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Should I give my son a huge bouquet?
April 17, 2006 9:37 AM   Subscribe

What do you do for a boy in a musical?

My son is the lead male ensemble in his senior year production of Hello Dolly! This is the first thing we've been able to get him excited about in 4 years and he's inordinately proud of his dancing and singing skills. I know it's common to give women bouquets after a performance, but I'd like to do something similair for my son after his opening night. Any ideas?
posted by hollygoheavy to Society & Culture (31 answers total)
 
bottle of (fake?! - fizzy grape juice) champagne?
posted by andrew cooke at 9:44 AM on April 17, 2006


A bouquet would be perfect, but would probably get him unwanted attention. If you do the bouquet, I would avoid showy flowers. Maybe a green-and-white bouquet with a LOT of greenery.

The bottle of fizzy sounds cool, too.

Hm. I'm torn...
posted by silusGROK at 9:51 AM on April 17, 2006


Flowers sent to an actor's dressing room (usually in care of house or stage management) are a traditional opening night gift, for men or women. A tastefully small arrangement or bouquet of favorite flowers—roses often—is preferable to a large one, as dressing rooms tend to be small or shared.
posted by bradlands at 9:57 AM on April 17, 2006


I'd avoid the fizzy bottle of stuff (even if it IS just grape juice) Highschools would probably like to avoid any implication of alcohol.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:02 AM on April 17, 2006


No offense, but I would have been mortified if my mother gave me a bouquet of flowers -- especially in public.

Tell him that you're proud of him, great job, etc. Then let him do his own thing with his friends. Take him out to dinner next weekend or something.
posted by MrZero at 10:09 AM on April 17, 2006


I'm not up on the traditions of the theatre world, but at concerts I always see the male soloists getting bouquets.
posted by danb at 10:09 AM on April 17, 2006


A friend of mine was in a show last year, and I sent him flowers backstage. He came bounding out after the show, "You gave me flowers! Wow! I've never gotten flowers! My parents would never give me flowers when I was in a show! I feel so special!"
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:17 AM on April 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


The thing I remember about my parents coming to see me when I was performing in high school was them telling me how proud they were of me and what a great job I did. I don't remember if they gave me flowers, or money to go out after the show, but I remember very clearly those few moments.

I wouldn't worry too much about what you give him, or how he reacts to it -- just be sure you tell him how great he was.
posted by papercake at 10:30 AM on April 17, 2006


I was involved in high school musicals when I was that age. Men got bouquets on stage all the time - usually on the last night of the performance. I don't think anyone thought anything of it. It's just a nice gesture of your recognition of his hard work and dedication. Then, he gives them back to you, you place them in water, and he never has to worry about them again :)

Many guys didn't get bouquets. It's not mandatory or anything.
posted by muddgirl at 10:39 AM on April 17, 2006


Exactly what muddgirl says- buy something that will look nice on your kitchen table :-D
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:40 AM on April 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Get him a cool gadget, or a gift certificate for something he likes.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:42 AM on April 17, 2006


Are you in a position where you could ask one of his friends in the cast (preferably a male friend) how he might react? That might give you a clue as to what was acceptable within your son's particular social group. As you can see, the answers are already vacillating wildly from your son possibly loving it to your son possibly being mortified, and that's because I think the reaction is very specific to the individual and the social group they're in.
posted by WCityMike at 10:49 AM on April 17, 2006


It's nice to have something delivered to the dressing room before the show on opening night. It gives things that old school theatre feeling. If you don't think your son will like flowers, try sending in (along with a card) something that relates to the show in some way: like the original Broadway soundtrack or an article of clothing or accessory that relates to the time period (a handkerchief with his initials, or the characters initials perhaps?--I don't know how much that sort of thing costs, though), or even just a picture frame that he can put in a picture of himself in costume, or the cast, later on.
Speaking as an actor, it's great to get something before the show, and something that indicates both that you are proud of him and have put some thought into it is doubly fantastic.
As to after the show, a lot of times the cast is having a party, so being flexible about plans is great. Indicate that you would love to take him out for dinner or dessert either that night, or at a later time if he has plans. Because theatre is so ephemeral, it's nice to have that time after the show to glow in your parents praise--that's what he will remember long after he's forgotten the lyrics and choreography.
posted by witchstone at 10:49 AM on April 17, 2006


My parents always sent a bouquet back stage for me, and I always have one sent to my father.
posted by mimi at 11:05 AM on April 17, 2006


Maybe ask him if he'd like you to buy flowers for him to give his "leading lady"?

