Coldwater, MI is a little, old town with a beautiful theater with a VERY talented staff of artists and professionals. Kevin Helpin and Cheryl Van Duzen directed and music directed the charm right outta the beautiful score and script of Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! They allowed me, this curless Curly, a part in telling this classic, golden-age, American musical love story–An experience I won’t soon forget.
One of my favorite memories, however, is about director Kevin Helpin.
When it comes to musical theater(and just in general but especially musical theater), Kevin is the most tenderhearted director I’ve ever met. He is SO touched by their messages and stories. It wasn’t abnormal for Kevin to be moved to tears when discussing a scene or a particular motivation for a line. It was actually quite beautiful to watch. One rehearsal stands out more than the rest.
We had finished our days of music rehearsal and had just began work on the very beginning of the show. For those who don’t know, the show starts off with Curly singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”. Kevin had blocked me to enter from the back of the audience, house left. The design of the stage and a thrust that wrapped around the pit was taped on the floor in the studio where we rehearsed. Kevin was sitting inside the tape lines for the pit–just in front of me facing the stage. All I could see was his back.
The beautiful intro started with its light sunrise-esk style, birds chirping and so on. Though I’m sure emotions where surging, Kevin was visually doing okay. When I sang the first “There’s…” however, all I saw was Kevin slump over into his hands and start crying. We probably teased him a little too much for it but he was always a good sport about it.