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On Island Profile: Debby Babb

Aug. 15, 2005 — St. Croix's Debby Babb is an oddity — a shy person dedicated to a life in the theater.
During a recent conversation at the Caribbean Community Theater's home in Orange Grove, she talked excitedly about the production she is now directing – "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" – but when conversation turned to her personal history, she lowered hers eyes and spoke softer.
Talking about living on St. Croix, she says, "It is the only thing I know." Her family moved here over 40 years ago when she was beginning high school. She says living here is "gentle on the soul."
She attended St. Dunstan's School for her last high school years. The school, which no longer exists, had no theater department, but that did not stop Babb. She organized school plays herself.
The statement about St. Croix being "the only thing she knows" might not exactly apply to her life in theater, but it is not altogether inappropriate.
The generation behind her and the generation before her all were involved in the theater.
She laughs proudly as she talks about her mother: "She was a substitute Little Rascal," adding that her mother was a dancer and a drummer. Babb continues, "She also thought she could sing. She couldn't, but we never told her."
Her husband, Taylor, also was introduced to the theater early. His father was director of talent for the Ed Sullivan Show.
Debbie says Taylor has been very supportive of all her theater efforts on St. Croix, but adds, "I will never get him onstage, unless I direct 'Peter Pan,' then I might get him to play the crocodile."
As for the three daughters the couple has raised, they have all played an active part in the theater. Two daughters –Tavia and Malerie Babb — are acting in the present production of "Cuckoo's Nest," which mom is directing.
She sees the environment on St. Croix where her children became involved in the theater as a positive. She says, "There are no malls here. The kids have to get involved in something. They mature faster here."
She says that "Cuckoo's Nest," which can be seen at CCT the last two weekends of August, is her favorite play.
Her life in the theater is not limited to CCT, she has been an integral player at productions at Island Center and Country Day School. Yet, she points out with the pride of principle, all that has been done recently at CCT. She takes joy in the improvements that have taken place recently at the CCT's location, which not only brings more comfort to attendees, but give more versatility to directors who want to be creative.
Babb does do things outside of the theater. She is owner of Mi Tierra, which is located in the courtyard of the Luncheria in Christiansted. She also loves to travel. She recently toured Bavaria and is planning a trip to Italy and Turkey. She says, "I love walled medieval villages."
But when talking to Debby Babb one sees few walls and understands when she says "that is all I know," that she really knows an awful lot.
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