In 2016, Raymore resident, Wendy Musick decided she and her daughters should audition for The Theatre in the Park’s summer season. At the time, she thought it would be a great family experience and the audition process would be a good learning experience.
She was right. Her daughters were both cast for roles in that year’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
What Musick didn’t anticipate is that she would be cast for a show. She performed the role of Mrs. Banks in that year’s production of “Mary Poppins.”
“I thought this would be a good example for my girls and something we could go out and do together,” Musick said. “Even if we didn’t get in, I also knew I wanted to take some chances and pursue opportunities I didn’t have when I was younger,” Musick said. “I was really surprised I got the role.”
This summer, she’s performing the lead role of the Witch in the Theatre’s production of “Into the Woods.”
“This is a lifetime dream come true,” Music said. “The Witch is my dream role and 'Into the Woods' is my favorite musical. I love Bernadette Peters and I wanted to be her when I was growing up.”
Musick has long had a heart for musical theater and aspired to perform since she was a child. But opportunities were limited in the small town where she grew up.
“I loved musicals when I was a child, but there was no live theater in my town. So, I watched all of the old musical movies with my grandmother on TV. I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
After graduating from Missouri State University with a vocal music education degree, Musick taught elementary school music for several years.
“As a teacher, I was involved in musicals with my students and taught them to sing, but Theatre in the Park was the first time I sang in public in 17 years,” said Musick, who recently celebrated her 45th birthday.
“I’m discovering that it’s inspiring when we’re courageous enough to pursue the things we love — and are courageous enough to share that with others.”
Since playing Mrs. Banks in “Mary Poppins,” Musick has performed the role of Norma Desmond in White Theatre’s 2016 production of “Sunset Boulevard” and played Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” last year at Theatre in the Park.
Musick is drawn to the message of this year's show.
“This is masterful show with many lessons for life,” she said. “One message that resonates with me is the idea that life is made up of moments that are strung together to make up our lives. The show reminds me to live in those moments.
“Also, like the song in the musical, sometimes 'It Takes Two' — and maybe even a few more — to make it through the ‘woods’ that is life.”
In her three-year musical journey, Musick has found fulfillment and made friends she expects to keep for the rest of her life.
“There’s something special when you build a musical production with others. You contribute a part of yourself and weave that together with other performers’ hearts and emotions. It’s a piece of art you can’t put your hands on physically, but it‘s very precious.”
Musick has also experienced unexpected challenges along the way, including her struggle with confidence, and a fear of letting others down.
“As creative people, we always have self-doubt. We have high expectations of ourselves and doubt can come into play. ...We’re also in a place in the performing arts where people can judge you. It’s the reality of live theater.”
In taking on these new roles, Musick also strives to maintain a life balance.
“Being a mom is my most important role."
“Into the Woods” opens July 6 at The Theatre in the Park and will run through July 14. Click here for more information and tickets.