I have spent the last few weeks in amazement.
Bless Wayne Bryan, Music Theatre of Wichita’s producing artistic director, for letting me be in “Singin’ in the Rain” last month. First, I was amazed how he assembled a group of 35 young people who were so talented that watching them rehearse brought tears to my eyes a number of times.
Their ability — and I mean all of them — to quickly learn lines, song lyrics, dance numbers and sing with voices that were great amazed me every day. When Sean Ronayne opened his mouth to sing “Beautiful Girls,” I thought I would melt. Dani Young’s voice is so beautiful that I told her to stand close to me at curtain call so people would think her voice was mine. It was fun to hear the hopes and dreams of these outstanding young people. I know, without a doubt, that I’ll see many of them on Broadway in New York someday. Adam Kaplan and Dani are two who are off to the Big Apple.
I got an hour of one-on-one time with the director, Linda Goodrich, who also was the choreographer. She was encouraging, gave me great tips, and — even though she had to be exhausted at the end of every rehearsal day — she never lost her smile. Amazing.
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Alex Finke, who just graduated from the University of Michigan, where she was one of Linda’s students, ran lines with me. The whole time, I was hoping a bit of her talent would reach me through osmosis.
I made a new friend, Anne Horak, who played Lina Lamont. She and I had a very good time getting to know each other. She is good friends with the very handsome and unbelievably nice David Elder, who played the lead.
Anne had the role of Elle in the last show of the season, “Legally Blond,” so we had time to get to know each other. I hope she comes back soon.
I was amazed that I got to be on stage with not only Anne, David and Mary Michael Patterson — who played Kathy — and Cary Tedder — who played Cosmo — but two local favorites, Charles Parker and Tim Robu.
On July 29 when the last show was over, I was amazed how quickly it all happened, from the first rehearsal to the last performance. Energy was not lagging, however, as the company was already geared up and ready to start working on the next show.
But if that didn’t hit the amazement quotient for one summer, the Olympics began. Once again, I was saying, “How can they possibly do that?” “That is super-human.”
All summer, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to have some type of totally outstanding, wow-factor talent.
One thing’s for sure, whether you’re conductor Thomas W. Douglas in the Music Theatre of Wichita orchestra pit or Michael Phelps in the Olympic pool, when you’re blessed with a talent and dedicated to it, you are amazing.