Pizzazz and spice

Performer balances career, theater

Bridget Pearson, photography by Ellie Bogue

Bridget Pearson, photography by Ellie Bogue

Although born in Wells County, Bridget Pearson has called Fort Wayne home since she was 5 years old. But her family’s roots in that area proved fortuitous. It was at the Pizzazz School of Performing Arts in Bluffton that she was to find her passion for the stage.

“I started there when I was 5 and took voice lessons, but even more so than that I began learning how to perform, to be on a stage, learning the technical side of performance.”

She continued with lessons there through her high school years at Homestead, where she participated in show choir and in plays under the direction of Ed Koczergo.

“I had a great drama teacher, and we did some great shows. He really pushed the envelope, and we did some really fun things when I was there. Then I continued on at Ball State with the Ball State University Singers.”

After graduating from Ball State, Pearson took stock of what she wanted and knew she needed to focus on her career. Now an account manager at One Lucky Guitar, she took a three-year hiatus from performing. But she felt the pull to return.

“My first play after that break was in 2010, ‘White Christmas’ at the Civic. As soon as I got involved in that, I caught the bug again and knew I had to stay active in community theater. There are so many awesome opportunities here, with so many great theaters. It’s an honor to be part of that.”

Those opportunities have included “Chicago,” “Gypsy,” “Will Rogers’ Follies” and, this past summer, “Les Miserables.” She says she loves the precision of Fosse choreography, making “Chicago” a particularly exciting experience for her, and her dancing in both “Chicago” and “Gypsy” earned her a coveted Anthony Award. Balancing her love of performing with work has proven more challenging than her school days, but she has made it work, thanks in part to her boss at OLG, Matt Kelley.

“I love performing, but I’m devoted to One Lucky Guitar, too, and I never do two shows in a row. After two or three months in rehearsals and performances, I need to focus on my work for a while. But after a few months, I start wanting to be part of that again, and I’m very lucky that Matt understands if I have to leave early to get into costumes and makeup. Everyone here is so supportive.

“It’s just part of who I am. I can’t imagine not doing some kind of singing and performance because it’s part of my identity. I like my career, and I enjoy what I do – but performing just provides that little bit of spice.”

First appeared in the January 2014 issue of Fort Wayne Monthly.

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