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Alumna stars in travelling musical

by Heather Rivers, Woodstock Sentinel Review | November 28, 2013

Donna Garner
Music alumna Donna Garner

WOODSTOCK - It had the potential to be the role of a lifetime for the former Embro musician, educator and actor.

The only real problem, and it seemed to be a big one, was it required her to play the accordion -- one of the few instruments she had yet to master.

But when Toronto actor Donna Garner, BMus'96, 47, a veteran of the Canadian musical theatre stage, learned that producers of the musical Once were looking for an actor in her age group, she was determined to land the role.

“I rented an accordion that night,” she said. “Every time I left the stage (of The Full Monty), I would play the accordion in the dressing room until I had to go back onstage. It was crazy times.”

But once Garner, who was already an accomplished pianist, got the hang of playing the keyboard sideways and her left hand got used to playing the buttons, she was ready.

“I worked really hard,” she said. “I learned to play in a week.”

Garner, who plays Baruška in Once, landed a one-year contract with the company and has been travelling across North America since Oct. 1, as part of cast of a national tour that may one day travel as far away as Japan.

Read the complete story: Woodstock Sentinel Review

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