Davidson’ Players musical explores parenthood
by Staff Writer
DAVIDSON – This weekend marks the final opportunity to catch Davidson Community Players’ production of “Baby the Musical,” live at the Armour Street Theatre.
The play, which debuted on Broadway in 1983, follows the lives of three couples of divergent age groups, all of whom learn they are unexpectedly having a baby. The original Broadway production was nominated for seven Tony Awards.
“I love it because it takes place in a small town just like Davidson,” director Melissa Ohlman-Roberge said. “I think that folks would relate to it well.”
Ohlman-Roberge, a veteran director with more than 30 years of experience, recently won the 2012 Metrolina Theatre Award for Best Direction for her work on DCP’s summer musical, “Crazy for You.”
The three pairs in the play include a college-aged couple, a young adult couple and an older couple who have three grown children.
The play has become something of a family affair for Ohlman-Roberge. She and her husband played the roles of the younger couple more than 25 years ago, and married during the time they were rehearsing for the show.
While Ohlman-Roberge is directing this current production, her daughter, KC Roberge, is playing the same role of the younger woman she once held, and her husband, Kevin Roberge, is now playing the role of the elder spouse.
“It’s a universal story,” Ohlman-Roberge said. “While it’s not the best-known play, I think the characters and the themes are identifiable to lots of people.”
By design, the Armour Street Theatre, where the play is being held, is a bit of a departure from the much larger Duke Family Performance Hall where most of DCP’s bigger shows are presented.
“It is just the perfect venue for a small musical like this,” Pat Patterson, DCP’s marketing and development manager said. “Sometimes in musicals, you are so far away from the singing and the acting that you only get the overall feel for it, but here it’s a really intimate experience. You’re right there with the actors.”
For the director, she appreciates the ability of the play to reel in a diverse array of actors.
“It has a broad range of characters, so it offers a lot of casting possibilities,” Ohlman-Roberge said. “It also includes a small chorus, so it gives folks a chance to get started with us.”
Additional cast members include Austin Larkin, a high school senior at Cannon School who produced “The Fantasticks” this summer at Warehouse Performing Arts Center, as well as Christy Hinkleman, who won a 2010 Uwharrie Players Best Actress Award for her role in a production of “Sweeney Todd” that year.