Never Underestimate the Power of a Student Matinee

Coloradan Christy Oberndorf is proudly touring the country with Hairspray, and it all started when her elementary school took a trip to the former Country Dinner Playhouse to see Frosty the Snowman. Christy grew up in Aurora, Colorado and did not come from a family of performers, so it really was a student matinee that introduced all of them to theatre. Her parents are now even DCPA subscribers!

Christy Oberndorf teaches a masterclass at Grandview High School, 2024

“I remember I was absolutely smitten. I went home, and I told my mom that I have to do this,” Christy remarks as she notes that she comes from more of a sports family. She thinks her mom just thought she was excited because she saw something different. “I begged her for a whole year, and she finally let me audition.”

A star is born.

Christy was cast in Tiny Thumbelina at Country Dinner Playhouse when she caught the acting bug, but it was the DCPA’s production of A Christmas Carol that sealed the deal that she wanted to make this a career. Christy played Belinda in 2008 and said, “That was really life changing for me because it was my first real professional big gig.” Christy also took classes with DCPA Education. “I did summer classes with [DCPA Education Executive Director] Allison Watrous. I learned so much from her and the other teachers. They were memorable classes to me.” She also studied with Alann Worley and Paul Dwyer of Denver’s Academy of Theatre Arts and did theatre in high school at Grandview with Brianna Lindahl and Darin Drown. Christy went on to study at the University of Northern Colorado and began working at Boulder Dinner Theatre. Her breakout performances at BDT Stage earned her a True West Award.

(l-r) Max Schwartz, Leslie Alexander, Christy Oberndorf in the Denver Center Theatre Company’s production of A Christmas Carol (2008). Photo by Terry Shapiro

She had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing the national anthem at the November 26 Denver Broncos game when she was in town to promote the upcoming engagement of Hairspray. When in town she said, “the arts are a huge part of what makes Denver special. I think it’s really important to invest in that community.” Christy is living proof of this from sitting in that student matinee to the 50-yard line. “I love Colorado, I love Denver and I just feel so grateful to have gotten that opportunity,” said Christy. “It was something I’ll never forget.”

You can welcome Christy back home when Hairspray plays The Buell March 5-10. “I think it’s a powerful message about inclusivity, being kind and reaching out to other people. People are standing up, dancing, clapping and having the time of their lives… it brings so much joy to audiences. I would not want anyone to miss it.”