Richard & Courtney: Here’s to the ones who inspire and amaze me

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My edits of the promo stills supplied by the Old Vic Theatre.

“The best thing about being on stage is when you’re in the middle of the scene and you lose control. You get this massive adrenaline rush, a feeling like you’re flying or on fire. Once you’ve had that, you want it again and again.”

~Richard Armitage

 

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Courtney touches up her makeup before the final performance of “Hollywood Dreams.” My photo and edit for Pecan Ridge Productions.

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Courtney Rice. My photo.

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Talented trio: Cory Rice, aspiring National Geographic writer, mom Sonya, dancer instructor and choreographer, and Courtney Rice, who dreams of performing on Broadway and participating in film production. My photo.

“It’s not that I have certain roles I like to dance, more so, it’s certain emotional levels I like to go to. The dance, or character, I am, I want it to be very emotionally invested. I want to be able to go to the extremes of hope, hatred, horror, sorrow, excitement! I want the audience to tangibly feel what I am feeling. The vulnerability of going all the way inside of an emotion in front of a crowd is the best feeling ever. So the more extreme of an emotional role, the better!”

~Courtney Rice

Richard, well, you all know who HE is, what he’s about to do–appear as John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s acclaimed play “The Crucible” on the stage of no less than the Old Vic Theatre in London.  Some of you will have the golden opportunity to see him perform in person this summer and I can’t wait to hear about your experiences.  Yes, I am still a little envious–but also, I’m extremely excited for Richard, and so happy to know some of those who have followed his career and championed his talent will be there in the audience to lend their support.

His long years of labor and taking whatever jobs came to keep him afloat, driving old beaters, working the front of house, and dreaming of one day having those choice roles–it’s happening now for you, Richard Armitage, and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving artist. For that is what you are, a true artist, not a “celebrity,” someone famous for being famous without having any genuine talent to back it up.  I wish I could give you a big old bear hug right about now and tell you, “Break a leg!”

Courtney is a young woman from my own hometown, a very gifted dancer I once profiled in our annual magazine as a rising star among high school students in our area. Even as a teenager, she had a poise and elegance beyond her years. “She’s like a princess,” someone said. And she was.

I got to watch her perform again recently during her mother’s annual dancer recital, a production that would be ambitious on a big city stage, let alone in a small town of less than 8,000 people. She and her sister Cory flew in for the weekend to assist with and perform in the two-night event.  The talented teenager has blossomed into an even better, more refined performer after four years of dance training at university.

Courtney made the move to New York after college graduation in December. She works in an administrative position with the Gibney Dance Company and serves as a nanny to a nine-year-old youngster in Brooklyn. Courtney is still honing her craft, taking dance lessons and working with a group of fellow choreographers in a collective in the limited amount of spare time she has.  This young woman has a strong work ethic. She’s beautiful and talented and graced with such stage presence; yet she remains that polite, sweet, down-to-earth girl I met years ago who calls me “Miss Angie” and gives warm hugs.  Remind you of anyone?

I wish I had stills–better yet, I wish I had the video of her amazing solo to a piece of music from “Harry Potter” I could share with you here, but it’s not ready yet. I told her she sent chills down my spine, but in a very good sort of way.

I hope she gets the breaks and has the career she desires–she’s got the talent and technique, but she’s also got the drive and the passion and it shows in her performances. She’s the real thing, too.

“The vulnerability of going all the way inside of an emotion in front of a crowd is the best feeling ever. So the more extreme of an emotional role, the better!” 

Those words could have easily come from Richard, I think. May he have that “best feeling ever” this weekend and in the weeks to come as he inhabits the complicated role of John Proctor for Old Vic audiences.

Keep on breaking a leg, Courtney and Richard. I’ll be cheering for both of you.  You inspire and amaze me!

 

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