Other good gifts: fruit baskets, enough of some little accessory that the whole (men's or both, maybe even including the orchestra if you can) ensemble can have one, a cool hat (if you're SURE you can pick one he'll like -- maybe a period hat, like a fedora).

Bouttonieres for all the men to wear after the show? I have no idea how this would go over.

Things that people can sign are pretty nice to have; later, to see all those names and remember the feeling of being surrounded by all those fabulous fun people.

Best show gifts I've received from a cast member: makeup pencil sharpener (so handy), potted violet.

Show gift I wish I'd received: vase (bud vase won't do it, sorry)

Parental gift that was almost good: a tackle box to hold stage makeup. Unfortunately, they had my (artistic) brother paint my name on the outside; still could have been OK if it hadn't been purple with little balls on the end of all the letter strokes (very 1980s, very middle school, I was a rather staid high-school senior).

And a heart-felt note or letter can be beautiful.
posted by amtho at 11:09 AM on April 17, 2006


Flowers are the traditional theatrical gift. Have them sent backstage, to arrive before the performance. Even better, see if you can get them delivered to the dressing room BEFORE the performers are called. Less confusion that way.

The presentation-of-bouquets-onstage business is lovely and exciting but also rather girly.

One other idea: if the performance space has audience area that overlooks the stage (e.g., a traditional ring balcony) you or your confederates can shower the stage with confetti, streamers. or flower petals when your son takes his call.
posted by La Cieca at 11:16 AM on April 17, 2006


Thank you so much everyone-the answers really ran the gamut!

I'm so enormously proud of him, I'm almost in tears seeing my big 6 ft 200 pound baby boy waltzing and singing.
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:19 AM on April 17, 2006


I was involved in theatre mostly as a stage manager throughout high school (and for a while after, but that's not germane).

Um, I'd beware of sending presents backstage, unless you know that all the other parents are doing so as well. Being singled out like that, in a situation where interpersonal rivalries are already running very hot (yes, yes, eveyrone's on stage to do something together, blah blah blah. High school theatre is full of people who want to kill each other for getting the role they 'should' have gotten), can be problematic, not just for the performance, but on a social level as well. That said, if it's something the other parents are doing, have at it.

La Cieca writes "One other idea: if the performance space has audience area that overlooks the stage (e.g., a traditional ring balcony) you or your confederates can shower the stage with confetti, streamers. or flower petals when your son takes his call."

No no no no NO! You're just creating a mess that the techies will have to clean up. They will hate you for it. Trust me on this. Throwing flowers onto the stage is one thing; the performers take care of that themselves. But confetti/etc? Hell no. Bad form. Very bad form.



I'd suggest dinner and a present--but not on closing night. That's usually when the cast party is, and you don't want to be the party-pooper parent who messes up those plans. Hell, cast parties are fully half the reason for getting into theatre to begin with! ;)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:53 AM on April 17, 2006


La Cieca! You're here? Brava!!
I've been reading you since I found your site when I had to write program notes for Master Class back in '99. Love you!

posted by mimi at 11:57 AM on April 17, 2006


As a veteran of too many highschool musicals to count, backstage was a flurry of activity. Boys dressed in the band room, girls in the teachers lounge and everyone's makeup was done in the cafeteria. It was all communal area and flowers would've got lost in the shuffle.

Something he could share with the cast, like a cookie plate might be more appreciated. Or perhaps there's a small gift you could give him before he leaves home for opening night - something appropriate for his character to have in his pocket.

I had a big hypnotism scene in one of my musicals, and my Mom used that as an excuse to give me my grandfather's old pocketwatch, which I put to good use during the run of the show.
posted by FreezBoy at 12:06 PM on April 17, 2006


Pay for a big party for him and his friends!
posted by By The Grace of God at 12:47 PM on April 17, 2006


La Cieca writes "One other idea: if the performance space has audience area that overlooks the stage (e.g., a traditional ring balcony) you or your confederates can shower the stage with confetti, streamers. or flower petals when your son takes his call."

