The show must go on

Posted 6/17/11

Barbara Harding was midway through a Friday, May 20 performance as Vera “The Odd Couple, Female Version,” drawing laughs as usual, when she …

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The show must go on


Barbara Harding was midway through a Friday, May 20 performance as Vera “The Odd Couple, Female Version,” drawing laughs as usual, when she tripped on a rug onstage and fell hard, injuring her arm.

A real trooper, Harding, 76, insisted on finishing the show — and received a standing ovation from the audience at the finale. Then she consented to go for medical attention and indeed, the arm was broken. (All the cast piled into the emergency room.) An understudy played the part on Saturday night, but on Sunday, Harding appeared for the final matinee, arm in cast.

Director David Truhler said, “That was her commitment to the other actors, the team and the audience and the love they share amongst themselves. I couldn’t have cared less if we finished the show, I was concerned for her. When we stopped the play the audience stopped. When Barbara insisted on continuing, they applauded. When the show continued they didn’t miss a beat and they gave Barb a well-deserved standing ovation.

“As a human, I can’t create a better experience than that. Yes, I hurt for Barb.... we all do, but she is overwhelmed at the love she has been shown. All the other cast dropped any pretense and rallied around her... That my friends is good “life” not just good theater.”

Harding said she was stricken by the performing bug early. She has a memory of singing and rocking a baby doll at age 3 or 4 while her sister played the piano. And she remembers acting all through school off and on. During the marriage and children (she has five) period in her life, she stayed off the stage, but later returned to that interest.

She has been a medical actor for CU medical school for over 20 years she says, performing as a particular sort of patient for students to practice treating and now that Rocky Vista University, an osteopathic medical school has opened in Parker, she has done similar work there.

She has also played in a murder mystery at Dave and Buster’s, she said.

She lived in Littleton for 40 years and moved to Castle Rock about five and a half years ago. A survivor of a cancer about three years ago, she said she had backed off from theater activities. And then — there was an audition call by Front Range Theatre Company for “Odd Couple. Female Version.?” and she was cast.

“It’s a classic role — ‘huh? You talkin’ to me?’”

She added “when you’re not a ditz, it’s fun to play one.” Kim Brandon of Front Range Theatre says “She was hysterical!”

While none of her five children were stagestruck, she’s delighted by a gung-ho granddaughter, who will play a mermaid role in Front Range Theatre’s summer production of “Peter Pan” and is looking forward to drama classes and productions at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch this fall.

Harding will also keep an eye out for another suitable role, we imagine.


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