New Zealand Exchange Student is Having a Scary Good Time in Burlington

Champlain Creative Media major, Amy Henwood, is starring in the Lyric Theatre Company’s production of The Addams Family, a New Musical.

Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, where she lives with her Mum, Dad, younger sister, and the family cat, Bella, this vivacious student is on a semester-long exchange program, balancing academics with preparation for a full-scale musical theater production.

When Amy decided she would be coming to Vermont to study at Champlain College, she conducted a search to find theater companies in the area. Lyric Theatre Company appeared at the top of her Google search. She was introduced by International Student Services Director Jessa Karki to Career Coach Pat Boera at Orientation. Jessa was aware of Pat’s involvement with Lyric and connected the two. In early September, Amy auditioned for Lyric’s fall production of The Addams Family, and was cast as an ’80s bride called Cyndi (named for Cyndi Lauper), one of the Addams Ancestors. The ancestors serve as the Greek chorus for the show and, as such, get a lot of stage time. When she was cast, she called her mother at 5:20 AM Auckland time to share the news. The response from Mum: “I’m so proud of you, Amy, but I’m going to bed now.” Amy reports that her Mum will be arriving in Burlington this week to be in the audience for two performances during the run of the show.

Exchange student and Creative Media major, Amy Henwood, was cast as one of the Addams Ancestors. This group of ghouls serve as the Greek chorus for the show.

At home, Amy has taken classes in jazz and contemporary dance as well as some vocal coaching. Most of her training has been through musical theater. She has performed in six musicals, most recently appearing as Lily St. Regis in Annie with the National Youth Theatre Company in Auckland. She participated in Broadway Dreams, an eight-day intensive, in 2018 and 2019, and will join again in 2020. In 2019, Kirsten Scott, a veteran performer with Broadway and off-Broadway credits, also helped Amy connect with the Lyric, since she knew about it from friends in the area. Amy values the important and empowering advice she has received from Kirsten and other high-caliber faculty, who have said, “We all believe in you. Know your self-worth. Each of you is uniquely talented, so show off your unique talent.” Amy keeps these things in mind any time she gets nervous before the start of a show.

Amy’s character is an ’80s bride called Cyndi (named for Cyndi Lauper), one of the Addams Ancestors.

You have to be on top of your game. The process is intense.

Amy Henwood // Creative Media

When asked what she enjoys about her involvement in Lyric’s production, Amy commented, “The Addams Family is a fun show. I am enjoying meeting new people and seeing a different way of running a show. The creative team is amazing.” She finds the experience challenging, and says that Lyric is a more professional group than ones she has worked with before. “You have to be on top of your game. The process is intense. When the choreographer posts dance videos, I instantly log onto YouTube to review the steps.”

Amy is a big fan of American theater with favorite shows being Hadestown, which she “loves, loves, loves!,” Mean Girls, and Matilda, which, coincidentally, is Lyric’s spring 2020 show. When she returns to Auckland, she hopes to be involved with North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Wicked which has been released to amateur theater companies in New Zealand before the show is available here in the US. Amy aspires to return to Vermont someday and participate in another Lyric show. She commented, “I love this little community and have a great appreciation for all of the volunteers.”

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky — and they also sing! This entertaining musical, from the television classic, lights up the stage when Wednesday Addams brings home a young suitor from the outside world.

Lyric Theatre Company’s production of The Addams Family, a New Musical opens on Thursday of this week. The gleefully ghoulish Addams Family—ancestors and all—puts on their macabre best when daughter Wednesday brings home a young suitor from the outside world. The iconic Charles Addams characters come alive for five performances on the Flynn MainStage, November 7–10. For tickets, call 802-86FLYNN or order online at flynntix.org. Come and support this talented exchange student and her fellow cast members who are all community volunteers.  They’re dying to see you!

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