Avery Delores Bateman

By Bonnie Boiter-Jolley

From the moment Avery Delores Bateman stepped on stage during a high school production of Bye Bye Birdie, she was hooked. “I had to perform,” she quips.   No stranger to performance, Bateman was often given small roles as a child in church plays authored by her mother, Rosalind Russell. “I was the child who had the epiphany,” she reminisces.  Bateman, New York City bound this summer for the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, has come a long way from delivering insightful one-liners.

The daughter of a musician and a visual artist, one might say Bateman was born with art in her veins.  While Robert Bateman introduced his daughter to the world of music, covering everything from the Beatles and Stevie Wonder, to Mozart, it was Bateman’s mother whose influence truly resonates.  An artist whose talent went unrealized as a child, Russell was sure to offer her daughter the support and guidance she deserved.

Born in Charleston two days before Christmas, 22 year old Bateman is just over five feet four inches and just under 100 pounds. A bright-eyed, stylish woman with an infectious smile, one would never expect her rich, lyric soprano to come billowing out of her petite frame.  Dedicated to the idea of being classically trained, Bateman studied ballet with Robert Ivy in Charleston for several years before moving to Columbia in the fifth grade.  Five more years of dance training and vocal aerobics in her school choir led Bateman to seek out a collegiate experience where she could pursue her passion of musical theatre. At Coker College, Bateman was a Vocal Performance and Theatre double major with a minor in art history, and credits vocal coach Karen Harmon with pushing her to read music and improve her technique.

Bateman, usually cast as a comic, male, or evil role, says she prefers to portray complex characters with many layers.  A favorite memory and “dream come true” for Bateman, was to play the role of Martha in Trustus Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening last winter. Admittedly obsessed with The Wizard of Oz, the role of the Witch in Into the Woods, is another favorite for Bateman. Both roles required her to reach beyond what Bateman felt was her own experience. Looking to the future, she has her sights set on her dream role of Elphaba in Wicked, another famous musical theatre witch.

Bateman divulges that she models herself after Bernadette Peters, who she says is not only a “beautiful artist,” but also “the most grounded.”  This summer, Bateman continues her adventure in New York City where she hopes to make a career in musical theatre after her graduation from AMDA.  “You have to be a dreamer,” she says.  If Avery Bateman’s dreams come true, the bright lights of Broadway aren’t too far off.

Jasper is watching you, Avery. No pressure.

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