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Friday, March 24, 2017

“Dreamgirls” tour is dream come true for Otterbein junior

Junior theater major Krystal Simpson gets cast in national and international tour as ensemble and understudy

Photo: Kristen Davis / Otterbein360

Krystal Simpson stepped into an audition room in New York for the national and international tour of “Dreamgirls” during spring break just so she could get her foot in the door.

Simpson first heard there was an opening in the show from Otterbein alumnus Kolby Kindel, who is currently on tour with the show.

“I decided to go and do it because even if I didn’t get the job, I still would have been seen by some pretty important people,” said Simpson, a junior musical theater major. “I would have gotten my headshots in their hands and my talents in their memories.”

The audition process took two days, and cuts were made on the spot. The morning after the auditions narrowed down to the final two, she got the call.

Simpson said she was shocked and cried excessively. She was cast as an ensemble member as well as an understudy for characters Deena and Lorelle.

Because she was to replace another cast member, Simpson had to go immediately to work. Her songs and sides, which are sections of a script, were emailed to her so she could learn her parts as quickly as possible.

Rehearsals so far have been fun, terrifying and fast, she said. In two days, she learned all the songs and choreography for the two roles for which she is an understudy, as well as doing scene work with the director.

“So, I potentially learned an entire show in nine days,” she said. “My head is still spinning.”

Her first show was yesterday in Wilmington, Del.

“I (was) nervous like you would not believe about my first show,” she said. “I’ve never learned material this quickly, but I know I can do it. It will be a thrill. If there is anything these past few weeks have taught me, and I’m sure this entire part of my life will teach me, is to believe in myself.”

Tomorrow, Krystal plans to audition to potentially replace the show’s current Lorelle, one of the main female leads in the show, who was recently let go due to difficulties on tour.

Since the tour lasts until the beginning of June, Simpson had to leave school for the semester, but she is expected to return back to campus in the fall to finish her senior year.

Simpson said she originally decided to come to Otterbein for the Theatre Department, but she found more to love.

“The people and the atmosphere is what got me,” she said.

While at Otterbein, Simpson has been involved in a few productions, which include Trix the Aviatric in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Mazeppa in “Gypsy” and Thea in “Spring Awakening.” Out of all her Otterbein roles, she said playing Thea has been her favorite.

“‘Spring Awakening’ is my favorite musical of all time,” she said. “To get to be a part of that cast was a blessing.”

Simpson, who would have added a role in this month’s production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” to her resume, will not be able to fulfill the role due to the tour. However, her fellow classmate, junior musical theater major Heather Dell, will take her spot.

“Dreamgirls” will come to Ohio two times before the tour ends. The tour stops at Stranahan Theatre in Toledo April 25 through the 28 and has its last performance at the Schuster Theatre in Dayton from June 4 through the 9.

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