Waldroup, Norling excited for their first lead roles as Bearden starts prep for ‘Crazy for You’


Abigail Waldroup (left) and Rylee Norling (right) run lines with Ben Barber. All three will have lead roles in Bearden’s production of “Crazy for You.”

Megan Armstrong, Staff Writer

In theatre, most people pay attention to what is right in front of them – the characters, the sets, the special effects, their favorite musical numbers – but they don’t often think about where the actor came from and how they got to that point. 

Seniors Abigail Waldroup and Rylee Norling have dedicated so much time and effort to theatre, and it clearly shows. Waldroup and Norling were both recently named to lead roles in Bearden’s November production of Crazy for You.

Norling will play Irene Roth, fiancée of the main character Bobby. Roth is a society debutante and is known as petty and mean. Norling admits that her previous roles have definitely helped her prepare for this role.

“My characters have always been kind of mean,” Norling said. “So I’ve definitely had the experience of having the rude, prissy characters before because I have done other theatre in community shows and been the mean characters, so I’ve definitely led up to this one.” 

Waldroup will play Polly Baker, a stubborn and hard-headed All-American girl. 

Building both of their characters will need a lot of time and effort, but their past experiences have helped them tremendously along the way.

Norling was a part of many shows even before stepping foot on stage in Bearden theatre.

“I have done community theater with Primary Players down in Maryville since 5th grade,” Norling said. “I did about 7-8 shows with them before I got into high school.” 

Waldroup has two parents who grew up surrounded by song, have both sung professionally, and have contributed to her loving heart for theatre. 

“I started singing when I was super little,” Waldroup said. “My mother is now a voice teacher, and I am able to teach voice some.” 

Waldroup could not believe it when she realized she would have such a big role in the show. In fact, it somewhat interrupted her day.

“I was actually in a church service, and I had to walk out of it because I was crying,” Waldroup said.

Norling was just sitting around the dinner table with her family when she got the news, and she was ecstatic.

Norling made her Bearden theatre debut last year as an ensemble member in Anything Goes. Stepping up into a principal role has definitely been a challenge, but she is proud of the progress she has made.

“I just have more confidence in myself, and I feel like I’ve definitely grown a lot,” Norling said.  “It makes me feel good to look back at where I was last year to see how much I’ve grown and to be able to help other people grow just as much this year.”

Waldroup was an ensemble member for Oklahoma, a reporter and ensemble member for Anything Goes, and Nausicaa, the princess of the Phaeacians, in The Odyssey.

She understands the significance of the role she now has.

“We are the example for the entire theatre community in this area because we are the top school for theatre,” Waldroup said. “It’s a huge responsibility – inside and outside the school. We have to be on top of our game. Running lines, getting things done. But it is so worth it.” 

Performances of Crazy For You will be on Nov. 7, 9, and 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available soon at beardentheatre.com.