Web Exclusive: Miss Norfolk Returns

Amanda Batcher brings Finding Beauty to Hurrah Players’ Perry Family Theatre

By Montague Gammon III

A brush with tragedy last winter brought New York and Chicago vocalist Amanda Batcher home to Norfolk, were her comatose sister Monica battled multiple organ failure that, according to Batcher, nearly took her life.

Now the ODU grad, Hurrah Player veteran and former Miss Norfolk is coming home again, to share with Hampton Roads audiences her musical performer’s deeply felt, ultimately joyous reaction.

After Monica’s two-month hospital stay, Ms. Batcher returned to New York with a persisting realization of what it would have been like to “miss her every day for the rest of my life!”

Though her sister came through her medical ordeal undamaged, Amanda was dogged by something like depression and a sense of loss, until one day she realized that “I didn’t lose her.”

Batcher describes the feeling as being like “Scrooge on Christmas morning.” “It was almost like I lost her and she came back!”

She decided she “had a story to tell,” and began to put together a cabaret. Being a singer (as well as an actress, model and voice teacher) she explains, “This is how I share my story.”

The result is Finding Beauty, a baker’s dozen of songs which Batcher premiered in NYC last April to very favorable notices, and which she will bring to the Hurrah Players’ Perry Family Theatre Oct. 7 and 9. (Part of the proceeds will go to St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children, a favorite charity of Amanda’s since she sang there some time ago.)

It’s anything but the emotionally heavy show one might expect, given its genesis. Batcher promises that plenty of songs will be “ridiculous, silly and fun,” because that’s a vital part of her self-image, and because she believes that “laughter is one of the most beautiful things we have.”

She’s close mouthed about the song selection—surprise is part of the fun, she says—especially since she has altered some of the lyrics to better fit herself and her self-description.

As an undergrad, Batcher wowed local audiences with the power and purity of her voice, memorably performing with Hurrah Players (The Sound of Music) and ODU (The Fantasticks). Finding Beauty is a chance to see how one of Norfolk’s home planted talents has grown, and why she’s garnered praise from the demanding audiences and critics of the professional theatre world. (Reservations recommended. It’s a tiny theatre!)

Finding Beauty
Amanda Batcher, accompanied by Chris Kypros
Hurrah Players Perry Family Theatre
485 St. Pauls Blvd (St. Paul’s and Bank St.)


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