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Blind performer makes La Crosse stage debut in “Wait Until Dark”

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Mei-Ling Felten (left) plays the lead role in "Wait Until Dark" at La Crosse Community Theatre (photo by Theresa Smerud)

Performing the leading role in a play is often a high-pressure experience. 

There can be even more pressure if the character has a disability, or if the actor has one. 

Mei-Ling Felten of Chaseburg is a blind performer, playing a blind woman in the lead role of ‘Wait Until Dark,’ opening a three-week run Thursday night at La Crosse Community Theatre. 

The La Crosse Community Theatre believes Felten is the first blind actress in the U.S. to play the lead in “Wait Until Dark,” which was first performed in the 1960s and made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn.

Felten will play the role of Susy. Felten has been blind all her life but Susy was not, so there’s an element of role-playing and getting into character in her performance.

“I just have to go into the mindset that this is still kind of new to her and she’s still trying to figure things out,” Felten said Wednesday morning from the WIZM studio.

The theatre looked for a blind actress before committing to doing the play, and found Felten, who says preparing to act in a play has been fun.

Felten is a local musician and new to community theatre.  

The show’s three-week run is selling out quickly.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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