From Bellbrook to Broadway

By Emily Bunsold

Bellbrook is home to some of the most talented, successful, and hardworking students and athletes in the area, and one that stands out amongst the rest is Senior Abby Kress. Involved with Town Hall Theater, Playhouse South, Muse Machine, Epiphany Players, Bellbrook High School, and now Dare to Defy Productions, Abby has been a part of over 20 shows, most of which have been musicals. Some of her favorites include playing Reno Sweeny in Anything Goes and Kala in Tarzan. And this November, you can see Abby play the lead in the popular show, Footloose, as Ariel Moore, the rebellious daughter of the town’s preacher who falls in love with the new kid, Ren. Kress credits most of her success to where it all started, Bellbrook High school.

On getting her very first lead as a freshman, Kress says, “It taught me a lot about responsibility and professionalism. Our director, Mrs. Brown, was the first person who made me believe that I could successfully pursue my dream of going on Broadway. Without her constant support and faith I would not be going to college for musical theater and definitely would not be who I am today.” When asked how much she usually prepares for a show, Kress answered that usually she has almost 2 months to learn her lines and choreography, but for Footloose, she only has 5 weeks until the first show to learn everything. “I had to do a lot of work outside rehearsal because we were all expected to be ‘off book’ by the first rehearsal.”

Kress also shows a lot of determination in other parts of her life as well, taking on challenging classes in school, being on Varsity Cheer squad, AND dancing at Bellbrook Dance Academy. One can imagine just how busy this senior is. When asked how the audition process went, Kress expressed that when she auditioned, she never expected to get the role of the lead, “You never know what the director is looking for. For the first audition, I had to perform a monologue for ten directors and right after that, they asked me to come back later that day where I had to dance and do a ‘cold’ reading of the script with some of the other potential actors. After my first audition, they called me back for the role of Ariel. I had to sing a few of her songs and read some of her lines. I was there from 4:00 in the afternoon to about 10:00 that night. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I got the call asking if I wanted the lead role. It was the most excited I have ever felt and hopefully, it’s the first of many calls I will get in the future.”

Footloose at the Victoria Theatre in Dayton is November 27 at 8 p.m. and November 28 at 2 p.m. You can buy your tickets at ticketcenterstage.com. Come out and support Kress as she plays the lead! Maybe even get her autograph too because going from Bellbrook to Broadway, it could be worth big money in a few years.

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