Alma native, Broadway star helping others in Arkansas after stage doors abruptly shut

ALMA, Ark. — In 2019, we brought you the exciting story of Chad Burris, an Alma native who inspired the state landing the role of Olaf in Frozen on Broadway. This year, he did it again, landing a lead in another Broadway musical. Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, those plans changed dramatically.

Broadway has been shut down but that hasn’t stopped Chad Burris from singing. The music stays with him from a stage with thousands of eyes to his family home in Arkansas.

“If you would have told me this time last year I would be in Arkansas, living here, I would have thought you were crazy,” said Burris.

Just three shows into his Broadway debut as Damien in Mean Girls, the venue doors abruptly shut.

“I remember being in the theater the day before Broadway shut down,” he said. “We were in the middle of the first show of the day and we found out an usher from another show had contracted coronavirus which was serious because they pass out all the programs.”

Burris was told it would likely be a month on pause but a month turned into months. He’s still waiting for the curtains to open.

“You work so hard to get that job and they pay us well and all of a sudden it’s not there anymore,” he said.

As he waits, Burris has made the most of his time back in the natural state. He’s been paying it forward teaching up and coming actors and actresses.

“The internet is making it easier to teach all over the country,” he said. “I am doing four classes this week and next week I have two.”

He plans to move back to New York soon, splitting his time between there and Arkansas until Broadway reopens.

“I am going to come back and continue teaching and expand private coaching,” he said. “I have been doing masterclasses but I plan on taking a studio of my own and working with students weekly.”

He is hopeful for the future of Broadway.

“When people can gather again, there will be a real upswing because people haven’t been able to do it for so long and we took it for granted when we could,” he said.

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