Lifestyles

Senior cherishes last scenes at JBU

Her long curly brown locks bounce up and down as she flits across the stage. Her colorful ball gown sparkles underneath the spotlight and her beautiful smile is visible from any seat in the house.

Laughter and applause fills the audience, but silence falls over the crowd when her voice rings out. This is the voice of fifth year senior Amy Perry or Patience, the lead of John Brown University’s fall operetta and ‘Ellen Deriwold’ in the spring musical “Robin Hood”.

For Perry it took a lot of patience to reach the point of becoming the star of the operetta. Little did she know that she would be a star that would develop a heart for other stars.

“I wouldn’t have been involved with the musical if it weren’t for my passion for celebrities,” said Perry.

“I realized I have a heart for celebrities, but not in a fan girl kind of way,” Perry said. “I hurt for them because I know that they reached the American Dream and they are still lost because they don’t have Christ and then turn to drugs and alcohol.”

Born in Dodge City, Kan. and raised in Siloam Springs, Ark., Perry was far from the Hollywood scene.

“Ever since I was little I have always loved acting, and I always thought it would be fun to go to Hollywood not because of fame, but because I loved movies, character development and acting,” said Perry.

At 11, she was the lead for a Sager Creek Arts Center play and also involved in acting at her church.

Her younger sister Andrea, a junior at the University, was in the play at Sager Creek as well. “I just sat there all cute, and she was one of the lead roles!” said Andrea Perry. “It was the first time I saw her in a stage presence.”

Yet throughout middle school and high school Perry felt that this dream was unrealistic and let it fall on the back burner.

It was not until her family was going to New York the summer before her junior year at John Brown that she was, “smacked so hard with the dream again, but with a completely different mindset,” said Perry.

With this new mindset and compassion for celebrities she changed her major for the fifth and final time to Communication in pursuit of her dream to become a casting director in Los Angeles.

“I realized that I should audition for every single acting opportunity that I have, to be able to build up a good acting résumé,” said Perry.

Previously her experience with the theater department at John Brown had been backstage with three plays and only six lines on stage with the play “The Pink Panther.”

When she heard about “Patience” Perry said, “Opera…are you kidding me? I can’t even stand the music!”

Despite her predisposition about the operetta she auditioned hoping for a backstage or chorus part, but to her surprise she received the lead!

Donna Rollene, the University’s director of music theater/opera, chose Perry for the part.

“I was overjoyed to work with Amy, she is beautiful and earthy,” she said. “I was so happy to see her struggle and get frustrated with the part, because it showed that she could make Patience real.”

Rollene said Perry was able to portray the deeper message of the operetta. Some actors don’t dig deep into their assigned characters, but Perry was not a surface level actor.

“She was transparent, and I liked that about her,” Rollene said.

Without much previous stage experience and an untrained voice Rollene was able to help challenge Perry to help her reach her potential.

“I had never sung that high before, let alone opera!” said Perry.

“My sister did not grow up singing opera, so I was floored when I heard her voice on stage!” Andrea said.

Although this role did not gain attention on a Hollywood scale, Andrea said the role gave her campus attention and helped her gain a better understanding of what stars may feel with the pressure of being in a lead role.

With her future endeavors as a casting director Rollene said, “Whatever Amy does I know she will do well, in failure or success, because she cares and works hard to accomplish her goals.”

Perry is excited to finish her final semester at the University with her role as Ellen Deerweld in “Robin Hood.” She will hold on to the “hope and prayer” to one day be in Los Angeles living out her dream.