Friday, October 12, 2012

Spotlight on Kristen Walker

Kristen Walker and Lucas Coura play up an iconic scene in Kiss Me, Kate.
Kristen Walker was heartbroken when she found out her school’s musical fell on the same date as an important family reunion.

As it turned out, her schedule conflict led to a new opportunity. Kristen landed the role of Lilli/Kate in PCYT’s upcoming production of Kiss Me, Kate.

“It was a by-chance kind of thing,” explained Kristen, a sophomore at the University of Tampa.

Disappointed she couldn’t participate in UT’s fall show, she emailed her theater chair, who suggested she audition for Kiss Me, Kate at the Patel Conservatory.

She had only a day to prepare for the audition, so when she found out that she was cast as Lilli, “I was shocked and amazed. I felt really blessed,” she said.

While circumstances brought her to the audition, it was her talent that landed her the role.

Kristen comes from a musical background, her father being a jazz musician and director of a jazz orchestra, and her mother a jazz singer. Both are music leaders at their synagogue in Niceville, Fla., where Kristen grew up.

“Their lives have always been focused on music,” said Kristen.

Her mother, Gina, grew up in Tampa, and, coincidentally, was a drama student of Wendy Leigh’s when Leigh taught at Chamberlain High School. (Leigh is now the vice-president of education at the Patel Conservatory.)

“I have been singing my entire life,” said Kristen. “My parents got me into music at a young age.”

Kristen played the violin for about seven years, and became interested in theater while attending Niceville High School. “I started doing shows, and started thinking maybe I could do it for a living.”

Kiss Me, Kate, is her first experience with the Patel Conservatory. She enjoys the classical music and the farcical story. “The whole show is one big comedy of errors.”

The show may be comical, yet the atmosphere of rehearsals is exceptionally professional and rewarding, she said.

“I’m getting so much out of this show and this program...It’s so professional, which I appreciate as someone who’s trying to get into the business.”

Kiss Me, Kate will run Nov. 8-10 and 15-17 at the Straz Center’s TECO Theater. For tickets, click here, or call 813-229-7827.

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