Randy Scholz (Steven Kodaly) and Taryn Darr (Ilona Ritter) star in “She Loves Me,” which was canceled with two weeks left because of the coronavirus. (Tracy Martin/ Village Theatre)

Randy Scholz (Steven Kodaly) and Taryn Darr (Ilona Ritter) star in “She Loves Me,” which was canceled with two weeks left because of the coronavirus. (Tracy Martin/ Village Theatre)

A Village Theatre veteran sees a piece of her disappear

Taryn Darr, who has been with the company for 20 years, misses performing in front of Everett audiences.

Village Theatre actress Taryn Darr misses the audiences at the Everett Performing Arts Center.

Three musicals from Village Theatre’s 2019-2020 season had to be canceled because of the pandemic. This includes all performances of “Hansel & Gretl & Heidi & Günter” and “The Wedding Singer,” as well as the last two weeks of “She Loves Me.”

Darr, of Seattle, was playing Ilona in “She Loves Me” when COVID-19 hit. The musical that inspired the film “You’ve Got Mail” had been scheduled to run Feb. 28 through March 22 at the Everett Performing Arts Center.

But then the musical was postponed — and then the last 15 or so shows canceled — as Washington shut down to slow the spread of the virus.

“My mom asked me what it was like,” Darr said. “I told her, ‘You know that scene in ‘Back to the Future’ when Marty McFly is playing guitar and his hand starts to disappear? That’s what it felt like. It was like watching it all twinkle and fade into starlight.’”

“She Loves Me” is based on the play “Parfumerie.” Perfumery shop clerks Amalia and Georg have never quite seen eye to eye, but what they don’t know is that they have already fallen in love — as “lonely hearts” pen pals.

In addition to “She Loves Me,” “Parfumerie” also inspired the movies “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940), starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, “In the Good Old Summertime” (1949), with Judy Garland and Van Johnson, and, of course, “You’ve Got Mail” (1998), starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The last showing of “She Loves Me” was March 8. Darr vividly remembers that performance. Right before she took her bow, she was thinking about how much she didn’t want that show to be her last. She didn’t want “She Loves Me” to be cut short because of the coronavirus.

Darr, who also has performed with 5th Avenue Theatre and Seattle Children’s Theatre, said she wasn’t done yet playing Ilona — that she wanted more time in the show’s perfumery shop. When the cast met at the Everett Performing Arts Center to pick up their belongings left in the dressing rooms, she stopped to take a photo of the ghost light — left on the stage so that the theater never goes dark.

“I looked at the set with the ghost light shining on it, and I just cried,” she said. “I was just so sad. I’ve missed a show due to illness, I got injured once and missed the rest of a performance, but it’s never just stopped like that. It was a bummer not to have the closure.”

Darr, who holds a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of Washington, has performed with Village Theatre for 20 years.

Most notably, she played Sandy in 2000’s “Grease, starred as Nellie in 2004’s “South Pacific,” was Roxie in “Chicago” in 2013, and Maggie in the Village original “The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes” in 2018. She also played that role in the Festival of New Musicals in 2013.

Darr was cast as Linda in “The Wedding Singer” before it was canceled.

Associate Artistic Director Brandon Ivie called Darr a triple threat because she sings, dances and acts. Make that a quadruple threat, he said — she has crack comedic timing.

“I love working with Taryn because she is so technical and scientific about her comedy. We share that,” Ivie said. “I have so much fun working through bits with Taryn. She’ll say, ‘Is it funnier if I go walk, walk, look, or if I go walk, walk, walk, look? How many steps should I take?’

“And then I’ll watch and maybe say, ‘I actually think it’s funniest if you walk, walk, walk, pause, look’ — and she’ll smile and we’ve found this great little piece of gold together.”

Without stage performance, Darr is doing what she can to get back into working with kids. (Darr served as a director or choreographer for Village Theatre’s KidStage for about five years.) She also teaches drama at Seattle-area high schools and will choreograph and direct their plays and musicals. Locally, she’s worked with Kamiak High School in Mukilteo for the past four years. If COVID-19 doesn’t put a stop to it, she’ll work with Bishop Blanchet High School in Seattle this fall.

“I’ve done a few things online since then — yes, I want to be artistic and share those things — but it’s just not the same,” Darr said. “Not even close.”

She recorded “Musical Theater Mishaps” videos for Village Theatre’s blog, in which she tells about the mistakes she’s made on stage. She had fun with it — but for her it just wasn’t the same as performing in front of a live audience. Especially Village Theatre’s Everett audiences.

“The audience is part of the production,” Darr said. “They’re the last element you add, and the best element you add, because they change and shape the show in ways that you’d never imagine. They end up laughing at things you didn’t even think were funny and they don’t even chitter at a joke you worked at so hard.”

Talk to us

More in Life

It only takes a small amount of cash to build a homemade swamp cooler to make your home comfortable this summer. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Can a do-it-yourself swamp cooler beat the August heat?

Instead of spending $400 for an air conditioner, purchase $25 of simple parts and assemble one yourself.

Oslo’s City Hall, with stirring murals and art that depict Norway’s history. (Rick Steves, Rick Steves’ Europe)
Rick Steves on Oslo, the polar opposite of ‘Big Box’ culture

The Norwegian capital city is expensive, but its charm and civility are priceless.

Also known as Rose of Sharon, hibiscus is a hardy shrub is one of the few that blooms in the late summer. (Nicole Phillips)
Hibiscus will bring a tropical look to your August garden

Also known as Rose of Sharon, the hardy shrub is one of the few that blooms in the late summer.

Dave Dodge stands on a speaker while playing his guitar during Nite Wave’s show at Tony V’s Garage on Saturday, June 8, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Curtain falls on Tony V’s in Everett — at least for now

The nightspot was hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic. It might reopen when the county hits Phase 4 of the state reopening plan.

Lennon Wiltbank’s art adorns an abandoned, soon-to-be-demolished home and spreads joy in her neighborhood.
For this Bothell artist, ‘happiness is flowers’

Lennon Wiltbank’s art adorns an abandoned, soon-to-be-demolished home and spreads joy in her neighborhood.

Glacier Lanes won’t be spared: Owners decide to close forever

Bowlers statewide are rallying to open venues shut by COVID rules, but this Everett business isn’t waiting.

Practice the art of doing nothing to nurture inner peace

It’s the ability to sit, listen to the sounds of nature, look at nothing in particular, and just be.

Rich Davis works on finishing the deck of his home in Mukilteo on June 11. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Mukilteo man’s pandemic project: A 500-square-foot deck

Rich Davis had never built anything before, but the shutdown left him with ample time to learn a new skill.

The Sauk River rushes by near a popular boat launch area close to White Chuck Mountain off the Mountain Loop Highway, just outside of Darrington. (Daniella Beccaria / Herald file)
Outdoors classes and activities around Snohomish County

Some of the events listed here are contingent on whether each jurisdiction… Continue reading

Most Read