It might not be New York, but for Turlock High School alumna and former Broadway star Julie Connors, the small wooden stage at Dutcher Middle School is equally as grand.
Conners, who graduated THS in 1989, returned to Turlock this week to inspire the next generation of thespians by being a guest teacher at Dutcher Middle School’s summer theatre workshop class for their upcoming production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”
“It’s exciting to be here and share my wisdom with these young students,” said Conners. “’Thoroughly Modern Millie’ is a play that hits close to home for me because it was the first Broadway musical I ever did on stage.”
Conners spent three days with Dutcher students and went over the production’s dance routines, scripts, and songs to give them a boost when they audition for the play this fall.
“We are happy and honored to have Julie teaching our kids,” said play producer Ann Cordell. “She has volunteered her time and energy to be here. Her presence in this workshop will definitely give the kids a boost up for when auditions come around.”
Conners journeyed from the drama department at THS to UCLA and on to Broadway performances including “Never Gonna Dance,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” and The Apple Tree."
“It was during my musical theatre class at THS that ignited a spark within me,” said Connors. “I was a sophomore and had done my first musical called 'The Roar of the Greece Paint, Smell of the Crowd.’ I was sold after that.”
For now, Conners resides in New York and is a full-time mother of two. She plans to return to the spotlight in the future and is considering teaching other young theatre hopefuls.
“I would love to come back to Turlock,” said Conners. “I love being here and teaching the younger crowd. I hope to come back again someday.”
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” will run from Jan. 16-18, 2014, at Dutcher Middle School.