Colleen Hawks can remember vividly the moment she got bit by the acting bug.
The Oakdale native was in the fourth grade and was seeing a production of “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.” Amid the colorful circus backdrop, the lively dances and the perfectly-pitched tunes, a dream was unfolding in the young Hawks.
“There was something about it that made me want to get up there with them,” Hawks said.
That dream of being up on stage with the spotlight shining down on her has come true many times over for Hawks, and now the Broadway actress is making a return visit home to star in Modesto Performing Arts’ production of “Anything Goes.”
“I’m always happy to come home,” Hawks said. “Regional theater is the life blood of an actor. It’s a different type of energy. Of course, it’s always nice when a job coincides with a visit home because it’s especially exciting to perform for your family and friends.”
From an early age the performing arts has called to Hawks. Describing herself as a shy child, she credits her older sister Lenore Hawks, with pushing her into dance classes, piano and voice lessons and gymnastics.
“I was shy, but being on stage was different for me,” Hawks said. “It let me come out of my shell and I wasn’t afraid to try new things.”
Hawks also has a professional stage career in Los Angeles, where she took on singing roles for Disney as “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”
She’s gone on to perform in a variety of stage tours that have taken her around the world.
Hawks made her Broadway debut in 1999 in “Smokey Joe’s Café,” as DeLee Lively.
“It was so amazing,” Hawks said of her first Broadway experience. “Getting to perform a Broadway solo was the fulfillment of a dream for me.”
Since then, Hawks has performed in the Broadway versions of “The Boy from Oz” and “Shrek the Musical.”
“Anything Goes” is Hawks’ second appearance with Modesto Performing Arts. Her first was nearly 10 years ago in “Oklahoma,” which also starred professional actor Jeff Pierce. Amid the busy rehearsal schedule, Hawks and Pierce fell in love and were soon married.
Hawks is taking on the role of Reno Sweeney, the romantic heroine of Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes.” Set on board a cruise ship of the 1930s, the show features a cast of characters involved in madcap plots full of tap numbers and tunes like “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” and the title number “Anything Goes.”
“Anything Goes” is opening at the Gallo Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30 and will continue with shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 7 and a 2 p.m. show Sunday, July 8. Tickets range from $23 to $30 and are available by calling the box office at 338-2100.