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Triathletes Carl Barrett and Aubrey Saunders put aside the bikes and running shoes in favour of roles in this year’s ‘Chicago’

Carl Barrett and Aubrey Saunders are well-known in the sports community. Trying community theatre, however, is relatively new.
Carl Barrett (left) and Aubrey Saunders are well-known in the sports community. Trying community theatre, however, is relatively new. - Submitted

By Sam Westcott

Special to The Western Star

Some may say an old dog can’t learn a new trick, but Corner Brook triathletes Aubrey Saunders and Carl Barrett are certainly putting that adage to the test, and looking to their daughters for inspiration.

Saunders and Barrett both recently made the decision to sing and act in this year’s production of “Chicago.” The musical runs Nov. 16-18 at the Corner Brook Arts and Culture Centre.

For Saunders, this will be his second year in a row putting the bike on the rack in favour of the dancing shoes, but it will be Barrett’s first.

For someone about to plunge into new waters for the first time, Barrett says he isn’t too nervous about having to get up there and perform come the 16th. One reason for this could be the fact that both men are looking to their kids for support.

“I got involved because two of my children are involved, and they do a lot of musical theatre and a lot of performing,” Barrett said. “It was a way to spend more time with them, and to get involved with something they’re involved with, thinking it would be fun. But it’s turned out that I really love it.”

Saunders, too, points to his wife and kids as inspiration for getting involved with musical theatre.

“Having seen my children take music lessons and perform, going to the traditional Christmas concerts, I thought if there was ever an opportunity where I got to be onstage with my daughter (Kate), I’d jump at the chance” says Saunders.

Saunders admits he has sought out his daughter’s help after dance classes to ensure he can learn the proper moves in time for “Chicago.”

He jokes that without any formal training in acting, dancing or singing between the two of them, he and Barrett are now practising out of fear.

“We’re trying our hardest to just hang on,” Saunders said.

Despite the lack of experience, the two admit their training in triathlons has carried over a little bit to the stage.

Both men point to the physical endurance they’ve built up as a benefit to their work at the theatre.

Saunders says, however, the world of musical theatre is a completely different realm than the one of high-intensity cardio-based sports. Singing, acting and dancing are functioning as a brand new trilogy of challenges for the athletes to try to master.

Both men are quick to recommend the experience to anyone else.

“Dive right in and don’t just try it for two weeks, give it six or eight weeks, or a full (show),” Saunders said.

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