|me as Mr. Kirby (R) with Priscilla McFarland as Mrs. Kirby|
and Diane Whitenack as Gay Wellington (2002)
My first actual "part" on stage was in high school. For three years I was only on the Stage Crew, but for the Senior Play I played the Chef in some forgettable play called MRS. McTHING. The play was stupid but the experience was fun. I also helped out in some American History Revue, singing and doing one or two small bits ala the old variety shows. That, too, was fun. And I got to kiss the girl! Mostly, though, I enjoyed crew work on shows like HELLO DOLLY, GREASE, and A RAISIN IN THE SUN.
Fast forward about 20 years when I came back from Japan and took a job in Portland, Indiana. There wasn't a whole lot to do in Portland, but there *was* community theatre. So after I went to see their version of ANNIE and verified that they didn't suck (haha) I went to Open Auditions for YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU. I had wanted to introduce myself and volunteer my Stage Crew expertise. However.....! Jay County Civic Theatre suffers from a chronic need for male participants (aka "you have a penis, you have a part") and I went away from the audition with the role of Mr. Anthony Kirby, father of the lead. YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU is still my favorite show and experience; the role was just big enough for me to not fret over too much, the people I worked with were fantastic, and there was a minimum amount of stress. As a newbie, I really didn't know there was plenty of drama behind the scenes, even in comedies! This show, however, was almost 100% fun. Plus the book itself by Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman is just so well written, it's impossible to not enjoy it.
That was the beginning of a fun time with Jay County Civic Theatre. Even after I moved to Columbus I remained the Home Page Editor,so I went to every show and took cast and show photos. It was fun.
Eventually, however, I got that *itch* again. I looked around my neighborhood and found community theatre groups in two nearby towns: Pickerington and Gahanna. Gahanna was putting on GUYS & DOLLS, an old favorite; Pickerington was putting on BYE BYE BIRDIE at the same time as an Indiana show. So almost by default, I ended up auditioning for Gahanna. They wanted a song with music....and the only thing I felt confident enough to do was "The Star Spangled Banner." Now, this is a notoriously difficult song to sing, so I figured if I could do it to their satisfaction I would be in. I got to the higher notes ("and the rockets' red glare...!") and they stopped me and said I was IN. :-) Last year was a lot of fun hanging out with "the gangsters." I think I actually had one or two lines; otherwise I was strictly chorus. But this was just the introduction that I was looking for.
|me (third from L) as one of "the guys" in GUYS & DOLLS (2011)|