TADA to raise curtain on 20th season with a tribute to music of Andrew Lloyd Webber
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TADA to raise curtain on 20th season with a tribute to music of Andrew Lloyd Webber

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It's fitting that Judy Anderson is making her return to the TADA Theatre stage for Thursday's season-opening tribute to the works of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Anderson has been with TADA from the outset -- 20 years ago. She's played an integral role in helping Bob and Cris Rook grow the tiny Haymarket theater into a viable and self-sustaining venue for live entertainment in Lincoln.

And in return, TADA helped her to discover a passion for community theater.

"It has been built into a wonderful little theater," said Anderson, an editor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln communications department. "The quality of work is amazing. ... It’s beautiful what they do there. They make the most of what they’ve got and it’s always a quality show.

"You can always count on it."

TADA Productions celebrates 20th anniversary

And Bob Rook has always been able to count on Anderson, who has been in seven previous shows on the TADA stage.

"I jumped at the chance to come back for this one," she said.

"The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber," which will play through Feb. 23, features some of Lincoln's most talented performers singing songs from musicals like "Phantom of the Opera," "Evita," "Cats," "Sunset Boulevard," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," among others.

Besides Anderson, other cast members include Roderick Cotton, Drew Duncan, Megan Ingram, Beth King, John Schnoor and Megan Smith.

"The singers in this show are amazing," Anderson said. "These young people are so talented. You can tell that they have trained voices. It’s pretty amazing the quality of what they do and then you get the songs that tell a story, songs that are great to sing."

Anderson will be singing "With One Look," from the 1991 musical "Sunset Boulevard."

It's a song that fits her, she said. Bob Rook, the show's director, has a knack for finding the right songs for the right person -- and, in this case, blending a number of diverse numbers into one cohesive show.

"He just knows how to make those transitions from one song to another," Anderson said. "He always works them out flawlessly. It's pretty amazing."

Anderson grew up singing with her sisters in south-central Nebraska, but then dropped it when she enrolled at UNL in the 1980s, got married and had children.

She literally found her voice when she began singing in the choir at United Lutheran Church, and then "one thing led to another," Anderson said.

She began singing with a 1940s dance band and then got encouraged by one of her sisters to give musical theater a try.

"My sisters were doing it, and I figured if they could do it, then I could do it," she said. 

It led her to the Rooks and a wonderful friendship filled with plenty of opportunities. In addition, she has done shows for the Lincoln Community Playhouse and the Beatrice Community Players.

Her last role was last spring when she was a member of the cast in Beatrice's production of "Southern Comfort."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7391 or psangimino@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @psangimino

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