusso.com/
But is it any wonder that he does? After loosing their daughter, Dante's parents started The Therese Alessandra Russo Foundation. This, my friends, is what "family", and "acceptance" and "support" is all about!

3 comments:

Kathie Brinkman said...

Wow! Very cool. I looked at the links. Dante has written two plays. One of them features disabled children. Isn't that cool?

Kathy said...

That's wonderful. I'm so glad you guys had a great time!

Vincent said...

Leah

God bless you,Angela and your entire family.

There are very special moments in life and I really appreciate your sharing your story of angela meeting my son, dante.

We are all connected in some many different ways. Dante and his sister, Theresa have made their way into your family and your family into ours.

For me and my family, this is truly a special moment - reading your story of "An Unbelievable Night."

Perhaps our paths will cross some day and we could meet and talk.

My very best!
warm regards
dante's dad