TODAY | July 02, 2010
NATALIE MORALES reporting: In our CLASS OF 2020 series, we're following a group of students from their first day in kindergarten to their high school graduation. At eight years old, Ruby 's already a veteran of the stage having grown up with a mom and dad who make their living in the theater. Ruby has always been confident as a performer, but that confidence didn't always translate in the classroom until she made a breakthrough. It's the first round of rehearsals for the second grade vaudeville show and Ruby has already landed a big role.
RUBY: I'm mistress of ceremonies.
Mrs. GAGE (Second Grade Teacher): Please take your scripts out of your backpacks.
MORALES: Mrs. Gage is directing the vaudeville show for the 12th straight year. Getting 60 kids on the same page can be exhilarating and exhausting.
Mrs. GAGE: Ruby 's group is ready.
MORALES: While some of her classmates are performing onstage for the first time , Ruby has theater in her blood.
ANN (Ruby's Mother): Can you pick out two more flowers for your hair?
MORALES: When Ruby 's mom Ann isn't doing her hair and makeup for the school plays, she's an award-winning costume designer for theater, film and television. Ruby 's dad Keythe is a critically acclaimed actor, writer and director. For Ruby and her older sister Violet , the theater isn't just their parents workplace, it's their home away from home.
ANN: It's changed their lives and we're in partnership with them, you know, when we decide to do a show, the girls do it with us.
RUBY: Look out, here they come, the Down South Singers !
MORALES: Memorizing lines and learning dance steps comes naturally for Ruby .
Mrs. GAGE: Ruby , if you can fit it in the first three squares, that's great.
MORALES: Staying focused in the classroom is the hard part.
KEYTHE: I think she is a -- an independent learner.
KEYTHE: She loves being in class and she loves being with her students, but sometimes that structure is not always suited for her.
MORALES: When second grade began, Ruby was struggling to keep up with her classmates, then a family vacation changed everything, Ruby spent a week in Spain with her family and it gave her a whole new perspective.
ANN: It was a different world for her, and I think it blew her mind, traveling, and that's the best kind of education you can give your kid is showing them the world and what it really looks like outside a textbook.
Mrs. GAGE: She came back really dedicated to being in school, really wanting to be here, and she just took off from there. This is our big show .
MORALES: After five months of rehearsals, the show must go on . Ruby wears her new confidence well in the classroom and onstage.
RUBY: Welcome to our vaudeville show!
MORALES: Like any good vaudeville show, there are some magic tricks.
Unidentified Girl #1: One, two, three.
MORALES: A few jokes.
RUBY: Why are elephants so wrinkled?
Unidentified Girl #2: I don't know, why are elephants so wrinkled?
RUBY: Have you ever tried to iron one?
MORALES: And a lot of song and dance. Then the parents in the audience get a special treat , and there's not a dry eye in the house .
KEYTHE: Thank you. I love you.
MORALES: A perfect way to close the curtains on second grade.
ANN: She reminds me every day that, you know, everything that I'm working hard for is really for her and that she's giving it to me in return is -- you know, I think that's what we all want , really, there's nothing better.
MORALES: She's growing up so fast. And to find out more about Ruby and the rest of the CLASS OF 2020 , you can follow all of their stories since kindergarten on a special Web page dedicated to the series at todayshow.com. Coming up next, a treat for your feet. How to get a salon pedicure at home, right after this.