Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Little House on the Prairie and Melissa Gilbert

Robbie and I recently attended the production of Little House on the Prairie The Musical, a traveling theatre production that was part of the Dallas Summer Musical series. We were excited about the musical not only because we both enjoy Laura Ingalls Wilder's books and the TV show Little House on the Prairie, but also because Melissa Gilbert was playing the part of Ma in the musical. Melissa Gilbert is the actress who played the part of Laura Ingalls in the ten-season Little House on the Prairie TV series.

My parents and younger sister also attended the performance, which we all enjoyed immensely. The two-and-a-half hour production was well done although the sets and acoustics were not the best we've seen. The young lady who portrayed Laura did a wonderful job and had a beautiful voice, but I think we all agreed that the best performance was of Nellie Olsen. The actress did a wonderful job playing Nellie's conceited self, and one of the funniest scenes in the show is when she tries to sit on a fence rail and ends up falling over like someone playing on a jungle gym.

We picked up a copy of Melissa Gilbert's Memoir Prairie Tale at the show and Robbie and I both read it. We agree that it is one of the worst books we've read this year, a real disappointment. First, I guess it's important to remember that sometimes we have a tendency to associate an actress with the role she has played, and it's easy to associate Melissa Gilbert with Laura Ingalls. However, the two individuals are very different and it was disappointing to read about Melissa Gilbert's life. As a child actress, she was somewhat sheltered from many of the immoralities going on around her, however as she reached her later teen years and throughout her adult life, that reality changed drastically. Her book chronicles her ups and downs with alcoholism, smoking, relationships, affairs, acting roles, and motherhood. The profanity alone in the book is reason enough for me not to recommend the book, closely followed by the almost nonchalant way she relates the names of the numerous men she has slept with over the years. There is no mention of God, except occasional times when his name is used in vain, and seemingly no moral or ethical values. I laughed out loud when late in the book, she was miffed that someone was questioning her integrity - my thought was, "what integrity?"

Honestly, it is sad that many of the individuals in Hollywood who are admired are leading this type of a lifestyle. There seems to be no system of right and wrong in a moral sense. Hmmm . . . maybe this is why there's not much worth watching on TV and at the movie theatre these days?

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