COHOES, N.Y. -- I am ... Lauren.
The woman projects in a strong, clear voice.
I see family.
I smell flowers.
I hear a storm.
I touch my hair.
I feel happy.
I am ... cool!
She shoots her fists into the air, and her face lights up with joy so unrestrained it's as if a thousand butterflies have been released.
Wearing her Albany Legends T-shirt and Center for Disability Services ID card around her neck, Lauren Williams is the coolest person on Earth. And Desirea Taylor is the proudest, and James Vanne II the happiest, and Veronica Herrera the prettiest.
They take turns declaring this during a rousing rehearsal last week for "I Am ..." at Cohoes Music Hall. And next week, Wednesday through Friday, they'll declare it to the world when the "C-R Center Stars" make their performance debut.
This acting troupe came from the adult day program at the Center for Disability Services, and since November, the budding actors, aged 22 to 61, have worked with Tony Rivera, vice president and managing director of C-R Productions at the music hall, preparing for this.