In The Pipeline: More than monkeying around on stage

March 09, 2011|By Chris Epting

It's a role sure to make other singer-dancers green with envy, that of Chistery, the head flying monkey in the musical smash hit "Wicked."

But for a young performer who lived in Huntington Beach, it's all part of a soaring career that also included a recent stint with the national company of another hit musical, "Cats."

KC Fredericks lived in Huntington Harbour while attending Orange Coast College just a couple of years ago, so when "Wicked" opens this week at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, it will be a homecoming of sorts.

"Oh, I'm sure a lot of my HB friends will be showing up for this," he said recently while on the road with the show in Texas. "I'm not sure it's just me, though, they're coming to see. 'Wicked' brings people out no matter what. But either way, getting the guest list together is going to be a challenge. A lot of people!"


While living here, Fredericks maintained a busy schedule singing, dancing and giving dance lessons. And he was already highly accomplished, having competed regionally and nationally, earning him the titles of Mr. Teen Dance America, Mr. Dance USA and Mr. Global Dance. He also earned numerous scholarships allowing him to train at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in New York.

But living here was special.

"I loved living in HB," he said. "It's such a peaceful place. I always felt like I could escape from all of the craziness of performing when I got back to my home in Huntington Beach."

I wondered if it's easier or tougher to perform when you know a lot of people in the audience.

"I prefer having people there I know, friends and family," Fredericks said. "It makes the show that much more special for me. When I don't know anyone out there, it's still great; there's a high level you always maintain on stage. But there's an extra jolt of energy with friends and family in the house. I'm constantly thinking, 'How are they enjoying the show?'"

While living in Huntington Beach, Fredericks would see shows in the same hall where he'll be performing in "Wicked."

"I saw the National Ballet of China there, 'Sweet Charity' and a few other things, as I remember," he said. "And I also performed there once before in 'Cats.' It's an amazing theater, just stunning. And what's interesting, this is the only theater where I've ever seen a show as a spectator and have also performed in before. So that's special too."

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