Adourin Jamelle Owens of Sanford is delighting local theater crowds with his multifaceted performances and a play of his very own
Adourin Jamelle Owens was a scared sixth grader when he mustered up the courage to audition for his first show at the Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center (WDPAC). The youngster was merely hoping to land a small part in the Sanford community theater’s production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR.
“I didn’t know anyone, so I was terrified out of my mind,” says Adourin, who had no theatrical experience outside of a few church plays.
To his surprise, Adourin landed a bigger part – the flashy role of Lumiere – who is front-and-center during the show-stopping song, “Be Our Guest.”
“Ever since that show, it was a done deal – I was never leaving the theater,” Adourin says. “I was in love with it.”
The 21-year-old Sanford native has come a long way since that audition. He participated in musical theater and chorus at Millennium Middle School, and at Seminole High School, he was involved in theater and sang with the Destiny Show Choir and the Gospel Choir. At WDPAC, Adourin went on to perform in a long list of youth and adult productions, gaining confidence with each role – no matter how big or small.
Barb Kellar, a director and stage manager at WDPAC, has worked with Adourin many times. Most recently, she cast him as the lead in Footloose, a musical based on the 1984 hit movie starring Kevin Bacon.
“Adourin is an incredibly talented young man, and he’s just plain nice,” Barb says. “He’s a triple threat and an audience-pleasing performer.”
WDPAC isn’t the only arena in which Adourin has honed his theatrical skills. Church experiences have played a key role in strengthening his singing, acting, and dancing abilities. Growing up, the youngster attended Victory Temple of God, where he performed in plays. Now, Adourin attends Greater Providence Worship Center, where he is heavily involved in the worship arts ministry.
Recently, he took the theater knowledge gleaned from church, school, and WDPAC and applied it to a play of his own, titled Unshakeable Faith. Adourin wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the show, which was staged on October 19 at Millennium Middle.
He began writing the inspirational family drama during his freshman year of high school. The script tackles the important issue of mental illness in youth, featuring a central character who suffers from anxiety and an eating disorder.
“I had no doubt in my mind that this play needed to be seen,” says Adourin, who hopes to have the opportunity to stage the show again.
Currently a student at Valencia College, Adourin has aspirations of becoming a professional singer and actor. Meanwhile, he plans to keep performing in WDPAC adult shows and perhaps direct one of the youth productions.
Adourin has a treasure trove of memories from the shows he has been in at the community theater. One of his all-time favorite roles was starring as the title character in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“With Joseph, I got to tap into my emotional side,” says Adourin, who became teary-eyed every time he sang the show’s moving ballad, “Close Every Door.”
Other shows have required Adourin to challenge himself physically and mentally. For his role as a cheerleader in Bring It On, he found himself standing on top of cheer pyramids and being tossed in the air by his fellow cast members.
“I activated abs that I didn’t even know I had,” he quips. “I will never disrespect cheerleaders again.”
For the show Fame JR., Barb tapped Adourin to fill in when one of the leading actors dropped out a couple of days before the show opened. Adourin had to learn the character’s lines and dance moves in record time. He was touched that the director trusted him to step into the role and do it justice.
“But now, if I slack off and don’t know my lines for a show, Barb gets on me because she knows what I can do,” he says with a laugh.
Ultimately, Adourin would like to combine his passion for singing and acting with his interest in working with children.
“I love to work with youth in the theater,” he says. “In the beginning, they’re nervous. And then by the end, they get on that stage to perform, and you’re like, ‘Where did that voice come from?’ I love watching them grow, mature, and change.”
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