News Column

Hammond rediscovers love for musical theater

July 6, 2014

By Derrick Miller, The Duncan Banner, Okla.



July 06--DUNCAN -- For someone planning a career in law, Reavis Hammond got his first taste of law school from an unexpected source.

Hammond, a 2012 graduate of Duncan High School and a business major at Oklahoma State University, performed in the Stillwater production of "Legally Blonde: The Musical," based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film staring Reese Witherspoon.

"I took a huge leap of faith," Hammond said about auditioning for the production. "I hadn't been involved in the Stillwater community theater. I had a really good audition."

Hammond, 21, first got his taste for musicals when he did "The Music Man" in February 2012 for Duncan Little Theatre. The experience was a positive one and led him to his second musical in the summer of 2013.

That time, he did "Hairspray" in Enid, but was disappointed that the cast hadn't clicked like the one in "The Music Man," and the drive had made rehearsals more difficult for him.

He decided to give musical theater another try and auditioned for "Legally Blonde: The Musical," despite not knowing other people in Stillwater's musical circuit. But his concerns were put at ease when he found the chosen cast members got along well and spent time together outside rehearsals.

Hammond was cast as Warner Huntington III, one of the four main cast members. In the play, the character Elle Woods (played by Carley Dickey) enrolls in Harvard Law School in an attempt to win back her ex-boyfriend, Hammond's role. The show was directed by Cody Whittenburg.

Of the people around Hammond's age, he was the only person not majoring in music.

Five of the 35 cast members were part of the OSU Chorale Honor Choir. Those members encouraged Hammond to audition for the choir. He made Bass 2.

That honor is just another thing he owes to his latest musical, which ended its run June 29.

"I didn't know how good the talent would be," Hammond said. "Everyone was so good."

As he toyed with the idea of auditioning for "Legally Blonde," Hammond sought advice from Duncan Little Theatre veterans Gina Flesher (president of the DLT board) and Sharon Burum (vice president of the DLT board).

Flesher's daughter Danielle Flesher, who grew up in DLT, performed in a production of "Legally Blonde: The Musical," which Hammond considered himself fortunate enough to see. Burum knew many of the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association members involved in the production, which provided him with a step in the right direction.

After he made the cast, he said he was a bit intimidated by the talent of his peers. But cast member personalities made his experience enjoyable.

"We all enjoyed being around each other," Hammond said. "Every day, I was looking forward to rehearsals. I wouldn't have met them if I hadn't auditioned. It's definitely easier to do something if you look forward to doing it."

And "Legally Blonde" was a success for Stillwater's community group. The second week of the show sold out, making it one of the group's most successful productions. He said people were asking the theater company to add another performance, but cast obligations and schedules made it impossible, he said. The cast participated in a total of 10 performances.

Hammond said he's looking forward to another production in the summer of 2015, although he doesn't know what it will be yet. He said he doesn't want to do theater professionally, but enjoys it as a hobby.

"I love it," Hammond said. "I grew up playing sports. My parents didn't know I was interested in singing and dancing. If they had, I probably would have gotten some training."

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(c)2014 The Duncan Banner (Duncan, Okla.)

Visit The Duncan Banner (Duncan, Okla.) at www.duncanbanner.com

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Source: Duncan Banner (OK)


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