A “Journey” Destined for the Narnia Stage by Barb Schulte

If there is such a thing as destiny, Journey Tupper Ungashick, a blue-eyed blonde 11-year-old from Kansas City, MO, appears to have found hers. This multi-talented young lady who is finishing fifth grade has literally stepped out of her favorite story book to star as precocious little Lucy Pevensie in Starlight Children’s Theatre’s upcoming production of Narnia The Musical.

 

Jill Tupper, Journey’s mother, says she read the book countless times to Journey and her old brother, Izac(now 14), as they grew up in their midtown home. But the adventures of Narnia certainly weren’t relegated to the pages of a book in the Tupper home. Jill re-created a magical world like Narnia in the attic of their home – an old wardrobe was positioned in a doorway to the attic, its back was removed, furs were placed within the wardrobe, and when Journey, Izac and their friends climbed through, they found a room full of costumes where they spent endless hours (and years) playing dress-up and stretching their imaginations.

 

When Journey approached her mother a year and a half ago to let her know that she wanted to start performing, single-mother Jill was encouraging but put the responsibility on Journey to look for opportunities to audition and learn.

 

Her first audition outside of school came last spring when she gave it a go at the Starlight Theatre auditions for Cinderella and The King and I.  She made call backs and although she wasn’t selected, Journey wasn’t deterred. In fact, she was more motivated than ever. After taking an audition class at the Coterie Theatre, she landed the role of “Thing 1” in December’s production of Seussical.

 

Then, she heard that Starlight was planning to stage Narnia The Musical as part of its new children’s theatre series at the Kauffman Center. The audition date was announced as Dec. 17 – and there was nothing (not even mom’s concerns about her stretching her young self too thin) that was going to keep Journey away. As Jill relates, “She told me ‘Mom, I’m going to do it! I’m going to be Lucy!’”

 

I’m sure that 150 other young girls in the room had a similar thought that morning. But Journey’s assertion was spot on. She wowed the director, choreographer, music director and others in the audition room, and now she’s wowing them at rehearsals. We can’t wait to see her in her starring role in nine productions of Narnia The Musical this week!

Starlight’s Narnia The Musical playing at Kauffman Center of Performing Arts April 4th-8th

Reserve your tickets at www.kcstarlight.com