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Teen takes role as playmaker

October 27, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

WILLIAMSPORT - Four years ago, Brett Rowland had to decide between playing sports or taking a spot in the Williamsport High School production of the musical "Les Miserables."

Now, the 16-year-old is preparing to play several roles in the Potomac Playmakers' version of "Cinderella."

He has "flown" in a stage production of "Peter Pan," played the part of a clock in "Beauty and the Beast" and dreams of some day being the lead in a Broadway performance.

Brett got his start at the age of 4, when he played Tiny Tim in the Playmakers production of "A Christmas Carol." It helped that his mother was the director.

"He came with me to all of the practices, and it was kind of expected," Cinnamon Rowland said.

Twenty shows later, Brett wants to attend Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., or the University of Maryland to study musical theater. The high school junior is enrolled in show choir and music theory classes, and plans to take music theater next semester, he said.

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"If that doesn't work, it's (the study of) history for me," Brett said. He likes studying world wars and the Civil War.

"There's just something intriguing about them," he said.

But his first love, music, is a family affair.

Cinnamon Rowland teaches music at Emma K. Doub Elementary School and is the assistant director for the show choir, Sophisti'Cats' at Williamsport High. Her aunt, Ruth Ridenour, is the director of the choir and president of Potomac Playmakers.

Brett has sung with the All County Chorus for five years, and in November plans to audition for the All State Chorus.

When he goes into an audition, Brett knows what to do.

"I look at them, smile, and no matter what happens, just keep going," he said.

Brett sings bass, but said he admires the high falsetto voices of singers like Frankie Valli, known for the theme song in the movie "Grease," and rockers from the 1980s, including Pete Townshend of The Who.

Although he has been in a number of musicals, there are a few shows in shich Brett would like a chance to perform. "West Side Story" and "The Producers" are two Broadway shows he loves, he said.

"West Side Story," is "just a great show, they bring gangs into a musical" and "The Producers" because, "it's so funny," he said.

In the spring, Brett hopes to audition for the part of Oliver Warbucks in the WHS production of "Annie."

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