In Unexpected Character

With the responsibilities of the legal compliance of an organization resting on the shoulders of the office, the mental picture of a general counsel is often that of a calm, composed, unflappable professional, with a general confidence. Pictured as somewhat conservative, it may seem out of character for someone who serves as the most trusted legal advisor to also be a practicing artist. At Park University, however, Assistant General Counsel Courtney Goddard shatters that stereotype.

A member of the Board for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Goddard recently won a walk-on role in the Rep’s 2013 production of “A Christmas Carol.” One of several prizes offered in a silent auction raising money for the Rep, filling the role was originally the furthest thing from Goddard’s mind.

“I thought if I kept bidding the role up, we could raise more money, but I ended up really wanting to do the show,” said Goddard. “I’ve been going to see the Rep since I was in high school, probably 25 years, and have always wanted to perform.”

The opportunity wasn’t much of a stretch for Goddard, as she has been around the theatre for most of her life. From her first turn across the stage in grade school to her most memorable role as Rose of Sharon in a high school production of “The Grapes of Wrath,” acting has been a big part of her life. Indeed, she continued performing throughout college and law school, and into her early days as a practicing attorney.

“Just about anything there was to try out for, I did,” said Goddard. “I’ve done ‘The Sound of Music’ several times. I’ve done it as the little girl, I’ve done it as the 16-going-on-17 girl; I think I’ve played every female role in ‘The Sound of Music’.”

But despite all of her experience, Goddard still found herself quite nervous as the performance approached. Joining a cast of professional actors who have spent weeks rehearsing the show was a daunting task. Her busy schedule with Park complicated matters, as she wasn’t able to take part in many of the rehearsals.

“The cast rehearsed for a full month before they went on and I did one night,” said Goddard. “And on that night, I had none of my other cast members to block with, I just walked through it and blocked it myself.”

But as the saying goes, the show must go on, and when the curtain went up for her show, she was thrust into the limelight.

“When I walked out on stage, it was the first time I was interacting with my husband in the show,” said Goddard. “It was kind of overwhelming and very nerve-wracking.”

Despite her fears, her appearance on stage earned stout praise from the cast and crew. Kyle Hatley, associate artistic director for the KC Rep and director of “A Christmas Carol” applauded her on-stage presence.

“Courtney was very nervous about her role, but handled it like a professional,” said Hatley. “She was engaged in the scenes and was a delight to watch. The cast was happy to have her as a temporary addition to their Christmas family.”

And although another walk-on role is likely not in the cards for Goddard, she certainly has aspirations of performing again.

“But,” she said, “if I’m going to go back to performing again, I want to do a full rehearsal schedule.”

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