Biography

Helen Prine

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Helen saw her first Junior Theatre production, “Seventeen,” starring Eric Onstead, when JT was still performing shows at the old Puppet Theatre in Balboa Park. “At that time,” Helen recalls, “I don’t think I knew what it was to be an actor, I just knew that I wanted to (had to) do that!” Helen joined JT as soon as age would allow and was a thrilled member until she turned 18. rnrnSome of her favorite shows/experiences are “Peter Pan” (with Brian Mitchell), “L’il Abner” (with Kirby Ward), “Huckleberry Finn” (her very first lead – ‘Mary Jane Wilkes’), “12 Dancing Princesses” (her first lead with director Ole Kittleson), and “No! No! Nanette!” (as ‘Pauline’, Helen worked opposite the wonderful, scene stealing vacuum sweeper that her father, Randy, built and costumes by mother, Marilyn.), and Saturday Theatre Dance Classes with Don and Bonnie Ward (“My first dance partner in “the swing,” was…can you believe this…Jamie Torcellini!”). Helen was thrilled to be a member of “Confetti,” getting the opportunity to visit different schools and perform many shows including ‘Lucy’ from “Good Man Charlie Brown” and a musical with original music by Bill Cantos. Her experience with Junior Theatre was greatly enriched by the chance to work with her mother and father, Marilyn and Randy Prine; two extremely talented people whose theatre experience started because they didn’t want Helen left alone down in Balboa Park. Their theatre careers took on lives of their own as Mom, Marilyn, became Costume Mistress (following in Leason Strong’s very intimidating footsteps) and Dad, Randy, as Technical Director (Don Ward still laughs with Randy about the special effects in “Mary Poppins” – Christian Hoff was ‘Michael Banks’). rnrnAlthough in “real life,” Helen became a working office-person, she still pursued theatre in her spare time. She got the opportunity to perform all over San Diego in such wonderful roles as ‘Adelaide’ in “Guys and Dolls” and “In Stitches” (an original work by Ruff Yeager with the part of the evil villainess, ‘Marcelle’ written “just for her”). She still is very active in local theatre and has had the opportunity to perform such memorable roles as ‘The Wicked Witch’ in “Wizard of Oz,” ‘Flora’ in “No! No! Nanette” (from which she ‘borrowed’ heavily from Liz Pearson’s interpretation), ‘Cheese Grater’ in “Beauty and the Beast,” ‘Fruma Sarah’ in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and ‘Lina Lamont’ in “Singing in the Rain.” Although the vacuum cleaner from “No! No! Nanette” has recreated its role numerous times and has toured with professional companies all over the United States; Helen has been content to perform locally. Her most adventurous roles have been “Mrs. Brown” in the PBS American Experience Documentary, “John Brown’s Holy Wars” (the abolitionist…not the singer) and most recently, the Cagelle, ‘Hannah’ from “La Cage Aux Folles.” Although it’s a little daunting to have the most beautiful, sexy role she’s ever played be a drag queen, she loved every minute of it. rn