According to Markle resident Vickie Fuller-Kibellus, she began singing professionally at age two. “I sang at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Uniondale where my family still attends,” she said. As a student at Norwell High School (NHS), Fuller-Kibellus joined all of the choirs and plays, a practice she continued at Huntington College. Surprisingly, Fuller-Kibellus chose not to major in music in college. After graduating with degrees in English and history, Fuller-Kibellus taught English at a private school in Marion, Indiana; Huntertown Elementary; and NHS. She eventually earned a Masters degree in English.
As Fuller-Kibellus and her husband, Carlton, began a family that would include six boys, she quit teaching to stay home with the children. Somehow, between food preparation, laundry, and other mothering tasks, Fuller-Kibellus found time to sing again.
Over the years she has performed in a variety of venues, including Arts Place in Jay County; Grey Lite Players in Fort Wayne; Amishville; Civic Theatre in Marion, Indiana; Creative Arts Council in Bluffton with a Gilbert & Sullivan Revue in 2007.
In 1990 Fuller-Kibellus wrote and performed a musical portrayal of early 20th century author and environmentalist Gene Stratton-Porter. Fuller-Kibellus performed these first-person shows complete with costumes which she designed and sewed at schools, libraries, churches, and at the Limberlost Cabin in Geneva. “I had separate dialogues for Gene’s views of wildflowers, photography, and writing,” said Fuller-Kibellus.
Fuller-Kibellus also wrote an ‘apron’ show. “I have a large collection of old aprons which I wore for the program,” said Fuller-Kibellus. “My talk focused on how aprons were used at the turn of the century through the present.” Never one to be without music, Fuller-Kibellus added popular early 20th century tunes to the program.
She followed the same format for a show she composed about one of her favorite performers, Rosemary Clooney. “I always liked her music from the 1950s,” said Fuller-Kibellus. “It was fun putting a show together about her.” Clooney died in 2002.
In 2003 Fuller-Kibellus and a fellow actress Linda Priest Rodden formed a production company called Crying Baby Productions (“We called it that because we had so many children at home at the time,” said Fuller-Kibellus). The pair organized casts for well-known musical like “HMS Pinafore”, “Pirates of Penzance”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “1776”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, and “The Odd Couple”.
In June 2010 Fuller-Kibellus and Rodden performed in lead roles of “South Pacific” at Bearcreek Farms. Rodden portrayed Nellie Forbush, while Fuller-Kibellus played the character of Bloody Mary. Andrew Kibellus, Vickie’s son, was in the cast as a sailor.
With so many theatrical roles under her belt is there any she would like yet to perform? “I’d like to play Mama Rose in “Gypsy”, Dolly in “Hello, Dolly!”
As a seasoned veteran of the stage, Fuller-Kibellus says her goal each time she performs on stage is to improve. “It’s all about the craft,” she said. “I don’t know if I have reached my peak, but I’m having fun trying.”
Nice article, Kayleen. I had the pleasure of performing with Vickie way back when in Norwell Little Theatre’s “The Boyfriend”, and then in later years as one of the nuns to her Mother Abbess in Wells Community Theater’s “The Sound of Music”.
Thanks, Doreen. Vickie is a great singer/actress. I was in Sound of Music too and have great memories of those nuns singing!