With closing comes perspective.
Just ask Kaitlyn Rowney, a fifth grader at Winship Elementary School in Spring, TX, a suburb of Houston. She's just finished her run as a Parisian child in Theatre Under The Stars' revival of Gigi in Houston, which featured Gavin MacLeod, Liliane Montevecchi, and Anne Rogers. The stage adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe film classic opened Jan. 15 and closed Feb. 1.
[Former] "President Bush came onstage during intermission," Kaitlyn gushed. "It was a lot of fun. All the adults had cameras."
Then there was the tea party with Linnea Dakin, the actress who portrayed Gigi. "All the kids in the show were invited, five of us, four girls and one boy. We had tea and chocolate chip cookies." They also had food for thought. "Linnea was always writing us letters, telling us about her career, opening nights, why she liked being an actress."
Kaitlyn likes being an actress too. She's enrolled in the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre, an academy for young people run by Theatre Under The Stars. Kaitlyn trains and rehearses three days a week for an hour or two and even longer on Saturdays and tours production numbers at such area attractions as AstroWorld and Houston Ballet's Nutcracker market. In past years, Kaitlyn had studied at a community theater program, but neither she nor her parents found it professional enough, so she switched to the Humphreys School last fall. Kaitlyn and the other kids in Gigi did their homework in what they call the dungeon, a dressing room below the stage of the Musical Hall, where the show was mounted.
Her father, Randy, an attorney, said Kaitlyn's theater experiences "build confidence and poise. No matter what she decides to do with her life, these skills translate."
Kaitlyn's mother, Leslie, is a high school art teacher. A couple of years ago, Kaitlyn made her stage debut as the lead in Oliver! at her mother's school. When Theatre Under The Stars decided to produce its own revival a few months ago, Kaitlyn had to settle for a role in the chorus. "It was still fun," Kaitlyn asserts. As I said, she has perspective. She said the kids at her school think she's a star.
-- By Peter Szatmary