DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - She was America’s darling over four decades ago when she brought home eight Olympic gold medals for her spectacular gymnastic skills. Today, at almost 60, the still flexible and athletic Cathy Rigby continues to charm audiences this time from the stage. She once again dons the green tights to become Peter Pan, a role she received a Tony nomination for when she debuted on Broadway 20 years after her Olympic fame.
Rigby credits her years of physical and mental training as the reason she can still play eight shows a week starring as the young boy who never grew up. She has to “crow” (aka sing) and dance and, most impressively, fly!! In the Music Hall at Fair Park–where she last performed the role in 2005–she literally takes off from the massive stage and flies about 20 rows into the orchestra section surprising the audience by sprinkling fairy dust! She told me she also enjoys sprinkling a little on the band and conductor some nights when her mischievous side comes out. During some performances, they wear hats or hoods to protect themselves!!
It’s not enough that she sings, dances, crows, flies and acts. Cathy is also co-producer of the touring production, along with her husband, which is traveling across the country and hopefully to China next year! She made sure to mention she will officially be 60 at the end of this year and, to her knowledge, the famed original Peter Pan–Mary Martin–only played the role until she was 54.
Cathy just never slows down! She is an excellent example of discipline, staying fit, engaged, motivated and finding a passion! She said in grade school she could barely read a book report out loud to the class. Now, after so many years in the lime light, hear her crow! She defies age and says she refuses to believe you cannot do anything your heart tells you to do! A great role model not only for future Olympians, but future thespians as well!
Peter Pan continues as part of our Dallas Summer Musicals through July 22 at the Music Hall at Fair Park.