Reading the news today about Justin Bieber’s DUI and reported reckless and inconsiderate behavior makes me understand why my 93 year old grandmother is worried my showbiz kids will get into drugs and a racy lifestyle.
When my children’s great grandmother found out my son was going on his first Broadway tour at age nine, I think she imagined a rock and roll tour bus with a bunch of drinking and carousing roadies and groupies. ( You can’t count the stage moms, because we did carouse a bit….not too much though.) The stories we hear in the news of the teeny group of former child stars out there right now is seldom good. From Miley, to Lindsay, to Britney, to Justin- it seems to always turn out bad in an epic way. Why? Is it the quick rise to fame? Is it the access to money and power? Is it a feeling of supreme entitlement? Is it parents who are not present or only seeking the money and fame for themselves too? I recall the youtube videos of Justin as a sweet young man singing his heart out. It’s sad to see it all go downhill so quickly.
As a parent of kids in the NYC showbiz scene, the rise to fame is not so sudden if ever, and the recognition that comes with it is small in comparison to Hollywood. People who love musical theater are in the minority in the U.S. Approximately 3.5 million Americans see a Broadway show in a full calendar year. A television or film showing can reach that many viewers in one fell swoop. So, the exposure to fans is much less. The irony of this is that it may in some way protect our kids who do Broadway or tours from the negative aspects of fame. They get to do what they love and remain fairly anonymous to the American and International public. I’m not saying that children do not get press and public appearances on Broadway, it is just far less than television, movie, or pop stars.
I’ve never met a kid in theater who has gone down this sort of negative spiral. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, just I have never seen it. The payoff is obviously not the fame, so therefore maybe the public pressure is not the same?
The parents I have met over the past eight years have been relentless about their children’s education, health, family life, and overall “balance”. I don’t know Justin Bieber’s family, but I wonder what their influence has been in his quick rise to fame. I also wonder how his upbringing has differed from that of the Jonas Brothers. Although there have been some reports of some of the Jonas brothers also having drug issues, but overall they seem a bit more stable. ( It’s interesting to note too that their start was with Nick on the Broadway stage and he has returned there once more.)
So, for my grandmother, I promised her my son will not become an addict- unless you count addiction to his cell phone, tablet, computer and instagram. I don’t really know how any of us parents lead our children down the right path, but I certainly know I’m going to work my hardest to instill values that will sustain them in their lives whatever they choose. It’s just troubling that as stage moms, those of us working hard to keep our children good and pure get a bad name because of the media attention on all the former child stars gone bad. I’d like to see some nice positive articles on Broadway kids gone good!