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Kitsap Voice

Michelle Abad & the Bullying Resistance

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Posted August 08, 2018 | Beth Wilson

Michelle Abad and the Bullying Resistance

Since high school, local actor Michelle Abad has been lighting up the stage across Kitsap, in Seattle, and as far afield as Idaho. Her goal as an actor is to draw her audience out of their day-to-day worries and into a story. “If I can get them involved emotionally, I’ve done my job,” she says.

Like her hero, Broadway performer Audra McDonald, Michelle has played the beggar woman in Sweeney Todd, Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel, and Sharon in Master Class, among others. With professional opera training, her big voice makes her a natural fit for a wide range of musical roles.

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Her performance as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is one of her favorites. “I love playing her because she’s so politically aware. She’s very precocious. She’s the youngest speller but she’s very, very aware of what’s going on around her, and I love that.”

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Another show that stands out for her is Shrek the Musical. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be in this show three times, both in a professional setting and a nonprofessional setting, and I will do that show no matter what.” Like the movie, the musical focuses on the message that you can’t judge a person by their outer looks. “They have a song called Freak Flag, that’s just telling people to let your freak flag fly. Be who you are. And I love that message. That’s the whole reason why I do it so much.”

The role Michelle looks forward to playing? “Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. I love that part. I love what she stands for in that show,” Michelle says. “She doesn’t see why everybody can’t be treated the same no matter what you look like.”

A passion for helping others realize their own potential is one reason that Michelle has taught classes for young people through Bainbridge Performing Arts, and it’s also why she teaches private music lessons. For her students, who range from teens to adults, she offers more than voice instruction. “I always ask every day when my students walk in, ‘How are you doing? How was your week?’ And a lot of the time, what I hear about is bullying.”

According to StopBullying.gov, bullying is aggressive behavior that involves using physical, emotional or social power to intimidate, control or hurt others. Whether someone has been physically or verbally attacked, socially ostracized or threatened, the damage can be devastating, and permanent. "No one should feel like they are alone,” Michelle says. And while she always provides her students with a kind, listening ear, it isn’t enough for her. “That’s why I’m doing a bullying resistance cabaret.”

She and a cast of 27 performers will be taking to the Bainbridge Performing Arts stage to raise money to fund bullying resistance resources here in Kitsap County. The show, “Anti-Bullying Cabaret: We Are Here,” will be led by Musical Director Reece Sauvé and Choreographer Heather Dawson.

The performance takes place on Friday, September 7, at 7:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to pay what they can, knowing that their contributions will make our community a safer, more inclusive place for everyone.

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