She’s starred on Broadway as Elphaba in Wicked, performed live at the Tony Awards, and even sang for President Barack Obama. But there’s one thing Christine Dwyer ’07 hadn’t done until this week—and that’s star in a show at The Bushnell in Hartford. Dwyer is performing at the Bushnell through August 6, as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in the national tour of Finding Neverland, a musical about author J.M. Barrie’s close relationship with Davies and her young sons, which inspired him to write Peter Pan.
Dwyer says she remembers selling merchandise in The Bushnell lobby for Miss Saigon, The Lion King, and Wicked, to earn extra money when she was a music theatre student at the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School. She even remembers sneaking backstage and dreaming about performing there.
“It’s so much fun to able to tell this story in a place that was my home for four years," says Dwyer, who also starred in national tours of Wicked and Rent. “I’m really excited to come back to Hartford. It feels like I’m coming home again. It’s just such an amazing experience.”
Dwyer credits Kristin Huffman, a vocal teacher in Hartt’s music theatre division, with changing her life when she first arrived at Hartt. “I was kind of all over the place and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my career. I was nervous and I didn’t think I was good enough and I didn’t think my voice was big enough to play the roles I wanted to play. She worked with me really hard on changing my range.” Dwyer says Huffman stretched her voice in ways she didn’t think possible and that instruction is the reason why she was even able to attempt to play Elphaba.
She says Hartt alums walk into auditions and have the confidence to be who they are. “Hartt faculty turns out unique performers who have a sense of self that other recently graduated college kids don’t have.”
Although on tour with Finding Neverland at least through the end of the year, Dwyer says she continues to audition and would like to originate a role in a brand new Broadway show. She did her first feature film, 200 Hours, last summer and enjoyed working in front of the camera so much that she is not ruling out television roles in her future. But for now, Dwyer is looking forward to playing Sylvia at the tour’s next stop in Boston, near her hometown of Lynnfield, Mass. “There’s something for everyone in this musical. It’s a beautiful story about friendships and changing each other’s lives.”