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Volume 26, Number 8 — August 2018

Parker Collins on stage for half his life

Tricia Matthews, Parker Collins and Holly Williams on stage in Barter Theatre’s “The Music Man. (photo by Billie Wheeler)
Tricia Matthews, Parker Collins and Holly Williams on stage in Barter Theatre’s “The Music Man. (photo by Billie Wheeler)

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | March 28, 2018

Parker Collins has been on stage since he was 5 — " half his life.

His first performance was in “Scrooge: The Musical” at Theatre Bristol. “Before that I loved to sing for the guests at The Christmas Place Inn, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee,” he says.

Pigeon Forge and Dollywood play a large role in Parker’s life.

“When I was little my family would take me to Dollywood every weekend to see the shows. I could not even sit in my seat because I wanted to be on stage singing and dancing. My favorite show was ‘Dreamland Drive-In,’ and I knew every song by heart. I told my mom and grandparents one day when I am big I will be on that stage,” he says.

At 10 years old, Parker may not be the definition of “big,” but he’s met his goal of being on the Dollywood stage. He spent two months this year working on their stage in a performance of “O Holy Night.”

“I enjoy taking on the role of a character and making it my own. Pretending to be someone else is so much fun and exciting. I have had the opportunity to perform at a lot of different places like Theatre Bristol, The Paramount Theatre, The Christmas Place Inn and Barter Theatre.

“My favorite role was Winthrop Paroo in ‘The Music Man.’ I could be a little mischievous and funny and talk with a lisp. I also liked playing Jacob in ‘O Holy Night’ because it is important to tell the real reason for Christmas,” Parker says.

He’s already received rave reviews for his performances at Barter Theatre:

“One of the best things about this show is seeing the enthusiasm and budding professionalism of its youngest cast members. Parker Collins for example, who is a fourth-grader at Van Pelt Elementary School in Bristol, Virginia, absolutely defies category as Winthrop Paroo. Not only does Parker have a large and significant role, he also sings, dances and manages to maintain his character’s lisp all the way through,” (Bristol Herald Courier review of “The Music Man).

“If anybody has ever stolen a show with so few lines as Parker’s portrayal of a newsboy I have yet to know about it,” (Bristol Herald Courier review of “Miracle on 34th Street”).

Parker says that his influences are “Rick Rose and the talented cast of Barter Theatre, my piano teacher Mr. Don Norman and the amazing director and cast at Dollywood. I have sure learned a lot from these people. God has blessed me with such talented people. We are like a family.”

Musical theater is his favorite. “I love to sing and dance. Comedy is my second favorite, because I like to make people laugh,” he says.

Parker has been playing the piano since he was 3 years old, and he also plays the guitar. He recently started taking tap dancing lessons.

He is a fourth grade student at Van Pelt Elementary School, Bristol, Virginia. Parker is the 10-year-old son of David and Allyson Collins.

He is well on his way to achieving his dream. “When I grow up my dream is to go to college and study musical theatre and become a famous performer,” Parker says.