Kathleen Traylor, One of Phamaly's Founders, Talks About Her Experience Working on Spring Awakening and More
SPRING AWAKENING marks my 24th production with PHAMALY! It's been one of my favorite indie-rock musicals for years. I loved the 1996 song "Barely Breathing" by Duncan Sheik too (he's responsible for the music in SPRING AWAKENING). I will be playing five different adult female characters in this show! You'll see me go from a mother, to a teacher, and back, with a spin of my wheels (don't blink, or you'll miss my character change)! And I can relate to each of the characters. Some I can relate to easier than others. But they all have one thing that I didn't. A fear to speak the truth for what's important.
You'll have to come to see SPRING AWAKENING yourself to see what I mean for my characters. But for me and the other co-founders of PHAMALY (Gregg Vigil, Teri Westerman-Wagner, Kevin Ahl, and Rick Britton), in 1989 performers were being turned away from the theatrical experience because of many people's preconceived ideas of what a person with a disability can do. My own school counselor cautioned me about having "such unrealistic dreams of becoming an actress." And told me to "think in terms of reality." Geez! Broadway could get an elephant onstage, but my wheelchair frightened people.
The five of us had done high school theatre together under the tutelage of Jeannie Sonnleitner at Boettcher School (a school for children with disabilities). She taught us wonderful adaptations and accommodations that worked for her productions. Still, nothing could have prepared us for the vast array of talent, and need, that came through our door that first year, requiring all manner of accommodation. We knew there were many like us that aspired to careers in the theatre but were being discouraged. Either by our families, friends, education, the medical field, media, or the industry.
One gentleman named Scott. He could not look at me, and answered in short sentences. But could that man sing! After a few weeks of rehearsal his mom came to me and told me that Scott was talking to her. Little things. But she felt she was getting to know him. He opened up at rehearsals too. And that's just one performer. I knew we would move audience members by reminding them of who they are. But I completely forgot we needed to be reminded too!
See Kathleen Traylor in the punk rock musical, Spring Awakening, March 23 - April 8, 2023 at Northglenn Arts!
Tickets are $15 for Preview and $25 for Opening Night and beyond.