It's been quite the busy season here at The Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee, Indiana! After arriving here in mid-August, I have been involved in *FIVE* productions on the Joseph Stein Stage and we are finally winding down.
I had the privilege of starting the season as teenager Lori Beth in Happy Days, the Musical, directed by David Craven. Let me tell you, it took a lot of energy to be so "young," but all that bouncin' and boppin' really paid off. I loved it!
During the run of "Happy Days," a sliver of our professional company was involved in the World Premiere of The White Buggy written by Frank Ramirez, conceived by Richard Pletcher, with direction by Ryan Schisler. I got to return to my "Amish girl" roots (having previously played Amish characters with Blue Gate Musicals) and create the character of Lily Bontrager. Although it was a one-night-only production, we put our hearts and souls into it to create something memorable and exciting.
After feverishly putting that show up, we began rehearsals for the Theatre for Young Audiences production of A Year with Frog & Toad, where I got to sing beautiful jazzy harmony as Woman #1. That track included the roles of Bird 1, Turtle ("Toad looks funny in a bathing suit!"), Squirrel 1, and Mole 1. Hearing little human laughter is such a joy!
Alright. Three down, two to go. Next up: Lend Me a Tenor as the delightful Maggie Saunders. I have wanted to do a Ken Ludwig farce for as long as I can remember, and TENOR is one of my favorite plays of all-time.
I also got to work with director Charles Burr, who serves as the Artistic Director at Tibbits Opera House up in Coldwater, Michigan. He is known as a farce-doctor because he has directed just about all the farces there are in the modern-day theater. I look forward to revisiting this role and this play again in the future! I wasn't ready to say goodbye to dear old "Moggie."
And, finally: we arrived at Annie. I grew up watching the film, but had seldom seen it on stage. Now it seems it's getting revived quite often, and I'm glad of it! A beautiful score, a well-rounded story, and wonderful characters: it is truly the feel-good musical we need around the holidays.
I am privileged to bring Miss Grace Farrell to life every night. She's strong, resilient, and is so much more than meets the eye. I am looking forward to stepping into her shoes for a total of 45 performances. We run here in Nappanee until December 31, 2018! More information here.
Danae DeShazer is an actress, singer, and dancer living in Sarasota, FL.