Pictured from left are Cole Jacobson, Zane Schultz, Anna Pampuch, and CeCe Hamrick.
by FRAN EDSTROM
Zane Schultz is appearing onstage in the Home and Community Options’ (HCO) musical for the first time this year. He is going to be a senior at Winona Senior High School next fall, and he currently sports custom-made Winhawk wheel covers on his wheelchair.
Schultz has cerebral palsy, which causes movement and coordination problems, and has received services from HCO at home since he was 22 months old. HCO Coordinator Sue Gardner did direct-care support for Schultz when he was a baby, and said that he has grown incredibly in strength and ability over the years. “He’s very smart,” she said, “and has always tested a grade above. He’s also very inquisitive, always asking why.”
When Schultz decided to audition for the show this year, he quickly realized he had a flare for the stage. He looks forward each night to coming to rehearsals to spend time with his friends. Schultz is in many of the dance numbers and has been working hard on his choreography.
He’s excited about the prospect of performing on stage — singing and dancing especially — since his long-time caretaker, Cece Hamrick, will be with him in all of his numbers. Schultz has known Hamrick for six years, ever since he started middle school. Hamrick, originally from South Dakota, is a graduate of the special ed program at Winona State University and teaches at Houston Elementary.
Having the opportunity to participate in the show with Hamrick has been a highlight for Schultz. They have a close bond and have so much fun each night spending time together on stage. In between their scenes, they play Yahtzee in the green room and socialize with the other cast members. This has been a great opportunity for Schultz to spotlight his skills and continue to become more independent.
Through the musical, Schultz has really enjoyed meeting people and making new friends. He’s gotten to know Mike Hagarty, who plays Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s father, and they have fun joking around. Schultz will be a cockney gent in three numbers, as well as an aristocrat at the horse races in the Ascott Gavotte scene of “My Fair Lady,” where he gets to wear tails and a top hat. They’re also singing and dancing in “Get Me to the Church on Time,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and Schultz’s favorite, “With a Little Bit of Luck.”
HCO hopes you will join in the fun and support all of the cast and crew in this year’s musical, “My Fair Lady!”
“My Fair Lady” is showing through Tuesday, June 18, at Saint Mary’s University Page Theatre. Performances are at 7 p.m. with a 5 p.m. performance on June 16. Proceeds from HCO’s annual musical are used to address critical service and accessibility needs so that HCO can continue to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities in Winona County and the surrounding area.
For tickets, please contact the Page Theatre Box office at 507-457-1715.