After a stint on stage as a flying monkey, tapping out “Put On a Happy Face”, a smidge of “Swan Lake”, and some piano recitals, I had my first straight-up acting gig for the San Anselmo Parks & Rec production of Guys and Dolls when I was 11 or so. I was cast as - and worked earnestly to portray - both a Hat Box Dancer (think Can-Can girl) and General Matilda B. Cartwright, the head of the Salvation Army. It may be that the casting directors sensed my innate ambivalence, but I prefer to think that they simply recognized my range.
It was quite a range, and falling personally somewhere in the middle of it, as I did, I had to work hard to not bat my eyelashes seductively at my Salvation Army troops nor look uncomfortable in my short shorts and straw hat during “Bushel and a Peck”. Being rather tom-boyish at the time, both were a stretch for me.
Like me, Whidbey Children’s Theater falls somewhere in-between. Neither Parks & Rec nor Broadway, WCT has a beloved after-school theater program as well as a responsibility to bridge the theater education gap.
Five years ago my daughter, Miranda, needed a lifeline. Already in love with all things WCT, she signed up to be in the first Pacific Northwest performance of the award winning Inside Frampton and the Outside World and her world changed. Frampton, written by Susannah Rose Woods, is a heart-warming, endearing story full of characters we can all relate to. It’s about finding out who you are, learning to trust yourself, and look beyond image and appearance to find the true friends around you. It was a magnificent, life changing experience for my daughter then, and it is with so much joy and anticipation that I take it on this season as my first solo-directing gig for Whidbey Children’s Theater.
There is no question that both this play, and its author - WCT’s original Frampton director in 2011, Rose Woods - have played an enormous role in my life and my family. As has this theater. I am excited beyond words to get to work with the amazing talents of Rod Stewart (Tech Director), Kathryn Morgen (Set Designer), Melanie Lowey (Musical Director), Jody Harrison (Costume Designer), the incredible cast already assembling, and my own Miranda, back this time as Stage Manager, my right hand.