Monday, March 2, 2015

Monday, Mar. 11, 2013

Theatre in the Park exerts its draw

Special to The Star

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When David Martin learned that The Theatre in the Park was planning to produce “Damn Yankees” this summer, he knew he had to audition.

“I was in ‘Damn Yankees’ my senior year at St. Thomas Aquinas and I wanted to take another whack at it,” the Overland Park man said. “I started acting in the seventh grade. I was in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at The Theatre in the Park when I was 15. Later on I was in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’ at The Theatre.”

Martin, 32, majored in psychology at the University of Kansas and works as a financial analyst, but theater is still an important part of his life. That’s why he joined nearly 600 other hopefuls for auditions that The Theatre in the Park held over two days last weekend at Blue Valley High School. Callbacks are today and cast lists will be posted soon at

There were plenty of people auditioning for the first time, said Tim Bair, producing artistic director at The Theatre in the Park.

Valerie Dykes, 44, of Shawnee, was one of them. “The auditions were a streamlined machine. I was almost overwhelmed,” Dykes said with a laugh. She’s hoping for a role in “Children of Eden.”

Justin Armer, 16, of Prairie Village, also auditioned for “Children of Eden.” He’s been in four shows at The Theatre in the Park but still gets nervous at auditions. The Shawnee Mission East student hopes to make acting a career.

Drew Szczesmy , 22 of Lenexa, wasn’t picky at the audition. “I’ll take anything,” Szczesmy said. “I was in ‘Legally Blonde’ last summer and had a ball.”

Amanda Dulny, 13, didn’t audition for a particular show, either. She’s been on the stage in Shawnee Mission Park before and now is appearing in “How to Eat Like a Child” at Trailridge Middle School. She auditioned with her brother, Zachary Dulny, 11, who was trying out for the first time.

“I was nervous but I got through it,” Zachary said.

Performers weren’t the only ones who had nerves last weekend. Amy Tuso of Liberty was less relaxed than her son, Landon, 8, at his audition.

“He doesn’t get nervous but I do,” she said.

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