Who says San Diego is short on dancers?

When director Rob Barron put out a casting call for "Singin' in the Rain" (slated to make its debut at the Lawrence Welk Village Theater on March 15), he was deluged with 150 aspirants for roles in this 1930s-style tap-dance show.

Expect to see plenty of area performers in this and subsequent Welk offerings. Frank Wayne, newly appointed artistic director of the theater complex in Escondido, is bullish on home-grown talent.

"There is a tremendous pool of fine Equity professionals here in North County, who we will certainly use, although we will hire a few actors from Los Angeles," Wayne said.

The apprenticeship program for would-be theater people--from actors and dancers to theater technicians--is another Wayne innovation at the Welk. It was designed to help local kids make the transition into professional theater.

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