Dee Apodaca says she became involved in theater "many moons ago."
"Like most who grace the stage," she says, "once you are 'bit by the bug,' you have a hard time recovering."
She began directing at Lynden High School in 1997, and became drama director at Lynden Christian High School in 2005. Her current production is "Phantom of the Opera," on stage at Lynden Christian High's Worship and Fine Arts Center at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, continuing Feb. 4, 6, 7 and 8.
Question: How did you decide to undertake such a complicated production?
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Answer: Well, I love a good challenge! And I love this story, so the two fit together quite nicely.
My musical director, Ryan Smit, and I had looked into possibly doing this production last year, but decided it would be good to give the students one more year to develop their voices. This is a difficult piece of music with extremely vast vocal ranges and can easily strain an untrained or young voice, so we wanted to proceed with caution. It was a good decision as our singers this year are fabulous!
Q: Who's involved?
A: This has been such a wonderful time of community in producing this show. We have been able to utilize the amazing talents of three Western Washington University students. Nicholas Kim, a double major in theater as well as choral music education, is our set designer and lead artist. Hannah Fenske, a fine arts major, is our props mistress. And Ian McKnight, a theater lighting design major, is our lighting designer. They are a joy to work with and I feel so blessed to have them on our team.
We have also had some gracious support from local businesses; Josh Schmitt with Craftsman Construction and Remodeling built our awesome set, plus Vander Griend Lumber, The Print Stop and Northwest Washington Theatre Group, to name a few, as well as Larry and Brett Murray, who built our beautiful chandelier base.
But we definitely could not have done this without our amazing parents! They have poured in so many, many hours. The show just would not be the same without them.
This is truly a community effort; feels almost more like a Whatcom County show than a Lynden Christian High School show. It is wonderful to see so many different groups come together. We have had lots and lots of laughs and fun moments, to say the least!
Q: What are some "special touches" you added to the production that reflect your faith?
A: I believe the basis for most faiths lies in the good, God, versus the evil, Satan. We, as Christians, believe and hold strongly to the promise of love and eternal heaven promised by God. Every soul, whether a Christian or not, yearns for love.
The Phantom is no different. In his torment of never receiving love he is handicapped on his ability to give it. He is nurtured only in solitude and sadness and grows to become bitter and angry.
Christine is his only solace in life. One of the lines Phantom sings to Christine speaks of himself, "This loathsome gargoyle who burns in hell, but secretly yearns for heaven, secretly, secretly ..." shares the heart of so many who know no God. It is our hope and prayer at Lynden Christian that all will come to know the love that only Christ can bring.
Q: What are some activities and fun things you do outside of theater?
A: I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family (my husband, Mike, and our daughter, Rachael).
We enjoy the beautiful outdoors in the Northwest, biking and swimming. And I love having my two grandchildren close by. I also sing when I can with the Bellingham Chamber Chorale. I recently taught myself to quilt (can scratch that one off my bucket list!), and I love it. I find hand quilting very relaxing.
I love the people of Whatcom County and the closeness of Lynden. I love going to the grocery store or one of our local businesses and always seeing people I know. Our youngest, Rachael, who is actually 19 now, has Down syndrome and Lynden and Lynden Christian schools has been a very loving place for her to grow.