Its a good thing Dallas Padoven is used to being in the spotlight, because chances are it will be shining brightly in the next few years.
The Durango High School graduate has a been a fixture in the local theatrical community as the go-to star for seemingly every recent production at DHS and elsewhere since he grabbed the lead in a fifth-grade version of Les Miserables. A partial resume of the 18-year-olds wide range of credits includes Noises Off, A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, Alice in Wonderland, Fiddler on the Roof, Footloose, Happy Days and, most recently, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
I decided in about eighth grade that singing and dancings what I really want to do, Padoven said.
His hard work is about to pay off, but it will lead him to harder work. In September, Padoven will be a freshman at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.
His acceptance into the prestigious program is no small feat; Padoven was one of 18 new students chosen from about 4,000 applicants and 2,000 auditions. Graduates of the program are a near shoe-in for work on Broadway, which is where Padoven hopes to find himself in about four years.
Id love to be on stage, but if it ends up being film or TV Id love that, too, he said.
His success comes as no surprise to Mona Wood-Patterson, the recently retired DHS theater director who began working with Padoven when he was 9 years old.
Over the years, I got to work with so many talented students. But what sets him apart is his work ethic, Wood-Patterson said.
Describing Padoven as a triple threat a singer, dancer and actor she said he never rested on his natural-born talent, which is why he bucked the odds and earned acceptance into the Cincinnati program. Hes one of only two students accepted from a public school, as the other 16 come from specialized private performing arts schools.
Hes got a lot of things working for him but so many kids waste it; there are hundreds who are as good as you but you have to work, too, Wood-Patterson. He was born with the assets but hes smart enough to take advantage of that, and no one works harder, she said.
Padoven was equally complimentary toward his former teacher and mentor.
We basically got college training at the high school, and shes the reason Im going where I am, he said.
College is not going to be cheap tuition exceeds $50,000 annually and Padoven is footing the bill with only a little help from his parents. Hes working two jobs this summer, in addition to his role in Dreamcoat.
But to narrow the gap, hes pairing with friend and fellow thespian Conor Sheehan for Tuesdays Two Nobodies in New York Cabaret, a fundraising revue-style show at the Durango Arts Center.
Locals Traci Lynn Thomas, Maxie Parker, Kate Johnson and groups including Durango Dance, Encore! and Bravo Dance, and many more, will perform an evening of songs and dances to raise money for Padovens and Sheehans educational pursuits. Sheehan will study musical theater at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
Itll give us one last chance to say thanks to all the people whove been so supportive of us over the years, Padoven said.