‘My Fair Lady’ director gains new perspective

Choreographer Kathryn Reimler gives instruction Sunday to the cast of My Fair Lady as they rehearse a dance scene of the popular musical. (Photo by David Lias)

People who follow the Vermillion Community Theatre remember Kevin Earlywine from his lead role as Curly in last summers production of Oklahoma!

This summer, Earlywines presence wont be so predominately noticeable onstage.

He will, however, be leaving his touch on practically every aspect of the VCTs upcoming production of My Fair Lady as he takes on the role of directing this popular musical.

The musical will be the fourth production that Earlywine, who just graduated from USD last spring with a degree in theatre, has directed

Last January, he directed Evil Dead The Musical, a student theatre cooperative production presented in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre on the USD campus.

That experience, combined with what hes presently experienced in recent weeks as rehearsals for My Fair Lady continue, have brought some defining moments.

It definitely changes your perspective on acting, Earlywine said. I will be a different actor the next time I have a role in a show. I definitely have a newfound appreciation for communication communicating with people who are in the community is different than communicating with people that act every day.

When you go to school for theatre, there are certain things you learn, but if not, you have to look at things in a different way, he said. This experience is very different than directing my peers in Evil Dead. Its good because I did have the Oklahoma! experience, and got to know the people who are involved with the community theatre here.

Those community actors, he knows, are faced with quite a challenge as they prepare to stage their latest production soon.

Its My Fair Lady. Its probably one of the most well known musicals ever written. So, finding, in a creative way, things to keep this very familiar musical fresh to the audience is challenging, Earlywine said. The language is very dense, finding a way to make the show accessible to a modern audience has been a challenge, but thats why the whole crew is so important. Everyone has been working so hard, and have come up with some really creative, unique ideas.

Rehearsals began May 30 for the musical, which will be performed at the Vermillion High School Performing Arts Center on July 8-11.

Earlywine is being assisted by Anthony Burbach as musical director, Rosy Soltero as stage manager and Kathryn Reimler as choreographer. Brian Adams is technical director, Ben Kramer is set designer, Anthony Pellecchio is lighting director and Susan Heggestad is costumer.

Stephanie Maddox will star in the female lead role of Eliza Doolittle, the English lass spied selling flowers on the street by Professor Henry Higgins, played by David Hulac, who had the much different role of Jud Fry in "Oklahoma!"

Randy LaMie has been cast as Colonel Pickering, Joshua Kolb as Freddy Eynsford-Hill and David Burrow as Alfred P. Doolittle.

The cast also includes Cindy Aden as Mrs. Eynsford-Hill and Erin Conlon as Mrs. Higgins as well as Don Pryce, Abraham Painter, Clint Johnson, Kelsey Johannsen, Lynn Lawrensen, Randy Gingiss, Derek Iverson, Hannah Ford, Gretchen Burbach, Sue Kappenman, Nancy McCahren and Danielle Dornbusch.

Jasmine Martin, Alex Card, Derek Iverson and Megan Dawley will appear as street performers. The queen's escorts are Ellen Hanson, Rosie Ahmed, Julie Renner and Holly Irwin. The cockney quartet includes Bryce Mayrose, Kurt Hackemer, Caleb Olson and Joshua Kolb.

In addition to actors already mentioned, others appearing in the various choruses are George Schlenker, Evelyn Schlenker, Carrie Prentice, Jack Fuller and Grace Kjelden.

Earlywine is finding that everything he learned in directing class at USD is coming in quite handy as he and the cast take all of the steps necessary to put on a successful performance next weekend.

This is a show you can really dig your teeth into taking all of the stuff I learned in directing class and applying it has been fun, Earlywine said.

The cast and crew, many who are veterans of several Vermillion Community Theatre productions, also are a tremendous help as progress is made during each rehearsal session.

Working with Anthony (Burbach) and working with Kathryn, the choreographer, and with the other experienced members of the cast and crew having that support when it gets a little tough is really invaluable, Earlywine said.

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