Archive for Thursday, June 18, 2009

Talented feet land Shawnee Mission woman top role

June 18, 2009

Love is in the air at Shawnee Mission’s Theatre in the Park for Shawnee resident, Amy Hurrelbrink.

Theatre in the Park opened the “Hooray for Hollywood” season with performances of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.

Hurrelbrink plays Milly, a tough, confident woman who marries one of seven brothers.

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is Hurrelbrink’s first lead role, after past dancing appearances in “Grease”, “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Footloose”.

“I really wasn’t expecting to get called back for a lead,” she said. “I was just wanting to go to get a dance role.”

Hurrelbrink, who moved to Shawnee three years ago, started dancing when she was 3-years old. She attended Kansas State University and received a bachelor’s degree in dance. Now, she teaches in Kansas City, Kan.

“I was surprised to get called back — a pleasant surprise,” she said.

The role does require a little dancing, fitting with Hurrelbrink’s background.

“I get to do a little dancing,” she said. “I actually get to teach my six brother-in-laws how to dance, so they can go court their girls.”

Rehearsals began in mid-April. Preparing for the lead role was a different experience from Hurrelbrink’s past performances in Theatre in the Park.

“I wouldn’t say it was difficult, just different,” she said. “When you are used to showing up at rehearsal and not saying anything and you’re not in the spotlight the entire time, it’s a different feeling and a different approach.”

Hurrelbrink first heard of Theatre in the Park about five years ago when a student asked for help with a tap move.

“One of my students actually brought it to my attention,” she said. “She had come to an audition and was asked to do a tap step she didn’t know. The next year I went and got cast and the rest is history.”

Hurrelbrink said the low-pressure environment enabled her to enjoy the leading role.

“Oh, it’s a lot of fun,” she said. “Milly is a single lady, living in town and working on her own. She’s doing what she has to do to survive and in walks a man that sweeps her off her feet. She has to deal with these seven men. She’s feisty. She manipulates the situation and shows the brothers a better way to live and gets her life to where she wants it to be.”

The time commitment for the lead role is similar to that of previous dance roles.

“It’s not so much a time commitment as a mental commitment,” she said. “To know what I’m saying, what I’m singing and what I’m dancing, it’s a big commitment.”

Still, Hurrelbrink was excited to hit the stage for opening night on June 12.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s going to be an incredible rush to walk on stage and have 1,000 or so people giving you a rush. It’s going to be a thrill, I can’t wait.”

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” continues its run at 7 p.m., Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Theatre in the Park.

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