By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
MOUNT CARROLL, Ill. — Judy Knudtson is once again gracing the stage at Timber Lake Playhouse, offering a little motherly advice as Mrs. Paroo in "The Music Man."
"Timber Lake to me is like this magical place in the woods," Judy said. "I love it here."
Judy has always been involved with musical theater and singing in the Madison, Wis., area where she lives, and at Highland Community College in Freeport, Ill. Four years ago, she quit her day job and decided to make acting and singing her full-time career — a dream of hers while she was raising a family.
This is her fourth season as a guest performer at Timber Lake Playhouse. She is currently staying at the Ruby Red Inn in Mount Carroll, Ill., during the four weeks of rehearsals and performances.
Judy is a long-time fan of of theater, particularly musical theater. Whether on the stage or in the audience, it is always an experience she enjoys.
"I like being in a dark theater and watching all the activity on stage," Judy said. "I just like seeing the story develop and how the characters portray their roles."
During the past four years, she has taken part in five productions, including "The Music Man." She performed in "Working" and "Cabaret" last year, "Spitfire Grill" in 2011 and "Steel Magnolias" in 2010.
"I just love performing. I love taking a character and making it my own," Judy said. "I just love the creative process of making and performing a show, musical theater in particular."
"The Music Man" opened Friday and will run until July 14, with an extra evening performance this Sunday. Judy said this musical tells about a small town in Iowa where people learn something about themselves in the end.
"It's a very heartwarming story," Judy said.
Judy will don an Irish brogue as Mrs. Paroo, whom she described as a down-to-earth woman who tells it like it is. Her favorite song in the production is "Till there was you," sung by her character's daughter, Marian. She also enjoys watching the cast in the dance number. "Marian The Librarian."
"They just sparkle on stage," Judy said.