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Kalyn West is a household name in Weber State University’s theater community. West said she hopes to make it big in the Big Apple,
too. At WSU, she has had the opportunity to do it all, and she’s taken advantage of every opportunity that’s been pitched her way.
While musical theater students are expected to become “triple threats” in acting, singing and dancing, not all of them can reach the same level of prowess in each of those areas. West was already known as a dancer and honed her acting and singing acumen up to the same level as her already-existing dance skills.
“I got to do everything,” West said. “I’m a very versatile theater participant . . . I want to say thank you to the professors of the department for believing in me and giving me an abundance of opportunity. They’ve allowed me to grow and explore.”
Recently, West choreographed a number in the “Comedy of Oedipus.” But West is best known for some standout/breakout roles: Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet” and her double role in “Under Construction.” Many associate her with her publicity shot for that show, in which she posed as the lady in the red dress.
She also featured in WSU’s “Peter Pan,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “Charm” (as two characters), “Spelling Bee” and “Anything Goes,” in which she played Reno Sweeey, which she said was a blast. She also recently appeared in some one-acts — ”Flowers for Algernon,” in which she played Alice, and “Never Wonderland,” a student-generated piece in which she played “Girl,” a character a bit on the nasty side.
West has also played in a number of off-campus productions, including “Reefer Madness” with Dark Horse Theater, “Saturday’s Voyeur” (for which City Weekly awarded her “Best Individual Performance) and “Click, Clack, Moo” at the Salt Lake Acting Company. At the Salt Lake City Rose Wagner Theater, she was in “Plan B” as well as “Third Crossings,” in which she played Sally Hemmings, whom she said her anthropological background allowed her to go to greater depths to portray. Additionally, she played Mimi in “Rent” at the Utah Repertory Theater and a role in “Hair” at the Egyptian Theater in Park City. West said she particularly enjoyed working on that show.
“It (‘Hair’) is really a tribal piece,” she said. “All are equal — there’s this subculture full of love, growth, strength, beauty. It was a moving piece of theater to be a part of.”
Unable to commit to loving one role in particular that she has played, West said, “I gain something from every character I play . . . I can honestly find something to love regarding every character I’ve played. They all challenged me, stretched me.”
As the first person in her household to graduate, West, who was essentially raised by her mother, said she feels proud to have led the way in that regard in her family. She said her double major in musical theater and anthropology highly informs her work.
West said she developed discipline early on from high school because she learned the hard way that she had a tendency to over-commit herself, and the arising problems from that left her vowing to never let that happen again.
“I would not survive if I didn’t block out my time half hour to half hour,” West said.
West said she has plans to storm the Big Apple within a year or so. It does require some planning. She has mentors there whom she met mostly during her experience doing off-campus work.
West said she intends to stay in touch with her theater professors here.
“I want to do them proud . . . Weber State is a well-kept secret (for theater studies), a diamond in the rough,” she said. “It’s developing a reputation for developing well-rounded artists . . . I’m so grateful. I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything.”