Meet Springfield Public Schools Hall of Fame inductee Kim Crosby

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (News Release) -- Kim Crosby was 5 years old when she sang in her first musical at Springfield Little Theatre. From that day on, she never looked back. Growing up, her parents were constantly around the theater. Her mother served on various theater boards, while her father sang in musicals during his spare time. Crosby figured an easy way to be around her parents would be to be at the theater, and a passion for performing was birthed.

Attending Kickapoo High School gave Crosby the opportunity to practice her passion and led to her first professional job. Crosby was a cheerleader and a member of the speech and debate team as well as the choir during her four years at Kickapoo. She's appreciative of how Kickapoo allowed its students to participate in their passions during school hours. "I felt that it gave me a lot of opportunity to flower," Crosby says.

Carol Walker-Burgess, Crosby's choir teacher during her time at Kickapoo, went to Fred Waring Choral Workshops and brought a group of students with her, including Crosby. Crosby worked with a junior version of the Pennsylvanians as an intern the summer after her freshman year of college. After that, Crosby toured with Waring's Pennsylvanians for several years, working with some of the best orchestral and vocal arrangers available. "There is something really magical about singing in a group of people, especially when the sounds finally meld together," Crosby says. She would go on to star in several Broadway productions, including Into the Woods, a Stephen Sondheim musical. She describes the experience with Into the Woods as a professional and personal highlight of her career. Not only did she get to live the musical theater actor's dream of acting in a Sondheim original, but Crosby's future husband played the Prince to her Cinderella.

It's been 27 years since Robert Westenberg and Crosby got married, and for the first 14 years, the newlyweds lived in New York. Then in 2004, they returned to Crosby's hometown of Springfield. Their three children attended Glendale, Kickapoo's rival, eliciting a laugh from Crosby. Volunteering at the school and serving in the PTA allowed her the chance to integrate herself within the Springfield Public Schools again and give her another sense of appreciation for it. "I would have to say that what I eventually did and became was certainly nurtured through public school. I'm really grateful there were so many opportunities in the arts this school system has, which is easy to take for granted," Crosby says.