When Variety Kid IV first heard the news that he would be playing Winthrop – a principal character – in Variety Theatre’s upcoming production of The Music Man, he couldn’t quite believe it. Although he dreamed he would one day land a role like this, he wasn’t sure it would be possible due to his speech impediment. But, at Variety, we’re all about making dreams come true, every day.
Being a part of Variety Theatre has greatly increased IV’s confidence in himself. He feels accepted as part of the cast, which has helped him believe in his own abilities and raise his voice.
“I’ve been accepted with my stutter to a point of getting a role I could only have dreamed of,” says IV. “The part of Winthrop has a speech impediment just like I do, which really allows me to open up and be myself on stage instead of playing the role behind a closed shell.”
By building confidence on stage, IV has also become more confident in his everyday life. He used to feel like his challenges with his speech held him back – but not anymore!
“Having a speech impediment often makes me feel held back from accomplishing something big, but getting this part really helped convince me that I am stronger than my struggle,” IV says.
IV’s confidence has increased so much, in fact, that he has since auditioned for a number of other productions throughout the area. And he has landed some pretty big roles!
Throughout the pandemic, Variety’s Performing Arts programs continued to help IV. In the summer of 2020, he was able to join in the virtual fun of Curtain Up Camp. During Camp, he built up his singing, acting and dancing skills, of course, but – most importantly – had the chance to spend time just hanging out with friends old and new.
“My honest opinion was that, if it would be on Zoom, it would be kind of boring. But it was not,” he says. “Curtain Up made it really fun!”
And, last fall, IV still had the chance to perform, albeit not on a typical stage. He appeared in Variety Theatre’s first virtual production, Light the Lights, and was featured in multiple musical numbers as well as an exclusive interview with Lara Teeter, the show’s Tony-nominated director.
IV has truly benefited from being a part of Variety Theatre, whether on stage, through the screen or even beyond the Performing Arts program. But none of this would have been possible without the generosity of so many in the St. Louis community.
Without supporters like you, children with disabilities would not have the chance to raise their voices and dream big through Variety’s innovative Performing Arts programs. Please give today so that more Variety Kids like IV can achieve their Every Day PossAbilities. Donate by May 16 and your gift will be automatically doubled, thanks to a matching grant from the Steward Family Foundation!
Give today to make tomorrow possible at HelpAVarietyKid.org or by calling 314-720-7707. Thank you!