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  • Writer's pictureCorinne Baldwin

I Surprised My Sister & She Had No Idea!!!

Traveling Across The Country to See Her Senior Musical

My sister is such a badass. I will forever be proud of her.

Rachael is a senior at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL, and when I think of her GRADUATING in May of this year, I run to the mirror to start tweezing my gray hairs. Okay, kidding, but I genuinely can’t believe that my baby sister will have her BFA in Musical Theatre in just a few short months.

And what better way for her to finish her collegiate career than by landing the LEAD ROLE (!!!) in her senior musical?! She’s performing in Urinetown: The Musical as Pennywise and the joy in her voice when she told me she got this role is something I will never forget.

But then she asked me if I would be able to make it to the show…and I said no.

The gag? I LIED!

As soon as I found out she booked the role, I told my mom I was coming and to keep it a secret from my sister. It took me a few weeks to figure out which show specifically I was going to go to, but we landed on opening night.

I booked the flights to head to Orlando shortly after. And dude…I was cutting it close. The only way I could make it on time to see her show was to book a midnight flight out of LAX after a rehearsal that ended at 10pm. 

I brought my suitcase and carry-on backpack with me to rehearsal and ran out right at 10pm to catch my Uber to the airport. I was scheduled to board at 11:09pm, and needed to hurry to get through security and make it to my gate on time. My Uber driver was amazing and got me there by 10:40pm, and security lines were super short, so I hit the jackpot. I quickly grabbed a sandwich and a cookie and filled up my water bottle before boarding my flight.

But then…my sister texted me. Shit.

I immediately turned my location off and was acting as if I was just on my way home from rehearsal. She still seemed clueless, which was good, but I was so nervous that I was going to blow my cover. Thankfully, the coast was still clear and I boarded my flight.

I slept the entirety of my two flights. I had a small layover in Chicago, so I grabbed some breakfast. I landed in Orlando at 11am after sleeping on the plane all night.

My mom and Gram picked me up from the airport, and once we got home, we had a few hours before we had to leave for the show. I took a little bit of a nap, got dressed and ready, and we hit the road for Lakeland.

We got dinner before the show and my best friend’s mom even joined us. That’s how we tricked Rachael into getting enough tickets for everyone – we said that Ashley’s mom and dad were coming, but it was just her mom! Rach was able to get four tickets for the show and they were the perfect view of the entire stage.

But then we thought of a problem…what if Rachael saw me in the audience and it messed her up? It was opening night…there was already a lot of stress involved for her. So my mom texted her that she wanted Rachael to peek out of the green room before the show started.

I waited in front of the door, and when she came out, she was so happy and surprised! She called me a bitch about 5 times for lying to her, LOL. She said she had small suspicions that I was coming, but that in general, this was a massive surprise to her.

In the end, she was so excited that I was able to make it to her performance. That’s what the most important part was.

You see, this is the first time I’ve been able to see her perform since she moved to Florida in 2020. The last show I saw her in was A Chorus Line when she was still living in Tennessee. I didn’t want to miss out on more of her theatrical career, so making it to this show meant a lot to the both of us.  

Her performance in Urinetown: the Musical was nothing short of spectacular. This girl can SING, y’all, and she left the crowd cheering so loud for her solo and every song she performed. Honestly, the entire cast was amazing, and you can tell that the education that they’re all getting at FSC is incredible. I can see them all going so far in their performance careers, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what my sister does after graduation.

We finished out our weekend together in true Baldwin fashion by getting brunch at Disney Springs (we had Homecomin’ – OH MY GOODNESS!!!) and walking around the stores to catch up with each other and our family. She had another show Saturday night, so it was a quick visit, but the time we spent together was priceless. 

I’ll get to see her again in 3 months for graduation, and I am genuinely emotional about that. Being a big sister is so rewarding, and watching her grow up and become the incredible woman that she is is something that I will always have gratitude for. She’s going to take on the world with her talents. 

Like I said before, she’s such a badass. I will forever be proud of her.

Have you ever surprised someone you loved?

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