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Wednesday, Mar. 05, 2014

Young and old try out for roles at The Theatre in the Park

Special to The Star

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Auditions rescheduled for Saturday

The second day of auditions for the 2014 season of The Theatre in the Park was rescheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Blue Valley High School, 6001 W 159th St. Visit www.theatreinthepark.org/auditions for details.

Cast lists for all shows will be posted after 5 p.m. March 15 at www.theatreinthepark.org.

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Even seasoned performers admit to occasionally having butterflies when they audition, so imagine how 7-year-old Liz Secrest felt at her very first audition last weekend.

“I was kind of nervous,” the Olathe girl said softly. “I was glad my big sister was with me. It was exciting but I felt a lot better when it was over.”

Liz is hoping for a role in “Honk,” one of the five shows in The Theatre in the Park’s 2014 season that opens June 6. Her sister, Megan, 13, auditioned for the first time when she was 8 years old.

“I was a little nervous, too, especially when I saw all the directors and other people around them watching me sing,” Megan said. “I would like to be in ‘Honk’ or ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ but I’ll be happy with anything I get.”

The Theatre in the Park auditions at Blue Valley High School were supposed to run Saturday and Sunday, but organizers canceled Sunday’s session because of the huge snow storm that had been forecast. They extended the Saturday session by three hours, and more than 300 people auditioned that day. The second session has been rescheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the high school.

Jeanne Marx, a teacher at the Holy Cross school in Overland Park who auditioned last weekend, has been competing for roles at the Theatre in the Park since 1989.

“If I’m selected it will be my 12th show there,” Marx said. “I’m a singer and actor, not a dancer. I’ll take any role I’m offered, I just enjoy performing in shows at The Theatre.”

Grant Davis, 25, was at a crossroads coming into this year’s auditions.

“I told myself, ‘No more.’ I’d about made up my mind I was through with theater,” Davis said. “But then I decided I’ve come too far and I’ll regret it if I don’t keep going. I really want to be a famous actor.”

He first auditioned at The Theatre when he was 18 and landed a role in “The Music Man.”

“I even had a solo. Later I was in ‘Oklahoma.’ I guess I just like singing and dancing,” said Davis, who lives in Shawnee.

Saturday’s audition was the 13th for Madison Cole, 19, a pre-nursing freshman at the University of Kansas. She has had roles in Theatre in the Park shows.

“I still get nervous every time I audition. I guess it wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t,” said Cole, who lives in Overland Park.

Morgan Couch, 15, a freshman at Olathe Northwest, was trying out for the fourth time last weekend. She has had roles in plays at The Theatre in the Park, The Culture House in Olathe and her high school, where she’s also on the dance team. “I want to be an actress when I grow up,” she said.

Marshall Rimann, 69, of Lenexa has been auditioning since 2005 and has appeared in six shows at The Theatre in the Park.

Rimann said his singing was limited to the shower until he was 60 years old. “A very pretty woman convinced me to try out at The Theatre. I’m sure glad she did. I hope to keep coming back,” he said

Bill Bergman, 64, of Grandview was ready for anything except “Honk.”

“I can’t dance,” Bergman said with a laugh. “I just enjoy being on stage and I like the community atmosphere at The Theatre in the Park. I’ve spent a lot of time coaching youth sports.”

Another Missourian, Christopher Carlson, 22, of Lee’s Summit, hoped to land a role in “Pirates of Penzance.” He wants to be a professional actor, and last weekend’s audition was his first for Theatre in the Park.

Katie Noll, a fourth grader at Overland Trail Elementary also auditioned for the first time. “I was very nervous. I was glad when it was over,” she said.

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