Huntersville resident Melissa Ohlman-Roberge was all things to the Community School of Davidson’s production of “Cats” – director, designer and even actor.
Ohlman-Roberge said the school usually presents about six performances a year, with half of those including established and high school actors from the community, “so that our students can have the chance to work with actors, actresses and crew people who have been doing this for a long time, giving the students a chance to learn,” she said.
Two of the shows are presented each summer. The next production will be “Carrie,” the musical, which will run from July 8 to 12.
For the production of “Cats” earlier this month, two dozen younger actors were joined by seven adult actors on this production. Ohlman-Roberge said she had worked with most of the cast before but that they added a new member from Concord, 16-year-old Erin Fowler, who played Mcavity.
“She is a cheerleader and we brought her in because of her tumbling ability,” Olman-Roberge said. She explained that the role of Mcavity required a lot of tumbling in some of the important scenes.
Being her first musical, Fowler said she wasn’t sure of what to expect. Her favorite part was “acting like a cat. Acting is so much fun and so different than what I have ever done before,” she said.
The most difficult part was “being able to sing throughout the whole thing. We are moving so much. I get tired because singing while moving is so hard, but I am learning to push through it,” she said.
The established actors like Kevin Roberge, who has been acting for more than 40 years and is married to the director, enjoyed helping the younger actors, but the production was even more special for him. “It is the first time my entire family, my wife and three children, will be on stage together with me,” he said.
Kevin Roberge played Gus, Asaparagus and Growltiger; Ohlman-Roberge played Grizabella and the Glamour Cat; Amanda Roberge, 23, played young Grizabella and the Glamour Cat; K.C. Roberge, 20, played Demeter and Hannah Roberge, 18, played Rumpleteaser in the production, which ran from June 9-14 at the CSD ArtSpace.
Davidson resident Emma Metzger, 15, who played Xerces, has been in about a dozen of the schools productions and said she likes the summer series.
“It’s really fun to work with both adults as well as younger actors too. To see how they do different things, so that it helps me learn as an actor,” said Metzger.
When asked about the CATS performance she said, “Just the show itself, it’s so cool and different from anything I’ve ever done. Like, we’re cats and that’s just crazy, but it’s really fun.
Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on upcoming performances and auditions go to the school's website www.csdspartans.org/the_arts/performing_arts_information