Past Performance (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

I knew him when he was just a bairn. ( a term for child, used in Scotland and Northern England)


Way back 30 years ago at Doherty High School right here in Colorado Springs...there was a production of "The King and I"  

I thought for a time when I was young that  I might want to be an actor..gave it up for lack of real ability after a year of college.  However, I was lucky enough to play the role of The King in "The King and I" when I was a senior at Doherty. (The King really doesn't have to sing very well, which made the role perfect for me)

That show involves lots of kids.  We had about 20 or 25 playing children of The King.  One of my "kids" was even my younger sister.  

The "I" in "The King and I" is a woman from England who goes to Siam to teach the children of The King.  She brings along her own son, Louis.  That part was played, in 1982 at Doherty, by a kid of about 11 or 12 named Cullen Titmas.  He would later go on to be in lots of shows at Doherty when he was a student there years later.  I actually saw him years later as the lead in "Fiddler on the Roof" at Doherty.  I went because my younger sister was starring in it too. The two of them were good friends, performed together many times and stayed in touch.

Fast forward a few decades.

In 2010 Time Magazine called "Billy Elliot" the best musical of the decade. It won 10 Tony Awards and ran for more than three years on Broadway.  It's set in Northern England and still running in London after about 7 years.  

There's also a national tour of Billy Elliot criss-crossing the country right now.  I was in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend to visit relatives and that national tour was playing there.  I went to see it because I really like the show.  I also went to see it because Billy's older brother Tony in that tour is being played by.....Cullen Titmas, the guy I shared a few scenes with 30 years ago at Doherty High School!

We had a chance to chat briefly after a performance.  He says he loves what he's doing, loves the show he's in.    Here he is in Madison (He's on the right)






He has worked very hard on his craft over the years to be good enough to do what he's doing now. It was great to see him performing for a living and doing so well in a show that's so good!

 Check out Cullen's bio from the show here:

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward

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