The music was beautiful but it was the lyrics of Stephen Schwartz's song Empty Heart that moved Karyn Elliott to tears. Elliott, who is the general manager of First Stage Children's Theater, and who will soon be celebrating her 31st adoption day, recalls the moment: "When I stepped into rehearsal and heard John Maclay as Geppetto singing, 'If I could have just one wish come true, I’d fill this empty heart,' I couldn’t help but get teary. That was my parents' wish and prayer for years, and although my brother and I did not come from their blood, we absolutely came from their hearts."
Geppetto’s story is the center of this version of Pinocchio. He is a lonely man who yearns for a child of his own and whose desire is amplified by the nature of his job -- working every day as a toymaker for mothers and fathers who don't always seem to appreciate the gift of parenthood. His plight rings true for many adoptive families and couples who struggle with infertility.
|Young Performer Mallorey Wallace in the Todd Wehr Theater during tech rehearsals for MY SON PINOCCHIO.|
Ten-year-old Mallorey Wallace, who plays the part of Ring Leader and Junior in MY SON PINOCCHIO, says that as an adopted child, she feels very lucky. "Geppetto has an empty space. I don't have an empty space in my heart. I have my family with my mom and dad and brother and I also have my birth mother and my birth brothers and sisters." Miss Wallace, who is poised beyond her years, chats comfortably about her good fortune in life. "My friends think it's cool. And it is!"
Gina Schultz, whose son Ben is also performing in MY SON PINOCCHIO, talked about adopting Ben's brother Alex. "Children are children no matter how they come into your life. You see them and they enter your heart and there you hold them forever."
Said Elliott, "I really hope that MY SON PINOCCHIO will bring families together to appreciate the blessing of family, no matter how it was created. My family and I thank First Stage for singing our story."
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Click here to listen.
I know my heart is large.
That's why it feels so empty.
If I could have just one wish come true
I'd fill this empty heart.
I fill my days with work.
I fill my nights with dreaming.
And wait in hopes of a someone who
Can fill this empty heart.
Like an open shell on the shore
Like a riverbed dry without water
Nothing growing here any more
Is it too late for life to start?
On such a magic night
When all the world is shining
My foolish prayer may it travel far.
I even wish on the Christmas star
To fill this empty heart.
Photo by Mithra Ballesteros, First Stage Children's Theater