Community Theatre. I absolutely enjoy watching people that I know and love in the real world, take on roles onstage that really stretch them. I love watching it, and I love being involved in it. I never would have thought that I'd say that -- having expectation of professional snobbery when I talk about it -- but I really, really do. I have so enjoyed directing productions at the Grand Opera House in Dubuque, Iowa, where the community theatre group resides. There is a different sense of investment and enjoyment that community brings to an artistic endeavor, than an academic one. Both can be good -- but definitely different. So far, I have directed for the Grand: Love, Sex & the IRS, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, To Kill a Mockingbird, and now I'm working on The Man Who Came To Dinner. I haven't had much time to be IN shows at the Grand (or anywhere, really) but in the past ten years or so, I have portrayed Eulalie McKecknie Shinn in Music Man, the Nurse in A Streetcar Named Desire, M'Lynn Eatenton in Steel Magnolias (at the Platteville Community Theatre) and most recently Inspector Kemp at the Grand in Young Frankenstein. For GMETC, I also played Amanda in The Glass Menagerie at Five Flags theatre in Dubuque.
When you're a good 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours drive from the Big City, you have to make your artistic voice heard where you are, on a daily basis. I live the arts: music downtown, community and educational theatre, story-telling guild meetings and performances, art museum events. One is more invested -- and more SEEN -- in a local arts community. I used to struggle with that, but now I love it.
This is especially the case with some of the young people I've worked with over the years. I had students in summer theatre camp years ago, who have grown into really wonderful performers and people! I believe theatre makes for good people: compassionate, creative, resourceful, resilient. Even after all these years, I'm still hooked.
Cast of Young Frankenstein - October 2017