Local children's theater star is now 22 and on TV tonight


Local theatergoers probably suspected that Nicole Roblyer was headed for the big time when they saw her in action at Colonial Players, Children's Theatre of Annapolis and the Summer Garden Theatre in the mid-1980s.

As it turns out, they were right.

Now a 22-year-old graduate of Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of Arts, Ms. Roblyer's talent will be on display coast to coast on the Arts and Entertainment channel's Salute to Stephen Sondheim, which will air tonight at 9.

Ms. Roblyer, a 1990 graduate of Broadneck High School, will appear in the chorus and sing featured solo lines in Sondheim classics such as "Comedy Tonight" and "Hey, Old Friend."

Bernadette Peters, Mr. Sondheim's "prima diva," stars in the tribute, along with Chip Zien, star of "Into the Woods," and Debora Monk of "Assassins."

Ms. Roblyer's success comes as no surprise to Bobbi Smith, the local choreographer nurturing her second generation of prodigious "Talent Machine" hoofers.

Ms. Smith, who directed young Nicole in Summer Garden's "Annie" in 1984 and has been working with her ever since, admires the way her protege gets things done.

"She accomplishes so much," Ms. Smith says, "but she does it in her own little way without being pushy. She is a great gal who has the disposition, temperament, focus, commitment and the talent to make it. She really has it all."

Ms. Roblyer graduated from SMU in December with a degree in music education and performance.

While at SMU's Meadows School, she sang featured operatic roles in Puccini's "Suor Angelica" and Mozart's "Magic Flute" and performed in a tribute to Bob Hope. She is teaching privately and applying to graduate schools, where she hopes to concentrate on music theater and teaching performance.

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