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Artists have always been the part of society that challenges us. They soothe us and at the same time make us uncomfortable by challenging us to consider what we truly think and feel as opposed to what we’re told; it’s a part of the creative individuals’ DNA. Anyone who studies any art form throughout years, decades, eons, and centuries has witnessed the fact that artists support and also demand variations and innovation. In a world that is exponentially modernizing and digitizing, the most rebellious counterculture move might be to present live art in person. It’s something that Canadian born actress Ava Cummings has always felt drawn towards. Choosing to pursue her acting/singing career on stage rather than on set, this isn’t the only uncommon facet of the career of this actress. While she doesn’t restrict herself to it, the majority of her musical theater roles have been in faith based productions. When considering these factors in her career path, Ava seems unexpectedly punk in a corporate rock world. The very idea causes her to laugh. She comments, “The first production I was in was “Snow White.” I played the wicked queen in our school play. I will never forget, the teacher Mrs. Elrick made me the understudy for the production but for some reason I did the opening night. The moment I hit the stage I knew it was where I was meant to be. That doesn’t really sound like the origin story of someone who bucks the system but I will admit that I don’t subscribe to taking the path everyone tells you to take. In my opinion, an integral part of being a creative person is finding your own path.”

Her role as Mrs. Wimble in “Little People, Big Things, and a Great Big God” gave Ava the opportunity to play a tough but well-meaning older teacher, poised for retirement and seeking to impart a sense of self-belief into her young students. The message of the play that young people should regard nothing as impossible and to strive for greatness was communicated through biblical tales such as the boy with loaves and fish (which fed the masses), a diminutive David defeating Goliath in battle, and others. As the only adult cast member, this play gave Cummings the opportunity to mentor many young actors and pass along some of the theater wisdom she has gained throughout her career. Writer/director Rodney Barnes notes, “Ava’s character and her performance was the unifying factor in our entire story. She gave it depth, heart, and grit. It speaks volumes about the talent of this exceptional actress that she could deliver Mrs. Wimbles strength and frailty simultaneously. She raised the bar for performances on everyone’s part with her commitment and preparation.”

Cummings performance as Mary (mother of Jesus) in “Mercy Tree” was one which humanized this revered figure. Rejecting the idea of presenting Mary as the perfect source of calmness, Ava depicted all of the emotional turmoil that devastated this woman. Having faced her own ridicule as a young pregnant woman, Mary is seen once again living with disbelief concerning the ability of society to inflict harm upon her family. The moving performance given by Ava in this role was also utilized in the play “Thomas” which told the story of the commonly referenced Doubting Thomas.

The actress played a much less recognizable character in the production “The Light.” Her appearance as the mother-in-law Shawran in this cabaret style musical theater presentation quickly became an audience favorite. Tarick Glancy appeared as King Herod in “The Light” and starred alongside Cummings. He professes, “Ava’s performance captivated the Christmas 2016 engagement. The story was an honest and fresh take on a tried and true biblical story which allowed us as characters to really draw in the audience's attention and connect with them. Each crowd was more responsive than the next. Ava quickly became noticed during the early performances. I often heard both gasps and bouts of laughter, shrieks and saw tears in people’s eyes by the ending. By the standing ovation at the end I knew our production had done the story justice. To work with an actress as giving and committed as Ava is truly special whether you are watching her or on the stage or alongside her.”

Theater has always been natural and a source of nurturing for this actress. She confirms, “I love Musical Theater. Being able to combine the two things I love, acting and singing, is the best of both worlds. Christian Theater will always have a special place in my heart because it allows me to share the most important thing in my life. I want to know that I have made a difference in people lives. Using story lines that impact this world is something that thrills me more than anything else. It's art with a purpose. There are a lot of broken people out there that need encouragement and messages of hope in these times. As an actress, I believe there is nothing better than feeling the energy from the crowd as you step on stage. With theater you have one shot to get it right for that audience. So every night you give everything you have and hope that the audience is tracking with you.”

With so many successful productions, thousands upon thousands of fans who appreciate her talent and accomplishments, Cummings is a long way from the Ontario High School where she was somewhat intimidated to get into theater. The shyness that led to her avoiding a number of opportunities has been replaced by a sense of confidence proven well-founded by her success. They say that your greatest weakness for an actor becomes your greatest strength. That fear of the unknown which she avoided in youth has become the target which she seeks out these days. Ava professes, “I revel in the unknown, the unexpected. The best thing for me when it comes to acting is being able to do what I love and that there is never a day that is the same. Each character brings its own set of challenges.” She admits that the entertainment industry may continue to bring even more unexpected opportunities her way and she will embrace these in the same manner. It’s all a part of what makes the life of Ava Cummings both unique and constantly evolving.

AVA CUMMINGS IS AN ACTRESS KEEPING THE FAITH Reviewed by My Blogger Profile on 7:11:00 AM Rating: 5
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