You won’t see Andrea Barrett on the stage when Dance Studio West’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats” takes over the Arts and Culture Centre starting tonight.
But you will see her work in the costumes the cast will be wearing.
Barrett did the wigs for the entire cast and made the costumes for her three family members — husband Carl, son James and daughter Anna — who have roles as some of the Jellicle Cats.
Barrett has been involved in the arts community, behind the scenes, for many years. Most of the time it’s just been as a mom, piecing together costumes for her three children — eldest son Thomas has also performed — for music festival performances.
But she’s also helped out on a larger scale with some of the groups her children are involved with.
Last summer she did the makeup for some of the boys in the Graham Academy’s production of “Jack and the Queenstalk,” and recently she helped out with the Off-Broadway Players’ production of “Chicago.”
“I kind of took care of Roxie’s wig every night. I’d take it home and set it and prep it and get it ready.”
Well her talent with Roxie’s coiffed locks drew the attention of Dance Studio West’s owner, Amy Andrews, who had also seen what Barrett could do with makeup.
So she asked her if she’d help out with “Cats” and style the wigs.
Barrett had never done anything to this level before, but said yes.
Andrews ordered in 18 Halloween-type wigs and told Barrett to do what she could with them.
“I cut the hair and I dyed the hair. And I’ve got wigs everywhere in my house.
“There’s cat hair everywhere — all fake,” she said with a laugh.
And in between styling wigs she’s practising makeup at home in preparation for the four shows. “Cats” will run nightly at 7:30 p.m. from tonight-Saturday and there’s also a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
“I’m having a blast with it,” said Barrett. “It’s really just a fun hobby.”
She said she’s untrained and has picked up what she’s learnt through videos on the internet.
“Thank God for YouTube. With the internet today you can learn just about anything.”
She’s also gotten some advice on how to keep the wigs in place from her sister-in-law, Lindsay Barrett, who is with the Canadian Opera Company.
And she draws on the larger group of volunteers with the show who share and bounce ideas off one another.
“I really love supporting all the local theatre and all those happenings here in Corner Brook,” she said. “Dance Studio West and Off-Broadway Players, they give so much to the community and it’s all volunteer based.
“And I guess it’s a way of doing something behind the scenes because I’m not really interested in being on the stage.”
That’s not to say she hasn’t been on the stage before. Barrett grew up in Plum Point where the opportunities were limited, but after moving to Corner Brook she got involved with musical productions while in high school.
And the arts are in her family as her brothers, Peter Barrett and Michael Barrett, are accomplished opera singers.
“Who knows, maybe one day they’ll get me on stage,” she said.
But for now she’s content to do her part from behind the scene.
“It just helps us all be involved as a full family.