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Friday performance of 'Pirates' cancelled due to illness

Sophomore vocal performance major Kate Patterson makes her appearance on stage during a dress rehearsal for the spring musical,

Sophomore vocal performance major Kate Patterson makes her appearance on stage during a dress rehearsal for the spring musical, "The Pirates of Penzance." The evening performance on April 7 was cancelled after Patterson lost her voice (Northern Review photo/Shane Tilton).

This article is the final installment of the three-part series in which Kirsten Osbun-Manley, the director of “The Pirates of Penzance,” explains how the directors, cast, and crew saved the show after sophomore vocal performance major Kate Patterson lost her voice due to laryngitis, which resulted in the cancelation of the performance on April 7.

At 12:30 p.m. on April 7, sophomore vocal performance major Kate Patterson met with Kirsten Osbun-Manley, director of the spring musical “The Pirates of Penzance,” to deliver some unfortunate news.

Patterson had just performed as the lead character Mabel the night before, despite not feeling well. However, her health did not improve, and she had only a whispering voice left the next day.

Manley worked with Patterson for almost an hour with no improvement before deciding to ask senior musical theater major Katie Hotz to fill the role of Mabel for the Friday performance.

But when Manley picked up the phone, Hotz’s raspy voice confirmed that she, too, was ill and unable to sing.

Manley wanted Patterson to remain on stage, acknowledging all of the work she had put into the process. For the substitute, Manley said her first choice was an Ohio Northern University alumna.

Manley and the artistic team worked diligently to find a replacement before the evening performance, and for several hours, they called everyone they thought could learn the part on such short notice.

Finally, Manley decided to ask old friend and former student Lucy Anders, who was currently in the ensemble of the the national tour of “Something Rotten.”

Miraculously, Anders was able to help, but not without a little help in return.

She had a performance in Durham, N.C., and flights weren’t going out due to weather. But the show had to go on, and Anders was driven to Fayetteville, N.C. to catch a flight at 4 a.m. on April 8. Manley drove her former student to Ada, and by 10:30 a.m., they began their hour-and-a-half rehearsal.

“It was really wonderful for [my] students to watch a professional who had never done the role before learn it within an hour-and-a-half. [Lucy’s] musicianship skills are excellent; her sight-reading skills are excellent, and she’s confident,” Manley said.

Anders sat in the pit, watching Patterson on stage during the matinee and evening performances on April 8 and the matinee performance on April 9.

Manley said the rest of the show was “fabulous” thanks to the cast members’ support and flexibility.

“It was hard for the students, I think. It was very disappointing that we had to cancel the performance on Friday evening,” she said. “It disappointed everyone, but we had no complaints. Dylan Woods [Freed Center’s Operations Manager] was amazing and the box office, too. He worked to get as many people notified as possible.”

“The students, I hope, learned from watching Lucy come in at the eleventh hour, how important it is to really be prepared for anything in business, especially being able to sight-read and learn a role in a matter of a couple hours. It can happen if you’re disciplined in your craft and really focus on the nuts and bolts, basic musicianship skills and the ability to be fearless and just do it.”

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