It’s a stretch to imagine that this striking “showgirl” once preferred searching for polliwogs, or building a fort. Three-year SCPD resident Lark Kenney, self-proclaimed “tomboy” never imagined a career on stage.
Growing up in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, she was the eldest girl of six children, with two older brothers. They were “raised on hymns, harmonizing while doing dishes. There was always a lot of laughter…everyone wanted to come to our house.”
Her foray into the performing arts came at age seven. Hoping Lark might discover her feminine side, her mother enrolled her and sister Star in dance classes. With only four years of dance training, no vocal instruction, and no ability to read music, she later boldly entered a number of beauty pageants, starting with “Miss Teenage Ft. Wayne.”
Other pageants followed…Miss Teenage America; Miss Indiana. She danced and sang. The first song she sang was Brenda Lee’s “All Alone Am I.” Every effort was about the scholarship money to be earned, but with her engaging personality, she was often voted Miss Congeniality as well. Lark attended Indiana University, and worked as assistant to the manager of a Ft. Wayne television station. It was on a visit to a sorority sister in Orlando, Florida that she began stage performing. Hired to work in Disney World, her two years “working for Disney was the most awesome thing in my life. They treated me like a queen.” She professes to come from “the Ethel Merman school of loud,” which served her well while performing at both the DW Diamond Horseshoe and HoopDee-Doo Revues.
Professional inspirations include Judy Garland and Rosemary Clooney….and “watching any MGM musical show; I devoured them all.” Her mother’s own fascination with the film “Enchanted,” led to her being named Lark, after one of the main characters. Marriage prompted her move to California. Her two sons currently live in Orange County and San Diego. Her love of dance led to a natural affinity for teaching aerobics, which Lark has done intermittently since 1976.
She was singing along in an OC aerobics class in 1992, when approached by a man who asked her to audition. “Lark in the Park” was the result, singing with an 18-piece orchestra, playing concerts and dances twice a month for the next 15 years.
Her background and personality parlayed into a two-year stint with the Palm Springs Follies as a “long-legged lovely.” These showgirls normally range in age from mid-fifties to mid-eighties. You may have seen Lark on stage during introductions as the “Lion.”