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The show must go on

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Amy Studabaker, who plays Rose, rehearses a scene with co-star Trever Brown. Now that she'll be in a boot to protect her injured foot, Studabaker won't be doing much dancing in this weekend's shows. (Photo provided)
Amy Studabaker, who plays Rose, rehearses a scene with co-star Trever Brown. Now that she'll be in a boot to protect her injured foot, Studabaker won't be doing much dancing in this weekend's shows. (Photo provided)

GREENFIELD — When actors tell each other to “break a leg,” it’s usually a way of saying “good luck.”

But a stroke of bad luck struck the CrazyLake Acting Company in Greenfield this week, when Amy Studabaker, one of the stars of the group’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie,” fell and broke her foot.

“The show must go on. Or in this case, the shoe,” she said.

Studabaker was cleaning out a closet Monday and pulled a chair over so that she could reach the top shelf. Her 17-month-old daughter, Aria, then decided to join her.

“She’s very active now, and she’s climbing everything right now,” Studabaker said.

Naturally, Aria wanted to see what her mom was up to, and tried to climb the chair as well. Studabaker lost her balance, and to avoid coming down on her daughter, she fell on her foot.

“I’m trying not to use it. It doesn’t hurt too much,” Studabaker said. “I feel kind of dumb for falling, though.”

Studabaker is a former choir director at Mt. Vernon High School who now works at Irvington Presbyterian Church as choir director. But her focus this week has been the Crazy Lake production, which opened last week. So, when the accident happened, Studabaker was unsure about the show’s future.

“I had a feeling of horror wash over me,” Studabaker said. “I didn’t think I would be able to do it.”

Once emotions had calmed down after the initial emergency room visit, Studabaker was able to call CrazyLake director Christine Schaefer, whose overwhelmingly positive attitude about the situation helped Studabaker get back on board.

“She said that we’d had no problems putting the show together yet, so if this was the challenge, bring it on,” Studabaker said.

The show centers on Conrad Birdie, played by Patrick Gawrys-Strand, as an Elvis-style rock ‘n’ roll star who is about to be drafted into the service. His manager, aspiring songwriter Albert Peterson (played by Trever Brown), is convinced he can make his fortune and marry his girlfriend, Rosie, played by Studabaker, if he can get Conrad on the “Ed Sullivan Show” to kiss a randomly chosen young female fan of Birdie’s.

CrazyLake is a small theater program that does not use understudies, so without Studabaker as Rosie, the show would have had to find someone immediately who knew the part, or could learn it very quickly.

“That was the first thought that crossed my mind. We’re going to have to find somebody who can learn my part in a week,” Studabaker said.

But that turned out not to be necessary.

“At first, I didn’t believe her. I laughed,” Schaefer said. “I work with a lot of high school kids who play practical jokes about the shows all the time.”

But this time, it was for real. Studabaker was told by doctors to find a foot specialist. Fortunately, podiatrist Dr. Brian Elliott was a member of the cast. He X-rayed the foot and supplied Studabaker with a walking cast.

“I told her this show was too easy,” Schaefer said. “Too easy. In fact, we’re all bored, and we needed this challenge, we needed to put our heads together and pull together; we needed something to think about to rise to the occasion, because we are CrazyLake.”

Schafer remained confident that Studabaker could pull off the role no matter what happened.

“We never thought that she wouldn’t (perform). But we knew we were going to have to change a few things,” Schaefer said.

The show will be slightly different to accommodate Studabaker’s injury. Putting her occasionally behind scenery and modifying some of the lines will allow Studabaker to still perform without really changing the show. She will be unable to dance, but they figured out a way around that. Now, that particular number will be a “memory,” featuring Studabaker’s vocals but a younger dancer as the Rosie character.

Studabaker will at least be wearing a boot during the performances and hopes she will be able to walk on stage without crutches.

“This is a fantastic show. Everybody is really doing a very good job, and the group of teens that I’ve gotten to work with in the show are just phenomenal. They are really amazing,” Studabaker said.

Shows are Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts at 122 W. Main St. in Greenfield. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door, but advanced- sale tickets can be purchased for $10 at Hometown Comics in the Green Meadows Plaza in Greenfield or reserved by calling (317) 477-2787.

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