2004-07-23 / Front Page

Local Actress Gets A Big Break in The King and I

By Carrie Jones

Nancy Sturgis shows off her newly-shortened cast.
Nancy Sturgis shows off her newly-shortened cast. Never tell local actress Nancy Sturgis to break a leg. She’s already been there, done that.

“This is my greatest theatrical experience. I wish I could have finished it on two legs,” Sturgis said of her sold-out July 17 performance in Rockaway Theater Company’s The King and I .

A thunderstorm pounded outside, reminding Sturgis of a night in 2002 when a young actor was electrocuted on stage.

“I was watching the rain and the lightening. I was nervous,” she said. “[But] I never thought this would happen!”

While running off the stage in a dramatic scene, Sturgis slid on the slick surface and landed in front of the stage entrance, in extreme pain, with no idea that her leg was broken.

Sturgis credits her character’s (Lady Anna Loenowen) period costume with limiting her injury.

“I think my hoop skirt broke my fall,” she admits.

A needed costume change took place in the dark, off-stage, right after the fall with the help of other cast members.

“I felt it was my responsibility [to finish the show]” she said.

“I wanted the audience to leave satisfied.”

That attitude (and the effects of shock) carried her through the final few scenes.

“I sat on the floor and sang [for the final scene], surrounded by all the children [in the scene]. I could only see white faces and outlines [because of the shock]. Their little faces brought me back,” she said. Her own children were in the scene, and when she was taken to Peninsula Hospital after final curtain, they were “hysterical.”

Now that her cast has been cut back from her hip to below her knee, Sturgis is looking to the future.

“I’m very motivated to finish the run,” she said.

“I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to dance. That is definitely the highlight for me.”

Sturgis will be back on stage July 22, “hopefully with a minimal use of crutches” she said with a laugh.

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