Once upon a time - in a far off kingdom - there was a Kansas girl returning to McLeod Summer Playhouse in Carbondale, IL, to embark on a brand new adventure.
This adventure included being the Artistic Associate for the season... assistant directing, assistant choreographing, dance captain, AND acting.... what a whirlwind it has been!
We started with the Theatre for Young Audiences production of Pinkalicious the Musical, where I played the role of Mrs. Pinkerton. Pinkalicious played on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season in the Moe Theater - an intimate 100-seat blackbox filled to the brim with excited audiences of children and the "young at heart." I loved working alongside director Wes Drummond, getting to assist in choreography for the Dancing Cupcakes dream sequence and "Buzz Off!"
Pink is joy. Pink is laughter. Pink is love!
Then, we jumped head first into rehearsals for Sondheim's Into the Woods, where in addition to my role as the assistant director, I strapped on the boots of The Baker's Wife. And what a role it was! My favorite moment (pun intended) of the entire show was when I had a brief encounter with a charming prince for a Moment in the Woods, and got to sing and act my way through one of the most poignant, witty, and meaningful song I have ever gotten to sing.
Let the moment go... don't forget it for a moment though.
Following Woods, I slipped into my habit and grabbed my rosary to play Sister Mary-Martin-of-Tours in a flashy and fun production of Sister Act! On top of that, I was the assistant director to J. Thomas Kidd and dance captain for choreographer Darryl Kent Clark.
Did the smoke change color? Do we have a new Pope?
While Sister Act was in performances, I joined Wes Drummond in rehearsals for a very special production of Singin' in the Rain. Every year, the All-Southern Illinois High School Theater Project (ASHSTP), produced by McLeod Summer Playhouse (MSP) and Carbondale Community Arts, presents a musical performed entirely by Southern Illinois high school students. But, it's not like any other high school production... it utilizes MSP's stage, professional staff, directors, and designers.
Rehearsals have been going great! When the director suddenly got ill, I got to step into his shoes for a few days and run rehearsals entirely by myself. It was an enriching learning experience - a mixture of teaching, directing, choreographing, leading, and learning. The show opens this upcoming weekend, July 27-30, and I can't wait to see it all come together.
Danae DeShazer is an actress, singer, and dancer living in Sarasota, FL.