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Actress makes encore appearances in Stoneham and Beverly

Kathy St. George

photo/Joe Henson

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Culture Editor

Stoneham/Beverly – Kathy St. George has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, a number of national tours, as well as at Boston-area and out-of-state regional theaters – frequently for encore appearances. This past spring, she returned to her hometown in the musical comedy “Calendar Girls” at Greater Boston Stage Company (formerly known as Stoneham Theatre). She’s returning to North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly from July 10 to 22 in one of her favorite musicals, “Peter Pan.”

“An actor’s job is to find a job,” she noted. “We’re always out there looking for work.”

Her Broadway-bound journey began while working as a second-grade teacher in Stoneham, concurrently performing with Reading’s community theater group Quannapowitt Players. Winning a Best Supporting Actress Award at the 1978 New England Theatre Conference encouraged her to pursue acting work in New York City for two years and become an Equity union actress before returning to teaching in Stoneham. Twelve days later, the production stage manager of the 1981 “Fiddler on the Roof” Broadway revival called, offering her the role of Tevye’s youngest daughter Bielke.

“It was a very difficult decision to leave teaching, but I couldn’t say no,” she relayed. “The next morning, I was at rehearsal with [acclaimed actor] Herschel Bernardi. He swooped me up in his arms and said, ‘My daughter Bielke is here!’”

St. George subsequently toured nationally twice with Bernardi in “Fiddler.” On Broadway again in 1990, she played Tevye’s daughter Shprintze and Grandma Tzeitel in the Tony Award-winning Best Revival production of “Fiddler” starring Golden Globe Award-winning actor Topol, followed by two more national tours.

“It took a few months being on tour for me to really realize how much life can change with one phone call,” she recalled.

After returning to Stoneham in 1991, she continued working steadily on tours and at regional theaters. In 1994, she played the title role of “Peter Pan” at Riverside Theatre in Vero Beach, Fla. She cites the role as her most memorable.

“I love the infectious excitement that Peter brings to every moment,” she said. “It was the single most magnificent theatrical experience of my life.”

St. George has appeared on many stages as the Soap Star in “Menopause the Musical” including Boston’s Stuart Street Theatre in 2004, Stoneham’s Greater Boston Stage Company in 2014 and 2017, several national tours, and at The Vets in Providence this past May. Duplicating a daytime drama diva onstage, St. George draws upon her experience working as Susan Lucci’s stand-in for “All My Children” while in NYC.

“The playwright said she modeled the soap star after Susan Lucci, so I do a bit of that haughty attitude that Susan would put into Erica Kane,” St. George shared. “The character’s songs are about aging and wrinkles – things that every woman can identify with, but shouldn’t dwell on. It’s a privilege to get to older – let’s embrace and celebrate it.”

Among Boston theaters where St. George has worked in multiple shows are Lyric Stage Company, earning the 2007 Best Solo Performance Award from the Independent Reviewers of New England for “And Now Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Judy Garland”; and SpeakEasy Stage Company, capturing recognition for Outstanding Performance by an Actress at the 2012 Elliot Norton Awards for “The Divine Sister.”

Now living in Lakeville, St, George calls Stoneham her “theatrical home.” There, she was born and raised, taught second-graders for five years and continues working gigs regularly.

“Lots of my former students come see me in shows and still call me Miss St. George,” she said. “When I taught them they were 7-year-olds; now they’re in their 40s with children of their own. It’s a joy that they have such happy memories of being in my second-grade classroom.”

St. George played Roz in “9 to 5: the Musical” at North Shore Music Theatre in 2012. Returning to this theater in “Peter Pan,” she’s portraying the maternal Mrs. Darling and the adult Wendy.

“To have played Peter in 1994 and come back as grown-up Wendy and Mrs. Darling is a full-circle moment,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being part of this story with classic songs again, telling this beautiful tale that appeals to children and grown-ups. It’s a magical story.”

For more information about Kathy St. George, visit kathystgeorge.com.

 

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