Cecilia Calloway

Stage: theater, music, dance

October 30, 2003|By Donna M. Owens

When your father was a legendary entertainer, how do you build a showbiz career for yourself?

If you're singer/actress Cecilia Calloway -- one of five daughters born to Baltimore bandleader Cab Calloway -- you simply do what you love.

"When I was very young, I went on the road with my dad, singing and dancing. I hated it," chuckles Calloway, who grew up in New York and currently lives in Columbia.

"My life took a different turn, raising three children. But I missed entertaining. I am committed to doing this. ... It's who I am."

Her latest role comes in the musical Orlandus, the story of the Golden Gate Quartet, which gained fame singing jubilee spirituals in the '30s.

Calloway plays Annie Wilson, mother of pivotal group member Orlandus Wilson, who left home at age 16 with big dreams.

"The part is complex, especially that whole dynamic of the mother-child relationship," explains Calloway, who auditioned by chance, after a friend saw fliers posted at Morgan State University, the site of next week's premiere.

"My youngest son is 16, so I was able to bring that to the role."

She's taken something from the production, too.

"It has been a great experience, everyone is wonderful and talented," she notes. "My father would ask, `Are you sure this is what you want to do?' Performing has been a struggle at times, but a blessing, too."

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