No no no no NO! You're just creating a mess that the techies will have to clean up. They will hate you for it. Trust me on this. Throwing flowers onto the stage is one thing; the performers take care of that themselves. But confetti/etc? Hell no. Bad form. Very bad form.


Exactly what I was going to say. I've wasted way too much time after shows sweeping up glitter and or confetti. It's hell to sweep, especially glitter.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 1:46 PM on April 17, 2006


I'm so enormously proud of him, I'm almost in tears seeing my big 6 ft 200 pound baby boy waltzing and singing.

hollygoheavy, this made me well up and I've never even met you! Write exactly that in a note and give it to him before the performance and I bet he'll keep it forever and ever.
posted by penguin pie at 1:58 PM on April 17, 2006


If this is something he's really gotten into, you'd like to encourage his interests. But, if he's a typical teenaged male otherwise (easily embarrassed by emotional 'rental displays or "girly" gifts like flowers), how 'bout a gift certificate for some formal dance or singing lessons, tucked into a handwritten card?
posted by rob511 at 2:12 PM on April 17, 2006


I've done high school theatre for 5 years. Every lead male I've worked with got a bouquet. They took it as though the mayor had presented them after a performance at carnagie hall. Then again, most of these guys are "theatre types" and expect the traditional gift. If your son isn't a theatre type...

Cigar?
posted by phrontist at 2:16 PM on April 17, 2006


Two things:

1) It's entirely possible he's already getting a bouquet at the end of the show's run, whether you decide to do something for him or not—it's one of those nice little things the producers like to do for the cast. If your son is the type to be embarassed by that sort of attention, well, it's probably going to happen anyways. But I highly doubt he'll be embarassed in this particular case for one simple reason: if everyone's getting flowers, he won't feel singled out and there'd be no one to go, "ha ha, you got flowers!" That's in addition to everything mentioned above.

2) Again as above, the big thing is just that he knows you're out there watching and that you're proud of him. Anything beyond that is really just icing on the cake. A simple "that was great, son, I really enjoyed (fill in cool thing he did in play)" goes a fantastically long way.

Oh, make that three things:

3) You're an awesome mom.
posted by chrominance at 2:40 PM on April 17, 2006


If you go the bouquet route, carnations are a traditionally "manly" flower. Just, you know, don't get pink ones.

Be aware of any house superstitions. You can write scores of books on theater superstitions (not just no mention of the Scottish play, but also no green, no real mirrors, no peacock feathers onstage or backstage). You could never know them all, but check with the director or long-time techies to find out which ones that group enjoys.

Don't send stuff backstage. If you can't give it to him onstage on closing night, find him before he goes off with the cast, and give it to him then (quickly). Yeah, there may be more time before the show, but he won't really be able to appreciate it, he'll probably still be nervous, and if it's anything decent (food, flowers) it may just disappear while he's onstage.

Closing night, he'll probably have a huge cast party with his friends. This has probably already been planned -- please don't stand in his way. And don't wake him up early the next morning, either! But maybe the day after that you could take him out to brunch and tell him what you've told us: You're proud of him and you love him.

Another excellent gift idea, if he's straight -- my phone number. A six-foot-tall guy who sings? Perhaps he needs a tour of New York City.
posted by booksandlibretti at 2:55 PM on April 17, 2006


*chuckle* MetaHookup. Pony!
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:19 PM on April 17, 2006


Being a straight male who's done many theatre shows, I was always very happy whenever I received flowers from a director or friends, and always vaguely disappointed my parents never did the same.
posted by ElfWord at 7:20 PM on April 17, 2006


Another excellent gift idea, if he's straight -- my phone number. A six-foot-tall guy who sings? Perhaps he needs a tour of New York City.

A high schooler, booksandlibretti! For shame, for shame!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:38 PM on April 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm only nineteen myself! I'm also a very respectful, well-mannered, polite girl, in case anyone is curious.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:06 PM on April 17, 2006


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