Local actress and singer Karen Errington died this morning after a several-month battle with breast cancer, The Kansas City Star's Robert Trussell reported. Errington was 49.
Trussell does a better job than I can of recapping Errington's theater career, in which she worked for just about every company in town (the Unicorn, the American Heartland, the New Theatre, Kansas City Actors Theatre and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival).
She has enchanted the Paul Harvey set at Quality Hill Playhouse for
years now, but Karen Errington's charms are too rarely paraded before
the rest of us. With her ace comic timing, her broad and buoyant voice
and a bottomless bag of expressive glances, Errington makes each
performance like one of those cardboard cornucopias that elementary
school teachers tape up: The bounty just spills from it. Playing an
agoraphobic trailer bride whose husband has been cheating, she brought
an emotional heft that kept the Unicorn's light The Great American
Trailer Park Musical from drifting into pure silliness. Her finest
moment was her biggest, not because she needs to belt to win us but
because she knows that singers have to build to the belting. Singing
"Flushed Down the Pipes," she started out teensy and hurt but wound up
swallowing the universe.
Errington's death comes just days after her friends held a benefit show for her called "Everybody's Girl." Trussell reported that the event raised nearly $23,000 that will help Errington's husband, David Fritts, and son, Jack Fritts, pay for medical expenses.
Errington's memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Heartland Community Church, 12175 South Strang Line Road, Olathe.