It's a family act as triathletes swap sneakers for dance shoes

Two well known triathletes in western Newfoundland have tossed in their sneakers for dance shoes, and land a role in Off-Broadway Players' production of the musical Chicago.

Two of western Newfoundland's top athletes are moving from the road to the stage

Carl Barrett wanted to do his first musical to spend more time with his kids, Anna and James, who are heavily involved in the theatre community in Corner Brook. (Submitted)

Two western Newfoundland triathletes are transitioning from the road to the stage.

Carl Barrett and Aubrey Sanders have spent the fall on a different training schedule — instead of swim, bike, run they've been rehearsing to act, sing, dance.

The two rookie performers signed up for the musical Chicago, being put off by Corner Brook's community theatre group Off-Broadway Players.

They want to spend more time with their kids who are also part of the show.

"Usually you kinda drive the kids to a rehearsal, drop them off, pick them up three hours later and wonder what they've done for three hours. Well now I see what they're doing for three hours," laughs Barrett.

I never trained this much before for a triathlon.- Carl Barrett

Neither of the two athletes have much previous stage experience.

Barrett says the last time he acted was as a kid for his school's production of  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

His friend and fierce competitor, Aubrey Sanders, has slightly more experience than that — Sanders was part of Jesus Christ Superstar a couple years ago, also with Off-Broadway Players. 

Gruelling schedule

The dads have a good sense of humour about taking on this new challenge, and are quite amazed to see how much work goes into a production like this one.

"We spent more time doing this than we do training — I never trained this much before for a triathlon," Barrett chuckles.

Aubrey Sanders gets some theatre pointers from his daughter Kate. (Submitted)
Sanders agrees and acknowledges the long days getting ready for opening night.

"We never train like six hours in a day."

The two are part of the male chorus in the musical and have a couple of other smaller scenes.

With little theatre experience they both look to their sporting strengths for help. 

Similar transitions

Barrett says going from scene-to-scene and having to do quick costume changes is comparable to transitioning from each sport in a triathlon.

"I'm laying out all my gear exactly like I would in a transition," he laughs. 

Sanders says the best comparison he can make between the sport and the musical comes with muscle movements.

"Especially when you're swimming, you've got to learn to use some muscles and totally relax the other ones, otherwise you're just fighting yourself. And the same is definitely true in dance."

Both Barrett and Sanders have been getting extra help at home from their teenage kids, who have a wealth of experience in the theatre community.

Chicago is on stage Nov. 16 -18 at the Arts and Culture Centre in Corner Brook. 

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore recently moved from Corner Brook, NL to join the CBC team in Fredericton. He's an associate producer with Information Morning.

With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show