Like many young girls, I loved music and dance and took piano and dance classes as a kid. Ballet was my passion! I spent many happy hours doing pirouettes and grand jete-ing my way around the house to a soundtrack of Tchaikovsky and Hooked on Classics. I simply couldn’t sit still if music was playing, but I didn’t think I’d ever be in a real show! When I was about twelve, my dance teacher encouraged us to try out for the local community theatre amateur production of the musical South Pacific, being mounted by the St. Marys Community Players. I wasn’t sure, I was a bit too young (flat!) to play a sexy nurse, but I was tall and they needed good dancers so I tried out, and was cast in the chorus as a tap-dancing nurse and a swaying Bali H’ai Polynesian dancer. I wasn’t sure how things would turn out, I’d never been in a real show before and the professional director hired from Toronto could be quite intimidating! Could I cut it? Rehearsals were intensive, and you had to be there even if you weren’t in most of the scenes, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I loved watching and listening as the director worked with the actors; the scenes and memorable songs came to life before my eyes. I couldn’t believe how much talent and creativity the members of our small community had kept hidden away with their day jobs, so many beautiful voices and actors with amazing comic timing, alongside talented seamstresses, set painters, and live orchestra musicians. And everyone was so much fun! Our large company (see cast photo) became my temporary family, coaching me, sewing my costumes, adjusting my hair, makeup, and “padding” up top, and checking that my spray-on tan looked authentic! Everyone had a role to play and every detail was important, giving the show authenticity and charm. It was awe-inspiring to see all the disparate parts come together and the players transformed in that memorable show. I’ll never forget being out there on stage, singing and tap dancing my heart out through the “Honey Bun” number and swaying in my lei to the haunting ballad “Bali Ha’i”. Being part of this unique group, performing for a rapt and enthusiastic packed-house audience for our run of shows, was one of the most memorable adventures of my youth, and gave me a great appreciation for performers. I’ve loved taking in live performances of all kinds ever since. After all these years, I still remember most of the words to all the songs and occasionally in a burst of spontaneity will belt out “Some Enchanted Evening” or another catchy number from those days when I ventured on stage.
St. Marys Community Players is still going strong!