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Apprentice alums add energy to 'Musketeers'

Playhouse apprentice program graduates Jeff Sundheim, Catharine Kay and Michael Luwoye are performing in "The Three Musketeers." Playhouse apprentice program graduates Jeff Sundheim, Catharine Kay and Michael Luwoye are performing in "The Three Musketeers."

 

FLAT ROCK — When Jeff Sundheim auditioned for an apprentice job at the Flat Rock Playhouse in 2012, he knew little about the regional theater.

 


"I saw the compensation was only $50 (a week), and then you meet them and you're like, 'Well, that's worth it,'" he said. "The woman that was our director, Lauren Rogers Hopkins, it's incredible how she was able to quote-unquote sell it, but at the same time it's easy to sell this program because it's an incredible program to be a part of."
Sundheim is part of a "Three Musketeers" cast that blends Playhouse veterans with recent apprentice program graduates, including Catharine Kay, who plays Sabine, and Michael Luwoye, who plays Basille and two other ensemble roles.
The son of a Liberty University football coach, Sundheim was an all-conference punter in high school. Before he committed full-time to theater, he had been a business and communications major at Liberty.
On a whitewater rafting trip last summer, Lisa Bryant, the Playhouse's associate creative director, asked whether he would be free during "The Three Musketeers" run. He took the question as an invitation. He read for the role.
"I just put myself out there, and I went for it kind of deal," he said.
It's not his first lead role. He played Tarzan, which required singing. In "The Three Musketeers," he's on stage for all but three of the 20 scenes, showing physical skill and a natural comic talent.
A reader for the auditions, Kay sat across from the actors and read the female roles.
"I graduated in May so I was available and Lisa liked my work and she said, 'Why don't you audition?' And I said, 'Yes, please.' And then I got the job," she said. She graduated from Shenandoah Conservancy in Virginia.

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